And God Created Woman
- Brigitte Bardot as Juliette Hardy
- Curd Jürgens as Eric Carradine
- Jean-Louis Trintignant as Michel Tardieu
- Christian Marquand as Antoine Tardieu
And God Created Woman was hardly the first film starring Brigitte Bardot, but it was the one that announced her as a seductive sex kitten to the whole world and caused a stir upon its release. Whilst the film may be slight in terms of the story and writing from director Roger Vadim (Bardot’s then husband), Brigitte Bardot entrances from beginning to end with her sexy persona and keeps And God Created Woman watchable if for anything its liberated look at sexual power of one woman.
Set in a strict town in sunny St Tropez, the film centres on a young orphan by the name of Juliette Hardy. She is a seductive nymphet whose string of provocative behaviour, which include naked sunbathing in her backyard, wearing skimpy clothing and sneaking out to dance at night, have the whole town talking and the male population entranced with everything she does. The three main men in her life are the much older businessman Eric Carradine, the handsome Antoine who often spurns her and his younger brother Michel, who genuinely feels love for the wild girl. When her foster parents try to get her sent back to an orphanage for her depraved behaviour, a loophole is discovered. If she marries, she can’t go. The naive Michel proposes to her in the hopes that his love will be reciprocated. Juliette does marry him, but it is clear that she cares more for his brother Antoine. Complications arise as Juliette’s wild ways are at odds with the restrictive role of a dutiful wife and she craves her freedom.
As I previously mentioned, the story in And God Created Woman is very thin and not really up to much in terms of electric drama. Various subplots surrounding Eric trying to purchase some of the shipping dock owned by Antoine add up to nothing and really don’t fit with the film. Then again I don’t think that was the point of Roger Vadim. I believe he set out to show a story of one woman’s sexuality and how she wields it over the men in her life. What And God Created Woman does have to make up for the slim story is one hell of an erotic impact on the viewer with the pouting Bardot announcing herself as a woman who can make men fall at her feet. With her tousled hair, curvaceous figure and large eyes, Bardot projects a playful sexuality that drives men into a frenzy. She has such a presence on-screen that when she isn’t on it, the film drifts and lags a lot. Some of the scandalous moments that were shocking upon release may seem comparatively tame by today’s standards, but with Bardot many of the seductive elements hold up. Whether she is flaunting her body by the sea, riding barefoot on her bicycle or letting her troubles go by dancing an exotic mambo routine, Brigitte Bardot is nothing short of magnetic.
Because of Brigitte Bardot’s stunning impact, the many men of the film pale in comparison such as Curd Jürgens and Christian Marquand . Saying this Jean-Louis Trintignant manages to be subtly naive as the pining Michel, who loves Juliette with all his heart but knows that she loves his brother. Special mention should go to the music which mixes sultry jazz with a tropical calypso, perfectly capturing the untamed heart of the protagonist as she ties the hearts of men up in knots. St Tropez is shown in all its glory and the camerawork really accentuates the beauty of the place, whilst lingering shots of the gorgeous Brigitte Bardot present her as a passionate sex kitten with wild abandon to spare.
Slim on story, And God Created Woman is far from perfect, yet it serves as an introduction to the charms of Brigitte Bardot and the sexy image that she became known for as well as entrancing with erotic impact.