Les Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune was Vadim's third feature. Between the two films was the almost unknown Sait-on Jamais/No Sun in Venice, screened once by MUFS back in 1963 and not seen by anybody since. Seems almost lost. It had only French and German actors, a mistake Vadim didn't make with his next film. The Irish actor Stephen Boyd got to star alongside Bardot and the chief supporting role was played by the internationally known Alida Valli. Though a French/Italian production it was filmed in the south of Spain. Vadim and two others wrote the script which was based on a 1954 novel by Albert Vidalie.
|Les Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune|
Set in rural Spain, Ursula (Brigitte Bardot), is a young girl who has just left a convent and has moved in with her aunt Florentine and her violent husband, the count Ribera (José Nieto). Ribera wants to see Lambert (Stephen Boyd), a young man from the village, dead. Ursula quickly falls in love with Lambert. In a confrontation between the two, Lambert kills Ribera in self-defence.
|Stephen Boyd, Brigitte Bardot, Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune|
But where the memory trace kicks in is in Vadim's photography of the backwoods Spanish landscape. The bare flat hills are perfect for Cinemascope and Vadim isn't frightened to do more than a bit of landscape mongering as he tells the tale of the lovers. Red and brown earth, cloudless skies, baking heat which causes BB to strip down to her underwear for more than a bit of the movie.
|Brigitte Bardot, Les Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune|
So, not Saura or Bunuel or Erice for Spanish landscape. Vadim beat them all and the memory trace of the night way way back in the 2000+ seat Brunswick Padua with an almost entirely male audience kicked in big time.
It should be said that the steamy scene in question mentioned above was in fact far less steamy in those days. One-armed Dick and his fellow censors took out any trace of nudity. It was only when the DVD was released that the full steamy moment was recovered and revealed.