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PLUCKING THE DAISY

Review by Michael Jacobson

Stars:  Brigitte Bardot, Daniel Grelin, Darryl Cowl, Jacques Dumensil, Robert Hirsch
Director:  Marc Allegret
Audio:  Dolby Mono
Video:  Full Frame 1.33:1
Studio:  Home Vision Entertainment
Features:  Theatrical Trailers
Length:  99 Minutes
Release Date:  September 25, 2001

Film **

Brigitte Bardot stormed her native France, Europe, and the rest of the world in the 1950s with her unabashed sex appealÖso much so, that even though she retired from public life at the tender age of 39, polls today still consider her A) one of the top movie stars of all time, and B) one of the sexiest women who ever lived.

The older crowds were indignant and outraged, but for young women, Bardot represented a newer, freer attitude for the post World War II female, an attitude that would come to full fruition in the 60s.  For the young men, she represented an ultimate bedroom fantasy.

She wasnít afraid to bear all for the cameras, and while mainstream movies in America at the time would never dream of showing what Bardotís films showed, she still managed to earn a reputation in art house showings, where young men may have received their first exposure to international cinema just by showing up and waiting for Bardotís money shot.

Plucking the Daisy, a film co-penned by her temporary husband Roger Vadim, may have thought it was a simple screwball romantic comedy.  It really was a glorious strip tease sequence bookended by much ado over nothing.  Bardotís charm and beauty make it work to a certain extent, but not enough for a flat-out recommendation.

She plays Agnes Dumont, the young daughter of a rather pompous and silly general, who causes a stir when he learns that she in fact was the anonymous author of a steamy new romance novel heating up book stores across the city, Plucking the Daisy.  Dismayed by her dadís reaction, she sets out for Paris to follow her dreams of becoming a writer for real.

On the train, she meets Daniel Roy (Gelin), who inadvertently pays for her ticket.  He is more than a little curious about the pretty young stranger, especially when she claims her brother lives at an address that is actually a museum dedicated to Balzac.

When a misunderstanding over a valuable book forces Agnes and her brother to come up with a quick 200,000 francs, she takes the first available opportunity, entering into an amateur strip tease contest.  With a wig and mask, she tries to conceal her true identity, but it causes a Die Fledermaus complication when Daniel begins to fall for the mysterious stripper, despite his promise of love to Agnes.  (This is, of course, for anybody still paying attention to the plot after Bardotís dance.)

There is silliness and mayhem at work here, none of which is particularly deep or engrossing.  The comedy is mildly amusing, but Bardot carries the film.  She will likely be the only thing you remember after the end/

Video ***

This is a quality, full frame black and white offering from HVe, with a crisp, clean image from start to finish only marred by occasional signs of aging (spots, dirt, etc.).  The range of grayscale is effective and pure, from deep blacks to clean whites.  No major complaints.

Audio **

The mono soundtrack is serviceable, with some dynamic range created by the filmís music.  Dialogue seems clear enough, even though itís in French and hard to judge completely.

Features *

There are three trailers, with the ones for this film and The Night Heaven Fell lacking subtitles.  The one for And God Created Woman is dubbed.

Summary:

Plucking the Daisy has quality star power, but not much else.  Itís an amusing diversion elevated by the luminescence of Ms. Bardot, and this DVD offering from HVe should certainly please her dedicated fans.