HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Bear and the Doll, The Bardot as both Beauty and Beast
Year: 1970
Director: Michel Deville
Stars: Brigitte Bardot, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Daniel Ceccaldi, Georges Claisse, Patrick Gilles, Julien Verdier, Claude Beauthéac, Jean Lescot, Olivier Stroh, Patricia Darmon, Sabine Haudepin, Valérie Stroh, Claude Jetter, Johanna Maniez
Genre: Comedy, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Gaspard (Jean-Pierre Cassel) lives a quiet, seemingly happy life in a big country house with his son and three precocious nieces. Felicia (Brigitte Bardot) is a beautiful, wealthy and temperamental woman leading the high life in Paris atop a pop art apartment with a party on every floor. With a divorce in the works and two lovers on the go, she never met a man she could not twist around her dainty little finger. Until the day Felicia crashes her Rolls Royce into Gaspard's rickety roadster. As Gaspard gives Felicia a lift into town she is bemused to find he seems immune to her charm. So, on the pretext of exchanging insurance information, Felicia lures Gaspard to a party at her place then follows him home for the sheer satisfaction of seducing then tormenting another hapless man. However, it turns out Gaspard is not so easily seduced.

French filmmakers, particularly those of the Nouvelle Vague, were among the first to acknowledge the artistry of the multifaceted Howard Hawks, his thrillers, westerns and in particular his screwball comedies. It was in that vein that Michel Deville concocted L'ours et la poupée a.k.a. The Bear and the Doll, two years before Peter Bogdanovich delivered a more elaborate Hawksian tribute in the form of What's Up Doc? (1972). Like Katherine Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby (1938) here Felicia, a slightly crazy yet alluring if sexually aggressive young woman latches onto a meek, bespectacled, flustered guy and turns his life upside down. Based on a fairy tale better known in France than elsewhere, The Bear and the Doll was the last in a string of light romantic comedies from Deville that began with Tonight or Never (1961) and the award-winning Diary of an Innocent Boy (1968). For Deville this was a fond farewell to all things frothy and fun as he segued into a run of darker, more challenging and introspective fare like Le Mouton Enragé (1974), Kafka-esque political thriller Dossier 51 (1978) and the philosophical murder mystery spoof Paltoquet (1986) though he later made an award-winning return to quirky romantic comedy with La Lectrice (1988).

In a role intended for Catherine Deneuve (who turned it down after original co-stars Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo backed away), France's most iconic sex kitten Brigitte Bardot delivers an especially spirited performance. She may have been disillusioned with the film industry by this point and only a few years away from retirement but certainly gives her all. Which is just as well as without B.B.'s bombshell beauty and vivacious charm to soften her edges, Felicia's crazy antics would prove tiresome if not plain annoying. Deville really runs with the concept of love as a battle as the leads move from verbal sparring to grappling physically with each other, culminating in a long sequence where Gaspard tries his utmost to evict Felicia from his home as she sabotages his every effort. While Bardot parodies her sex kitten image as the amoral man-eater who chews 'em up then spits 'em out until she meets her match, happily Jean-Pierre Cassel's likeable Gaspard proves no naïve country mouse. Instead he is an easygoing yet forthright guy with a sharp sense of humour. Among the funnier scenes is when he pretends to be Swedish to fool Felicia's effete hippie pals.

Deville and co-writer Nina Companeez concoct some choice lines for the spirited players though the film remains wryly amusing rather than uproariously funny, ambling along enamoured with its own cuteness. Filmed in soft-focus with pastel colours this is Euro chocolate box cinema at its most beguiling, matching the gorgeous French countryside with the music of Rossini. Animal antics and a gaggle of charming child actors add to the convivial atmosphere. To an extent The Bear and the Doll plays to conservative attitudes about gender roles and the taming of 'independent' women. Yet it is worth noting Felicia's mischief makes Gaspard feel alive again while she discovers true love without sacrificing her own spirit. One could also interpret the plot as a screwball pastiche of Beauty and the Beast only with Bardot as the Beast as unlikely as that sounds, a post-feminist man-eater who finally falls for a man with integrity. At the time a few critics felt whatever feminist point Deville was out to make was somewhat compromised by Brigitte Bardot's tiny miniskirts and knee-high boots. One imagines fans will feel very differently about that.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3126 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
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: