Roger Vadim - Director

Nationality: French. Born: Roger Vadim Plemiannikov in Paris, 26 January 1928. Education: Educated in political science; studied acting with Charles Dullin. Family: Married 1) Brigitte Bardot, 1952 (divorced); 2) Annette Stroyberg, 1958 (divorced), one child; child by Catherine Deneuve; 3) Jane Fonda, 1967 (divorced); 4) Catherine Schneider, 1975 (divorced), one child; 5) Marie-Christine Barrault, 1990. Career: Stage actor, 1944–47; assistant to Marc Allégret on Juliette , 1953, and others; journalist for Paris-Match , and TV director, early 1950s; directed first film, Et . . . Dieu créa la femme , 1956. Died: 11 February, 2000, in Paris, France, of cancer.

Films as Director:


Et . . . Dieu créa la femme ( And . . . God Created Woman ) (+ co-sc)


Sait-on jamais? ( No Sun in Venice ) (+ sc)


Les Bijoutiers du clair de lune ( Heaven Fell That Night ; The Night That Heaven Fell ) (+ co-sc)


Les Liaisons dangereuses (+ co-sc)


Et mourir de plaisir ( Blood and Roses ) (+ co-sc)


La Bride sur le cou ( Please, Not Now! ) (co-d, uncredited, co-sc)


"L'Orgueil" (Pride) episode of Les Sept Pechées capitaux ( Seven Deadly Sins ) (+ co-sc); Le Repos du guerrier ( Warrior's Rest ; Love on a Pillow ) (+ co-sc)


Le Vice et la vertu ( Vice and Virtue ) (+ co-sc, pr); Château en Suede ( Nutty, Naughty Chateau ) (+ co-sc)


La Ronde ( Circle of Love ) (+ co-sc, co-adapt)


La Curée ( The Game Is Over ) (+ co-sc, pr)


"Metzengerstein" episode of Histoires extraordinaires ( Spirits of the Dead ) (+ co-sc); Barbarella (+ co-sc)


Pretty Maids All in a Row


Hellé (+ story)


Don Juan 1973 ou si Don Juan était une femme ( Ms. Don Juan ; Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman ) (+ co-sc)


La Jeune Fille assassinée ( Charlotte ) (+ pr, sc, role)


Une Femme fidèle (+ co-sc)


Night Games


The Hot Touch


Art of Deceit


Surprise Party


Come Back


And God Created Woman


Le Fou amoureaux (+ sc)


La Nouvelle tribu (series for TV) (+ sc); Mon père avait raison

Roger Vadim
Roger Vadim


By VADIM: books—

Les Liaisons dangereuses , with Roger Vailland and Claude Brulé, New York, 1962.

Memoirs of the Devil , New York, 1976.

The Hungry Angel , New York, 1984.

Bardot, Deneuve and Fonda: The Memoirs of Roger Vadim , London, 1986.

By VADIM: articles—

"Pretty Maids," in Playboy (Chicago), April 1971.

"Meeting the Gallic Svengali," an interview with M. Rosen, in Millimeter (New York), October 1975.

"So Who Created Vadim?," an interview with Marc Mancini, in Film Criticism (Meadville, Pennsylvania), vol. 24, no. 2, 1988.

On VADIM: books—

Carpozi, George Jr., The Brigitte Bardot Story , New York, 1961.

de Beauvoir, Simone, Brigitte Bardot and the Lolita Syndrome , London, 1961.

Frydland, Maurice, Roger Vadim , Paris, 1963.

On VADIM: articles—

Mardore, Michel, "Roger Vadim," in Premier Plan (Lyon), October 1959.

Burch, Noël, "Qu'est-ce que la Nouvelle Vague?," in Film Quarterly (Berkeley), Winter 1959.

Billard, G., "Ban on Vadim," in Films and Filming (London), November 1959.

Maben, A., "Vadim and Zola," in Films and Filming (London), October 1966.

Beylie, Claude, "Quatre de la forfanterie," in Ecran , October 1975.

Obituary, in Maclean's , 21 February 2000.

Obituary, in Newsweek , 21 February 2000.

* * *

With Et . . . Dieu créa la femme Roger Vadim created the commercial climate which made the nouvelle vague possible. Despite this, his reputation as director has always lagged behind that as a connoisseur of the beautiful women who inhabit his films. His relationships with Brigitte Bardot, Annette Stroyberg, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Fonda, and others established him, in English-speaking countries at least, as the archetypal "French" director. The American retitling of Le Repos du guerrier as Love on a Pillow , and Chateau en Suede as Nutty, Naughty Chateau , glumly emphasizes his raffish image.

Vadim claims in his fanciful autobiography that a prostitute provided by producer Raoul Levy to relieve the tedium of screenwriting furnished him with rationale for Bardot's character in Et . . . Dieu créa la femme —unselfishness. "If she's not interested in money, people won't think she's a whore." This motive recurs in Vadim's work, where generous, warm-hearted, and sensual women lavish their favors on indifferent, often evil love objects. Fulfillment comes only with death. In La Jeune Fille assassiné , Vadim even makes death in the throes of orgasm the sole ambition of his heroine, and his first American film, Pretty Maids All in a Row , casts Rock Hudson as an improbable mass-murdering psychiatrist in a girls' college.

For an artist with a single subject, Vadim has proved remarkably imaginative. Sait-on jamais exploits Venice with style, the Modern Jazz Quartet's chiming score harmonizing precisely with Vadim's romantic thriller. His lesbian vampire melodrama, Et mourir de plaisir , is among the lushest of horror films, enlivened by a clever use of color and a surrealist dream sequence which reminds one that he knew Cocteau and acted in La Testament d'Orphée. Jane Fonda never looked more beautiful than in the incest drama La Curée , and in Barbarella he turned Jean-Claude Forest's comic strip into something between Grand Guignol and an erotic tableau vivant. Even his lamentable American re-make of Et . . . Dieu créa la femme transformed Rebecca de Mornay from rural tart into temptress.

Vadim is at his best in the high style, where the material encourages grand gestures. Bardot in Le Repos du guerrier standing like the Winged Victory in a ruined church, face turned into a torrent of wind; Stroyberg in an eighteenth-century white gown gliding through the cypresses of Hadrian's Villa to Jean Prodromides's score of harp and pizzicati strings in Et mourir de plaisir —these are images that briefly transcend the novelettish material from which they spring.

—John Baxter

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