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DVD Review

DVD cover

Viva Maria! (1965)


Starring: Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau
Optimum World
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 12 January 2009

Two Maria’s, one the child of an Irish terrorist, the other a vaudeville performer find themselves in a fictitious south American country, where their accidental creation of the strip tease sparks a revolution. Things get increasingly complicated when one of the Maria’s falls romantically in love with the revolutionary Flores...

Viva Maria (1965, 111 min) was directed by Louis Malle from a script by his long time collaborator Jean-Claude Carriere. The film won Jeanne Moreau a BAFTA for best foreign actress, beating her co-star, Brigit Bardot, who was also nominated. 

The film tries to be a comedic satire tipping its hat to anything from the conventions of the western to taking a pot shot at despots, revolutionaries and sexuality. Although the film has two great actresses and a great director, the first half of the film feels oddly flat, things pick up when the revolution properly starts, but the first half feels like a missed opportunity. Uniformly the film compares badly to similar films like Cat Ballou (1965).

That said there is still a lot of fun to be had watching Bardot and Moreau cut a swath across South America, blowing stuff up and generally causing a riot. George Hamilton, as the revolutionary Flores, is underused as the film concentrates on the girls exploits.

Part comedy, part satire, the film holds up well and whilst it is unlikely to be considered on of Malle's greatest films the second half of the film is well worth a watch.

The film is presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, audio ia a mixture of predominately French with a smattering of English. The disc has options for either a French or Spanish audio track, both with subtitles. Once more the only extra is the original theatrical trailer.


Charles Packer

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