The Brigitte Bardot Classic Collection
DVD | Box Set
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The screen’s sexiest bombshell, Brigitte Bardot, sizzles in three of her most unforgettable roles! First she teams up with director Roger Vadim (Barbarella) as a virginal temptress running amok in rural Spain on THE NIGHT HEAVEN FELL then she’s a comic nymphet who takes Paris by storm as an amateur striptease artist in PLUCKING THE DAISY. Finally, a grown-up Brigitte scorches up the screen as a female DON JUAN, a proud destroyer of men (and women) who even drives a priest mad with her wicked misadventures! This trio of tantalizing tales of love, scandal, and betrayal will titillate seasoned Bardot fans and newcomers alike!
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Plucking the Daisy (also known as Mademoiselle Striptease) is a light comedy, and probably the best overall film of the set. It shows Bardot in great comic flighty mode, kind of a sexier version of the standard 50s American "teen movies." The most interesting thing about Plucking the Daisy is that the comedy actually works pretty well in 2011. Bardot is ravishing throughout, as is expected as the cinematography is by the great Louis Page. His films do have a particular "look" to them, which you'll probably recognize if you've seen a lot of French cinema. A lot of people dismiss Plucking the Daisy as minor Bardot, in that she would soon go on to much more complex, weightier roles, work with Godard and the rest, but I've always enjoyed this fun, innocent little romp from her early days.
The next film The Night Heaven Fell is a full-blown melodrama, directed by Roger Vadim. I usually find Vadim's films a little boring and pretentious. You'll find a number of Vadim's more heavy-handed Bardot efforts on the Bardot 5-Film set also available on Amazon. Here, Vadim keeps the action moving, mainly because the film seems to jump from one crisis to another. Don't expect anything too profound, don't expect anything too amazing, and you'll have a great time with this strange overly long film. Besides glorious Brigitte Bardot, you'll also see a good performance from Stephen Boyd. Reportedly Stephen and Brigitte couldn't stand one another, and knowing this detail makes watching the film a lot more fun. Alida Valli is also in it, so you really can't go wrong with this one. If you're like me, you'll simply wish that someone other than Vadim had done the direction. Imagine this film shot by Henri-Georges Clouzot! That being said, nobody could make Bardot shine on screen quite like Roger Vadim.
The final film is also Brigitte Bardot's final film before retiring with her animals. Don Juan goes under a variety of titles--Mrs. Don Juan, If Don Juan Were a Woman, Don Juan 72, etc. It's not a bad film, just a little tired. Directed by Roger Vadim, it should probably have been more of a comedy instead of a serious meditation on the sexual mores and gender roles (or whatever it IS about). Bardot lives in a submarine in this movie, which also features hot hot hot scenes between her and Jane Birkin. One thing you can say about Vadim: While his movies tended to be a little boring, he could really direct individual scenes. How many of us really enjoy watching Barbarella once the opening credits have ended? The Bardot/Birkin scene here is much like that. There are a few more great campy scenes in this strange amalgam of themes, genres and moods, but its real claim to fame is the fact that Bardot still look astonishing at 40 and that this is her "farewell to cinema."
This is a very good set for people who don't mind sitting through films that are somewhat less than two-thumbs-up just so they can enjoy the screen presences of one of the most spectacular icons of French--or in fact World--Cinema. If you like Brigitte Bardot, you will not be disappointed with the film selection of the quality of the prints.
However, I'm waiting for years for a DVD release of her two best films "En cas de malheur" (with Jean Gabin) and "La vérité" (with Sami Frey). These two films demonstrate Brigitte Bardot's acting skills better than any other movies she has made before or after.
Also her loveliest comedy "La Parisienne" is still not included in one of these BB collections.
I hope we won't have to wait too much longer for all 3 BB masterpieces.
Growing up in Germany, I watched "En cas de malheur", "La vérité" and "La Parisienne" countless times on TV and am amazed that Americans only get introduced to her more mediocre movies like "The Night Heaven fell", "Shalako", "Come dance with me", "A ravishing Idiot", "The Bear and the Doll", "Les femmes", "Contempt" and "Love on a Pillow".
Also very recommendable: the comedy "Dear Brigitte" with BB, James Stewart, Glynis Johns and Bill Mumy. Unfortunately it's only available on Instant, not on DVD.
Another forgotten, but very cute movie is "Babette s'en va-t-en guerre" (Babette goes to War), where BB met her second husband Jacques Charrier.