Cast & Crew
Juliette, an 18 year old orphan with an unbridled sexual appetite, causes quite a stir with her behavior, attracting the attentions of men. Her first suitor is the much older Eric Carradine, a rich land baron set on building a new casino in town. His plans are being hampered by the Tardieu family that owns a small shipyard on the stretch of land he requires for his development. Michel, the eldest Tardieu son, returns home for the weekend from Toulon to discuss the situation and finds Juliette anxious to pair up with him. His intentions for Juliette, however, are very short term, and he spurns her by he leaving town without her. Juliette's guardians have had just about enough of her antics, and threaten to send her back to the orphanage.To keep her in town, Carradine pleas with Michel to consider marrying her, which he laughs off, but his naive younger brother Antoine rises to the challenge and proposes. Despite being in love with his older brother, she accepts. When Michel is contracted to return home for good, the trouble starts for the newlyweds, and all the men in her life come to realize just what she means to them.
And God Created Woman (1956) - And God Created Woman
When she first appeared, as if out of our dreams, in Roger Vadim's ...And God Created Woman (1956), nobody had seen a movie character quite like her before. Sure, Jean Harlow and Marlene Dietrich and Lana Turner and Marilyn Monroe had filled the world's daydreams with curvy thoughts of sensual bliss, but it was Bardot that shone a spotlight on the idea of rampant sexuality to the exclusion, practically, of all else. Watch her in this rather silly and quaintly exploitative film and you see a new machine at work - the postwar audiences had a right to be shocked and stunned by her Juliete, a seaside village tramp so willfully wanton and so careless with her clothes that the fact of her existence feels almost like a threat to the social order. It might be the first legit feature completely and unapologetically centered on a woman's sexual availability.
"With that mouth," someone tells Bardot's vapid, slinky slut, "you can have anything you want." It's a scandalous line (probably descandalized in its original English subtitles), but it's also an undeniable acknowledgment of the truth. Juliete is a traffic-stopping manifestation of irrational male desire if the movies ever produced one. Bardot is not actually very voluptuous, in the precise meaning of the word, but that hardly matters in the face of her mind-boggling assemblage of swiveling hips, swan neck, aggressive posture, far-apart Egyptian-cat eyes, permanently pursed mega-lips, and a voluminous head of hair that can only be described as a post-coital free-for-all. Bardot brings this package together without overdone vamping or campy come-hither shtick - she just is, dressed in haphazard leftovers that seem always ready to shred themselves and fall to the ground. Any skirt whose side hem isn't split up her thigh to within an inch of her beltline is simply too restrictive. Any opportunity to water-soak whatever she does put on is taken without ceremony; late in the film she is saved from a potentially dangerous sailboat jaunt that occurs in the story for the sole purpose of dropping Bardot into the drink and then watching her emerge, saturated to the skin.
...And God Created Woman has a story - in sweaty St. Tropez, Juliete the town orphan/teen-tramp is virtually cast out by her neighbors after dallying on the docked yacht of bajillionaire Curd Jurgens, who wants to buy up the coastline; her fiancé dumps her but his younger brother, played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, steps up and offers to marry her, despite everyone's objections. Various characters' intentions and desires criss-cross, with Juliete stranded in the middle with her symbolic rabbits, but Vadim was never interested in plot per se, from this, his debut, through an erratic career that ended up in the '90s doing episodic television. If any of his films are memorable, it's because of their women - Bardot, Jane Fonda, Jeanne Moreau, Angie Dickinson - which Vadim, famously, would often seduce and/or marry and/or career-manage in real life. (He had in fact wooed and married the teen-model Bardot before either had ever made a film; after both became famous with ...And God Created Woman, they almost immediately divorced.) Vadim's world revolved around the allure of female sexual power to such an uninterrogated extent that one might not choose to consider it an aesthetic or thematic obsession, but a neurotic compulsion. Vadim seemed to do a lot of his thinking in his pants (he even ended up in the '70s making a post-Emmanuelle Sylvia Kristel movie entitled Une femme fidéle), and assumed, perhaps rightly, that a large chunk of his audience did the same.
Oddly, Vadim and this film were beloved by the hardcore cineaste crowd at Cahiers du cinema, predominantly Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, as both were gearing up to start making movies of their own. It's hard to parse today how Vadim could be seen in the '50s as "our only truly modern filmmaker," as they termed him, until you read their often cryptic explanations, which boil down to a respect for the horndog director because he is both unpretentious (Truffaut's biggest concern) and a singular writer-director personality. The nature of that personality or its relevance mattered little to these young turks in 1956; they swooned over the man's unabashed focus and his defiant confidence in his own priorities. He was, this way, closer to a real cinema artist than any number of "professional" directors, regardless of how much Vadim seemed only interested in evocations of raunch.
Look at Bardot - what else, Vadim would likely argue, could I possibly do? There's little denying this reality: movies are voyeurism, watching with a sexually charged air of privilege and power over the mysterious figures on the screen, and the capacity for a movie star to galvanize our primal sex drives is an essential strand of cinematic DNA. Bardot's force field is a fact of nature, but possibly (and probably) only as it is captured on film - making it a natural axiom of cinema.
Producer: Raoul J. Lévy
Director: R. Vadim
Screenplay: R. Vadim, R. Lévy
Cinematography: Armand Thirard
Music: Paul Misraki
Film Editing: Victoria Mercanton
Cast: Brigitte Bardot (Juliete Hardy), Curd Jurgens (Eric Carradine), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Michel Tardieu), Jeanne Marken (Madame Morin), Jean Tissier (M. Vigier-Lefranc), Isabelle Corey (Lucienne), Jacqueline Ventura (Mme Vigier-Lefranc), Jacques Ciron (Le secrétaire d'Eric), Paul Faivre (M. Morin), Jany Mourey (Le déléguée de l'évêché).
by Michael Atkinson
And God Created Woman (1956) - And God Created Woman
Ah! The Garden of Eden in Saint-Tropez!- Eric Carradine
Monsieur Carradine! And I suppose you are the Devil?- Juliete Hardy
Perhaps so. I've brought the apple anyway.- Eric Carradine
That's my favorite song!- Juliete Hardy
It's the first time I ever heard it.- Antoine Tardieu
Me too.- Juliete Hardy
Eric, I'm worried about you.- Mme Vigier-Lefranc
Worried?- Eric Carradine
You are at the point of falling for her.- Mme Vigier-Lefranc
What makes you say that?- Eric Carradine
Whenever you look at her, you appear less intelligent.- Mme Vigier-Lefranc
Have you heard of shoes by Vigier?- M. Vigier-Lefranc
Yes.- Juliete Hardy
That's me. And you must have heard of Lefranc's refrigerators?- M. Vigier-Lefranc
Yes.- Juliete Hardy
That's me too. Would you like to dance a cha-cha-cha?- M. Vigier-Lefranc
I never dance with a vacuum cleaner!- Juliete Hardy
Was condemned by the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency within months after the Baby Doll (1956) boycott and caused a huge uproar in the United States for its sexual content.
Feature directorial debut for Roger Vadim