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Night Games (1980)

Roger Vadim is back, pushing yet another protege, but neither the movie nor his latest “discovery” measures up to those of the past (including Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda).

His latest “discovery” is Cindy Pickett, a blonde, willowy 32-year-old veteran of television soap operas. With her butch haircut and boyish figure, she presents an androgynous image clearly incompatible with our recollections of Vadim’s previous leading ladies. Pickett has a certain sophisticated appeal, but a new Bardot, Deneuve or Fonda she certainly isn’t.

Night Games is a slick, elegantly done slice of erotica, set amid the opulence and decadence of Beverly Hills, that deals obsessively but not convincingly with frigidity.

Pickett portrays the artistic wife of a publisher whose memories of being raped at the age of 13 prevent her from responding to her husband’s sexual desires. Frustrated, he leaves on a business trip, leaving her alone in their huge mansion.

During his absence, she experiences sexual fantasies that – we are supposed to believe – liberate her from her inhibitions. She also encounters a young male model with sex on his mind and a boozy Welsh novelist – also with sex on the brain – who drops in for a drink and never leaves.

The script is leaden and even as erotic fantasy, the film is not a turn-on. Pickett’s frigid acting makes the cold wife merely another neurotic woman whose hang-ups bore the viewer after a few minutes.

Barry Primus and Joanna Cassidy have little to do as her husband and best friend respectively.

Valerie St. John
Cindy Pickett
Jason St. John
Barry Primus
Julie Miller
Joanna Cassidy
Sean Daniels
Paul Jenkins
Gene Davis
The Phantom
Mark Hanks
Juliet Fabriga
Clem Persons
Valerie at 13
Carla Reynolds
Rene Knecht
Pamela Mellish
Walt Faggerstrom
Clarke Reynolds

Roger Vadim