Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB. Italy/France, 1969. Societe Nouvelle de Cinematographie, Tritone Cinematografica. Screenplay by Jean-Claude Carriere, Jacques Deray, from a story by Alain Page. Cinematography by Jean-Jacques Tarbes. Produced by Gerard Beytout. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Paul Laffargue. Costume Design by Andre Courreges. Film Editing by Paul Cayatte.
This erotic drama likely became as popular as it did because of the ripe sexuality on display, as the story contains little else to recommend it. Alain Delon and Romy Schneider are at the peak of their physical appeal and enjoying an idyllic summer at their St. Tropez home indulging in it. Their days are spent lounging in the sun or making love by or in the pool, perpetually humping until Schneider’s ex (Maurice Ronet) shows up with his newly discovered daughter (Jane Birkin) and initiates a tension between the exes that is mirrored by Delon’s noticing of the barely legal young lady. This tension has to go somewhere, naturally, and if you’ve ever seen a Claude Chabrol film you’ll know where it goes, but if you have seen a Claude Chabrol film then you’ll also know why Jacques Deray is not Claude Chabrol. The tension is hinted at but never really felt, the dialogue is dull and the whole thing plays out with far too little incident or interaction between the right people. Bare female breasts and glistening male chests would have carried a movie a lot further in 1969 than it does now, making it easy to see why it was such a sensation, but the years since have made it little more than a curiosity for anyone who is a fan of any member of the cast. Remade in 2016 as A Bigger Splash.