HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Babymother
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Antebellum
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Settlers
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Kandisha
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Plurality
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
Honeymoon
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
   
 
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
   
 
  Viva Maria! Bombshells with real bombs
Year: 1965
Director: Louis Malle
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, George Hamilton, Paulette Dubost, Claudio Brook, Carlos López Moctezuma, Poldo Bendandi, Gregor Von Rezzori, Francisco Reiguera, Jonathan Eden, Roberto Pedret
Genre: Musical, Comedy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Maria Fitzgerald O’Malley (Brigitte Bardot) has been a bomb-flinging anarchist ever since she was a little girl. In 1907, she finds herself alone in South America after her father is blown up during his latest strike against the British Empire, and happens upon a travelling French stage troupe. Here she meets the like-named Maria (Jeanne Moreau) and partners with her to form a scandalously successful song-and-striptease act. Along with a colourful cast of acrobats, jugglers, a strong man and a magician, the ladies adventure across San Miguel, until imprisoned by sadistic dictator Rodriguez (Carlos López Moctezuma). Maria II falls in love with handsome freedom fighter Flores (George Hamilton), which further spurs Maria I to break out her sharp-shooter and bomb-making skills as the ladies become the unlikeliest of revolutionary heroines. Viva Maria!

An atypically frothy affair from Louis Malle, this superficially fits into a cycle of anti-capitalist anarchic comedies inflamed by the spirit of the Sixties, or the so-called “Zapata” spaghetti westerns set south of the border. Co-written by Malle and Jean-Claude Carriere, the film bears their surrealist wit with cartoon sight gags, sexual escapades and a hint of anti-Catholic satire, but remains primarily a glossy, Cinemascope romp foregrounding sexy stars, sumptuous South American scenery lensed by Henri Decaë, more explosions than a Michael Bay movie and a classy score from Georges Delerue.

Bardot and Moreau make a fine comic pairing, the former proving again she had plenty going for her beside blonde locks and a mesmerizing pout. Although unquestionably the more gifted actress, Moreau is rather subdued but her more sardonic sensuality contrasts nicely with Bardot’s girlish clowning. Their striptease act gets more daring with each performance - including one where the audience disrobes before they do! - and Malle playfully stages these musical numbers, referencing past masters from Vincente Minnelli to Stanley Donen.

Shame about George Hamilton and his OTT Spanish accent (“Aye yam driven to fight injoostice”), but an array of eccentric characters include Mexican horror regular Claudio Brook as the troupe’s ingenious gunsmith, whom Maria I shocks by advising how to built a gun that shoots round corners, the little boy constantly whose attempts to cop an eyeful of the Marias in action results in a slap from his mama, and a magician who clips hand grenades to his trained pigeons.

Malle imparts a lively, comic strip energy to proceedings, in compensation for the lack of genuine substance. Very 1960s in its allying of sexual with socio-political revolution, yet delivered with a uniquely surreal and erotic wit, as when Bardot hops into a carriage with three suitors and, it is implied, shags the bejeezus out of them. She saunters back home, looking quite radiant, the next morning and thereafter keeps score of her conquests from town to town. Or note the astonishing scene filmed with swirling cameras wherein the Marias overwhelm Rodriguez through sheer presence alone.

There is a scene where Maria II stirs the South American peasantry into revolution with a speech cheekily cribbed from William Shakespeare, that blurs the lines uncomfortably between social need and showbiz lark. A point Malle concedes when Maria I sharply rebukes her. Whereas Malle earlier injected a subversive, grownup subtext into his children’s comedy Zazie dans le Metro (1960), he doesn’t quite manage to elevate this above the level of a saucier Tintin adventure strip. Still, as cheery entertainment this is hard to beat and if you ever wanted to watch Brigitte Bardot mow down hordes of extras with a machinegun, this is the movie to see.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3661 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: