Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
Is this the first time a title has been remade, instead of a movie? “And God Created Woman” shares little with the 1956 Brigitte Bardot movie except for its name and, of course, its director, Roger Vadim. It’s a great title, to be sure, and although I can only barely, dimly remember moments from the original movie, I am prepared to bet that this is a better one. The movie stars Rebecca De Mornay, who in her uncanny first shot looks for a moment like Bardot. Then the Bardot imagery is abandoned and the movie gets on with its business.
De Mornay plays a woman prison inmate (wrongly sentenced, of course) who is determined to be free. She escapes, but makes the mistake of hitching a ride in the limousine of a politician (Frank Langella). Instead of turning her over to the authorities, he helps her break back into the prison. Then he supplies some helpful advice: If she can find a responsible person on the outside who will vouch for her, she can probably be parolled.
This suggestion leads to the movie’s best sequence, when De Mornay discovers a local handyman (Vincent Spano) who is making some repairs on prison property and seduces him. Then she makes him an offer. She will give him her inheritance, $5,000, if he will marry her and help her be parolled. He agrees, and that leads to another good series of scenes, as these two incompatible people form an unlikely and apparently unworkable couple.
The whole middle stretch of “And God Created Woman” is good, in fact, partly because De Mornay and Spano work so effectively together and partly because Vadim tells the story efficiently and has a good story to tell. De Mornay plays a young woman who knows her own mind, firmly and without question, and although she had sex with Spano in prison, she won’t sleep with him now: “This is business,” she explains.