Made in France but given English subtitles and sprayed with Technicolor, Parisienne is about captivating hussy Brigitte Laurier (Brigitte Bardot) – the daughter of a French premier – who lands handsome young philanderer Michel Legrand (Henri Vidal) – her father’s good-looking secretary – and holds him by making him jealous.
Bardot displays her undoubted gift for comedy as well as her famous figure and – staunchly supported by a hand-picked cast and clever director – sees that the romp reaches beyond the bedroom.
The staging is lush, and its “captions” are definitely to the point. It’s grand escapist fare.
Brigitte compromises Michel while shielding him from an irate husband, and the premier insists that Michel and Brigitte marry.
Following an idyllic honeymoon, Brigitte fears Michel will resume his old habits and decides to have an affair of her own.
She selects Prince Charles (Charles Boyer), consort of Queen Greta (Nadia Gray), who is paying a state visit to Paris from a neighbouring country.
Michel treats Brigitte’s threats as a joke, but after Brigitte and Charles have an afternoon on the Riviera, Michel gets jealous. However, the tact of the premier and the queen saves an international situation and Brigitte and Michel call it quits.
Or do they?
The polished and sophisticated picture naturally pivots on sex, but there are many tender touches and a marvellous free-for-all at the finish.
Brigitte Bardot pouts and cajoles as only she can and wears some striking gowns. Henri Vidal makes a manly Michel. Charles Boyer contributes a smooth performance as Prince Charles, while Nadia Gray is a gracious Queen Greta and Andre Luguet scores as the premier.
The timing of the gags is perfect, and the backgrounds are elegant, while the French flair for haute couture is reflected in the film’s rich wardrobe.
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