BB, the explosion of a global phenomenon

By Samuel Blumenfeld

Posted today at 8:38 p.m., updated at 9:27 p.m.

“She’s the prettiest chick I’ve ever seen. “ Jean Gabin’s diagnosis, after a hard day’s work, is final. On December 7, 1957, the actor finds himself for the first time in front of his partner, at the studios of Joinville, for the filming ofIn vsace of misfortune.

The meeting is meticulously scripted by the filmmaker Claude Autant-Lara who places his camera behind the back of the actor, so that the spectator feels the same emotion as the actor. This will be the emblematic sequence of the film: Brigitte Bardot raises her suit’s skirt, reveals her garters and stockings, before the camera films her buttocks in reverse, which she places three-quarters on a desk. This time Gabin can only imagine the shapes “offered” to the viewer. But he is entitled to these words: “As much as you take advantage of it before they put me in jail.” “

Jean Gabin, tenor of the bar in the film, receives a young delinquent, played by Bardot, who, after pointing an old jeweler with a child’s pistol, tries to convince the lawyer to plead his case. The scene of their meeting remains unforgettable, as much for the provocative Bardot as for the Gabin scrutinizing her, seized, at 53, by desire, and forever prisoner of it. “It was very erotic, very insolent,” said in total silence, writes Bardot in his Memoirs. I had to go up my skirt in front of Gabin, it was not done at that time. To a millimeter, it was very delicate. “

Leagues of virtue

This meeting almost did not take place. As soon as he signed his contract, in February 1957, to play in In case of misfortune, Gabin no longer wants to share the poster with an actress too far from his standing. And then, at his ease in the films of virile men, he tastes little, to put it mildly, BB’s sulphurous reputation to the point of reducing it to “A thing that walks quite naked”. He finally knows that the first film in which she played the main role, And God created the woman, was a flop when it was released in France the year before. Then, the star with thick and white hair no longer intends to keep his commitment, to the point of being dragged onto the set by a bailiff.

But there you have it, the actress he contemplates ten months later in this scene fromIn case of misfortune is no longer what he imagined. Facing the erotic choreography of the actress, Gabin, a flash in her blue eyes, loose, without taking off her lips: “I like tall women. You are tall, so I love you. “ The formula is multiple readings. The one that must be kept today is symbolic. Gabin is no longer addressing a 24-year-old starlet but a phenomenon. Better still, it is witnessing the emergence of a new world. Because there has been, in the meantime, a Bardot explosion, an earthquake itself, the tremors of which are felt all over the world. This scene ofIn case of misfortune constitutes a concentrate.

You have 85.52% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.