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Anchor Bay presents
"She is a big baby!"
DVD ReviewIn the years before her 1957 international breakthrough film, And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot starred in a number of romantic and slightly naughty romantic comedies where she played a naïve sex kitten. Naughty Girl is a representative sample of these films, a little frothy, a little formulaic, and heavily playing off Bardot's charms.
Paul Latour (Bernard Lancret) is the owner of a Paris nightclub, The Mississippi, where counterfeit bills have been passed. Since he was earlier in life a forger, suspicion naturally falls onto his head and he flees the country. He entrusts his nubile young daughter, Brigitte (Bardot) to the care of playboy and nightclub singer Jean Clery (Jean Brettoniere). Clery predictably falls in love with Brigitte, although he tried to hide the girl from his psychoanalyst fiancée, Lily (Françoise Fabian). Hijinks ensue, with the counterfeiters mistakenly believing that Clery is their new contact, endangering him as well as Brigitte.
Part of the problem is that this film's title oversells it; there's not enough naughtiness here to live up to the billing. At best, Brigitte is bubble-headed rather than naughty. Bardot does get to put her dance training to good use as she has a number of highly charged dance sequences in the film. Those interested in such things will be disappointed to learn that the "brief nudity" referred to does not extend to Bardot.
Jean Brettoniere is colorless and not particularly appealing as the nightclub crooner turned babysitter. The comic police are not terribly funny. Mischa Auer gets high billing but absolutely nothing to do as the ballet master, Igor. Other than Bardot herself, the high point of the film is Raymond Bussieres as Clery's deadpan Buster Keatonesque valet, Jerome. He plays the part perfectly and lends the film much of its humor and entertainment value. The script by Roger Vadim is a significant part of the problem; the counterfeiting plot is more than a little confused, with critical plot points being thrown in as an afterthought. Lily, however is a little surprising, since it was more than a little unusual in 1956 to depict women as psychoanalysts. Watch for the shot near the end where a simulated split-screen effect among six different scenes is created by use of cleverly constructed sets. The film winds up in a predictably slapstick free-for-all that gets tiresome before too long.
In all, Naughty Girl is a mild and inoffensive little girl that's okay for nostalgia but short on substance.
Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+
Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic picture is decent, though a little on the soft side. The colors are surprisingly good considering that this film was shot on Eastmancolor stock, which is notorious for fading. The blues are not as strong as they ought to be, but the reds and yellows are decent. Black levels are excellent. Skintones are slightly washed out. However, considering this transfer was taken from the restored negative, it's not likely to ever look any better than this. A very nice job of restoration was done; not a speckle is to be seen. There is a brief moment of jitter near the end, and Bardot's first scene is missing a couple frames in one spot, but otherwise the film is in excellent condition. Bit rate is quite acceptable, running at around 6-7 Mbps.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 French mono track is quite acceptable. It is very clear, with no hiss or noise whatsoever. No distortion was observed. A very nice monophonic track.
Audio Transfer Grade: A-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu with music
Scene Access with 21 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
Extras Review: A U.S. theatrical trailer (obviously created after Bardot became a household word with And God Created Woman) is included in 2.35:1 anamorphic form. The condition of the trailer makes one appreciate the clarity and color of the restoration.
The other extra is a lengthy bio of Bardot and a selected filmography for her. The bio contains good content, much more extensive than such items usually have present. Chaptering is decent, and the English subtitles are optional.
Extras Grade: C-
Final CommentsA pleasant romantic comedy farce given a very nice transfer despite the limitations of Eastmancolor stock. Bardot sparkles as does Raymond Bussiere, but the rest of the cast is fairly lifeless.
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