Most helpful positive review
84 of 85 people found the following review helpful
FUN WITH BRIGITTE IN THE SUN! DATED, BUT STILL GREAT.
on July 26, 2000
Although the movie's sensuality wouldn't raise an eyebrow nowadays, it's easy to see how audiences from the 50's would have been affected by Brigitte Bardot's sensuous form and how this movie revolutionized the foreign film market. A real delight to watch, wild-child Brigitte teases with her bouncy walk and her tight sweaters. And, yes, she can even act! In the role of Juliette, an incredibly beautiful orphaned young woman living in a seaside village, Brigitte keeps the delicate balance between the constant flirt (who's misunderstood as being the loosest girl in town) and the woman who yearns to have a "normal" married life despite her attraction to her brother-in-law. Contrary to popular belief and despite Juliette's regrettable infidelity, there's really no sex in this movie, unless you consider a one-time tush shot to be overly sexual. The DVD booklet mentions how some audiences originally misperceived this film's sexuality to be so bold that rampant gossip soon generated complaints about scenes that weren't even in the movie! The cinematography is breathtaking, with the Riviera beckoning you to move there...or at least visit for an extended period of time. The only aspect of the movie that is dated and very much out-of-sync with modern times is the attitude that men are superior to women and that, with proper discipline and control, women can be kept in line and "forced" to love their husbands.
The Criterion edition is, as always, fantastic. With director Vadim's approval prior to his passing away, the movie was restored to its original uncut version in a beautiful widescreen format. The digital tranfer is impressive and one of the extras on the disc illustrates the clean-up process and provides before-and-after comparisons. The colors are now bold and vibrant, and the print is crisp and clear. Excellent restoration and clean-up! The original US theatrical trailer is included and is hilarious as it makes the movie seem so cheap, sleazy and lurid.
Now here comes the downer: this movie deserves better English subtitles and infinitely better English dubbing. If you're trying to learn French, you don't want to do it with these subtitles. I found them to be quite inaccurate during a few scenes and, with no rapid-fire dialog in this film to justify it, not as expansive as they should have been. These inaccuracies don't detract from the story as a whole, but given that this is a Criterion release, I feel more attention should have been paid to this aspect of the film. As far as the dubbing is concerned, don't even bother. After a minute or so of listening to the dubbed version, it's apparent why the dubbed feature isn't listed on the DVD case. The actors' readings are flat and lifeless. Criterion has proved repeatedly they can do much better than that, so what happened here?
I still give the movie itself 5 stars for it is an interesting time capsule into 50's psychology, and it's a good story as well. And how can you not give 5 stars to Brigitte Bardot! I did subtract one star for the quite imperfect subtitles. Still, for around $20, you can get a fun romp with Brigitte in the Riviera of the 1950's. Sounds good to me. Worth owning.