Don Juan (or if Don Juan Were a Woman)

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jeanne (Brigitte Bardot) is one of the most beautiful, seductive women to walk the planet, rare is the man (or woman) who could resist her wiles. Armed with an insatiable lust and her killer charisma, Jeanne can get whomever she wishes, whenever and however she wishes, to do whatever she wishes. But she is not just your normal libertine, as she loves to seduce, betray, and demolish those she encounters. She has ruined the lives of many people and beyond that, she has harmed countless others in her wake. If the man is married, Jeanne seeks to seduce him, then make sure his wife finds out and leaves him, which means his life has been flushed down the drain, just because she chose to make it happen. She takes men with power and reveals them in intimate moments, which shatters their careers and lives. In addition, she has no remorse for her actions and is even proud of herself, proud of all the lives she has devastated. But will she be allowed to do so with impunity, or is her turn for destruction soon to arrive?

Although I am pleased to see Home Vision release this film, Don Juan 73 (an alternate title) is not as good as it should be, not even close. I mean, we have immortal sex kitten Brigitte Bardot as a sexual seduction machine, but the film isn’t as exploitative or base as you might expect, so temper those preconceptions. Bardot plays the female Don Juan with ruthless abandon, but we still like her, thanks to her charisma and of course, the film’s rather sympathetic tones. It has some moments and I never miss a chance to see Bardot, but on the whole, Don Juan 73 is a let down and that’s a shame. I think director Roger Vadim (And God Created Woman, The Night Heaven Fell) needed to push the envelope a little and stick with what works, lots of Bardot and minimal clothes. In terms of artistic worth, I doubt you’ll find a whole lot here either, although some of the visuals are cool, if just in a retro sort of fashion. In the end, I still recommend this to fans of Bardot because while the film is no classic, it’s fun to watch her in action, without a doubt.

This was to be one of her final screen appearances, which is a shame of course, but she went out looking like a million bucks, I think. I don’t mean the quality of this movie either, I mean her beauty and screen presence, both of which are on full showcase here. She might not have been as young and tight as she used to be, but Bardot still packs an awesome punch here, with minimal signs of age to mention. She needs to be in peak form to tackle this seduction machine of a role, so she turns up the charisma to eleven and lets loose. It isn’t her best performance by any means, but she is a lot of fun to watch here, as she dismantles all those who cross her path. This is the kind of role she seems perfect to handle and as such, no one should be surprised that she nails it. Other films with Bardot include Les Femmes, Plucking the Daisy, Naughty Girl, Come Dance With Me, The Night Heaven Fell, and of course, And God Created Woman. The cast also includes Jane Birkin (The Last September, Bestial Quartet), Mathieu Carriere (Queen of the Night, Isabelle and Lust), and Lena Grinda (The Passion of Bernadette).

Video: How does it look?

Don Juan (or If Don Juan Were a Woman) is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. As expected, the print has some grain and other blemishes, but is quite clean really, all things considered. The grain never reaches excessive levels, so it looks much as it should I think, with an acceptable amount of grain present. The colors look vivid here, but show some slight fades at times, while flesh tones seem in order also. While the grain sometimes lessens the contrast’s impact, it always stays on the mark, with only minor issues to report. Even with some small problems present, this transfer ends up being terrific, given the age of the materials.

Audio: How does it sound?

The original French soundtrack is preserved here, via a clean, basic mono option. You won’t be overly impressed with this track, but it sounds clean and has no serious issues, so I don’t think anyone will be let down here. There is minimal hiss present, even at higher volumes and the music & sound effects come through well, as far as mono tracks are concerned. I wasn’t able to hear any flaws with the dialogue either, as vocals were clear and at a proper volume throughout. This disc also includes optional, newly improved English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc contains some information on Bardot, as well as bonus trailers for other Home Vision Bardot discs, but no trailer for this film was included.

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