And God Created Woman (1956)

French

(Et Dieu crea la Femme)

Made in 1956, Roger Vadim’s senstaional feature directorial debut is the the film that catapulted French actress Brigitte Bardot into international stardom as a sex icon.

 

Vadim’s scandalous film is set in the French Riveiera, specifically St. Tropez, though the plot is slender and secondary to the cynical, amoral tone of the tale an dits visual pleasures.

 

Signaling a new, more daring era of cinema, “And God Created Woman” presented the gorgeous body iof Bardot, then married to Vadim, in an unabashed colorful way (in more senses than one, as the film was shot in Cinemascope).

 

By standards of today, the movie is tame.  But back in the 1950s, Bardot’s semi-nude posturing, seductive behavior, and pouty lips generated a lot of discussionand controversy.

 

The first part of the film is far more interesting than the second, partly because the notions of “daring’ sex and amoral youths get repetitive.

 

The movie became an instant success all over the world, especially in the U.S   Its audacity and personal elements are credited with opening the doors for the young directors of the French New Wave, such as Truffaut, Godard (who cast Bardot in his masterpiece “Contempt,” where she gives a creditable performance), Chabrol, and Louis Malle (who paired Bardot against Jeanne Moreau in “Viva Maria!”).

 

In the U.K. (and other countries), the movie was cautiously released as “And Woman Was Created.”

 

Ultimately, “And God Created Woman” is a significant  work in Vadim’s subsequent poor output, but it’s a minor footnote in film history.

 

In 1987, Vadim remade his own picture in an English version, starring Rebecca De Mornay, who proved she could act and was abetter actress than Bardot, but not nearly as sexy and seductive.

 

Vadim discusses the making of this picture quite frankly in his juicy 1986 memoir, “Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda: My Life with the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World.”

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