THE NIGHT HEAVEN FELL (BIJOUTIERS DU CLAIR DE LUNE) (HEAVEN FELL THAT NIGHT)
(director/writer: Roger Vadim; screenwriter: Peter Viertel/from the novel by Albert Vidale; cinematographer: Armand Thirard; editor: Victoria Mercantron; music: Georges Auric; cast: Brigitte Bardot (Ursula), Stephen Boyd (Lambert0), Alida Valli (Aunt Florentine), Pepe Nieto (The Count Miguel de Ribera), Jose Marco Davo (Police Chief), Antonio Vico (Chauffeur), Fernando Rey (Tio), Maruschi Fresno (Conchita); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Raoul J. Levy; Janus (Columbia); 1958-France/Italy-in French with English subtitles)
“Bardot is unconvincing playing a virgin just out of a convent school.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The 23-year-old Brigitte Bardot, the international sex kitten, one year divorced from director Roger Vadim (“Night Games”/”Barbarella”/”And God Created Women”), might look great without any clothes on, but it’s questionable if she can act. In this dreadful heavy-handed crime drama, Bardot is unconvincing playing a virgin just out of a convent school, while Irish actor Stephen Boyd is equally unconvincing as a Spaniard killer on-the-run. Vadim co-wrote the screenplay with Peter Viertel. It’s based on the novel by Albert Vidale. The film was shot on location in Spain’s high country.
The French convent school girl Ursula (Brigitte Bardot) arrives by train to spend her vacation on a small mountaintop village with her aristocratic Aunt Florentine (Alida Valli) and her lecherous uncle, Count Miguel de Ribera (Pepe Nieto). Before arriving at the doorsteps of her hosts, Ursula falls in love at first sight with the innkeeper’s hunky son Lamberto (Stephen Boyd), who forces his way into her car and confronts her uncle for causing the suicide of his sister. Later, while defending himself from being attacked by her uncle, Lamberto fatally plunges his blade into his heart. Though Ursula observes he’s her aunt’s lover, she still runs away with him in her uncle’s red convertible. The police give chase. We see Bardot’s bosom, bulls running through the streets of a small town, Bardot befriending a piglet and a donkey (probably practicing for animal activist life after movies), and some stunning vista shots of the Spanish mountain towns. But it’s all drivel. The romantic leads show no chemistry for each other (reportedly hating each other on the set) and the cliched tragic conclusion fails to elicit much of an emotional response, since we cared for no one.
REVIEWED ON 10/31/2014 GRADE: C