Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 18th, 2005
Theatrical Release Date: France, February 22nd, 1973
Director: Roger Vadim
Writers: Jean Cau, Jean-Pierre Petrolacci, Roger Vadim
Cast: Brigitte Bardot, Robert Hossein, Mathieu Carrière, Michèle Sand, Robert Walker Jr.
DVD released: November 13th, 2001
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital mono
DVD Release: Home Vision
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
“From the moment I liberated Brigitte, the moment I showed her how to be truly herself, our marriage was all downhill.” – Roger Vadim
Jeanne (Brigitte Bardot) is a seductress that lives on a stylish submarine. She takes pleasure in destroying the lives of them men who loved her and tossed her aside. When guilt gets the better of her she confesses to Paul (Mathieu Carrière) a priest that she has murdered someone. Later on her submarine Jeanne tells Paul about all of her conquests as she spins her tell about how she ruined all of these men’s lives. Will Paul fall victim to her seductive ways or will he help Jeanne find salvation?
Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman would mark the sixth and final collaboration between Brigitte Bardot and her ex-husband Roger Vadim. Robert Walker Jr. comes from a showbiz family his parents Robert Walker star of Strangers on a Train and his mother star of Indiscretion of an American Wife. Brigitte Bardot would retire from acting in 1973 after completing her final film Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman.
Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman is different kind of Brigitte Bardot film. She is more confident then is she in any of her other films as she asserts herself through out the picture and when she has been wrong instead of mopping around she exacts her revenge on all the men who only think of her as a sex object. In real life Bardot is remembered most as a sex object and in this film through her character Jeanne she proves that images can be deceiving.
A scene that embedded in my mind long after the film had ended was the scene when the Priest came over to Jeanne’s house to hear her confession. He had just help one of Jeanne’s friend’s change a flat tire before coming inside which left his hands dirty. When Jeanne sees his hands she insists that he washes them and ensues is a highly erotic scene as her hands help wash the filth from his hands. Roger Vadim direction is solid as usual and he does what he does best photograph beautiful woman. The set design for the film especially the submarine in which Jeanne lives in is eclectic and futuristic looking. Michael Magne’s orchestral score with angelic voices fits perfectly with the films religious and sexual undertones. Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman is filled with wonderful performances high lighted by Mathieu Carrière who plays the priest. His role may be limited in terms of dialog; still he is able to convey so much through his expressions and eyes. Brigitte Bardot is giving the ideal vehicle in Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman in which she can ride off into the sunset forever preserving her beauty.
Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The colors look robust and there is some minor grain present. The darker tones and flesh tones look authentic through out. There is also some minor print damage, still nothing that ever becomes distracting or takes away from viewing the film. Overall this is a very satisfying transfer with some minor room for improvement.
The only audio option included on this release is the films original French language track presented in a Dolby Digital mono. The audio is free of any hiss or distortion and the action is easy to follow. The excellent music score benefits most from this mono track as it registers slightly louder then the dialog and the rest of the action. English subtitles have been included that are east to read and follow. Just like virtually all their Brigitte Bardot releases this one comes up short in that department.
Extras include Brigitte Bardot filmography, and trailers for And God Created Woman, Plucking The Daisy and The Night Heaven Fell. Rounding out the extras is some incite full liner notes written by Nathan Rabin. More extras would have been cool especially since this was one of Brigitte Bardot’s final films.
Don Juan or If Don Juan Were a Woman is a fascinating film in which Brigitte Bardot comes full circle as a sex goddess. It is fitting that Roger Vadim whose film And God Created Woman that made Bardot a sex symbol seventeen years earlier directs her in her swan song.