And God Created Woman (French: Et Dieu… créa la femme) (1956) is a French drama film directed by Roger Vadim and starring Brigitte Bardot. Though by no means her first film, it is widely recognized as the vehicle that launched Bardot into the public spotlight and immediately created her "sex kitten" persona.
When the film was released in the United States by distributor Kingsley-International Pictures in 1957, it pushed the boundaries of the representation of sexuality in American cinema, making Bardot an overnight sensation. It was condemned by the Catholic League of Decency.
The film narrates the experience of Juliette, an 18-year old orphan with a high level of sexual energy. She also has a custom of walking around barefoot. These factors cause a stir and attract the attentions of men.
Her first suitor is the much older and wealthy Eric Carradine (Curd Jürgens). He wants to build a new casino in town, but his plans are being crimped by the Tardieu family who owns a small shipyard on the stretch of land he needs for the development.
Antoine, the eldest Tardieu son, returns home for the weekend to discuss the situation and Juliette waiting for him to take her away with him. His intentions are short term, and he spurns her by leaving town without her.
Juliette's guardians have had just about enough of her antics, and threaten to send her back to the orphanage. To keep her in town, Carradine pleas with Antoine to consider marrying her, which he laughs off, but his naive younger brother Michel, secretly in love with Juliette, rises to the challenge and proposes. Despite being in love with his older brother, she accepts. When Antoine is contracted to return home for good, the trouble starts for the newlyweds, and all the men in her life come to realize just what she means to them.
Brigitte Bardot as Juliette Hardy
Curd Jürgens as Éric Carradine
Jean-Louis Trintignant as Michel Tardieu
Jane Marken as Madame Morin
Jean Tissier as M. Vigier-Lefranc
Isabelle Corey as Lucienne
Jacqueline Ventura as Mme Vigier-Lefranc
Jacques Ciron as The Secretaty of Éric
Paul Faivre as M. Morin
Jany Mourey as The Orphanage Representative
Philippe Grenier as Perri
Jean Lefebvre as The Man who wanted to dance
Leopoldo Francés as The Dancer
Jean Toscano as René
Marie Glory as Mme. Tardieu
Georges Poujouly as Christian Tardieu
Christian Marquand as Antoine Tardieu
Most available prints of the film were heavily edited to conform with the prevailing censorial standards of 1957. A remake of the film was directed by Vadim and released in 1988. In contrast from the French original, the remake is in English.
When the film was released in the United States, Bosley Crowther, the film critic for The New York Times, found Brigitte Bardot attractive but the film lacking and was not able to recommend it. He wrote, "Bardot moves herself in a fashion that fully accentuates her charms. She is undeniably a creation of superlative craftsmanship. But that's the extent of the transcendence, for there is nothing sublime about the script of this completely single-minded little picture...We can't recommend this little item as a sample of the best in Gallic films. It is clumsily put together and rather bizarrely played. There is nothing more than sultry fervor in the performance of Mlle. Bardot."
Film critic Dennis Schwartz wrote, "The breezy erotic drama was laced with some thinly textured sad moments that hardly resonated as serious drama. But as slight as the story was it was always lively and easy to take on the eyes, adding up to hardly anything more than a bunch of snapshots of Bardot posturing as a sex kitten in various stages of undress. The public loved it and it became a big box-office smash, and paved the wave for a spate of sexy films to follow. What was more disturbing than its dullish dialogue and flaunting of Bardot as a sex object, was that underneath its call for liberation was a reactionary and sexist view of sex."
The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 73% of critics gave the film a positive review,
based on eleven reviews."