|Vintage Pulp||Sep 20 2012|
Above are two Japanese door length posters for 1971’s Les pétroleuses, aka Frenchie King, which starred French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot and Italian counterpart Claudia Cardinale in what was considered a dream paring. Bardot had said that Cardinale was the one actress in the world that was destined to replace her. She even made a quip of it, saying, “After B.B. comes C.C., no?” Both were well established by the time they appeared in Les pétroleuses, both thirty something, both looking good. Many of the reviews we read said that Cardinale was not the same class of beauty as Bardot. Gotta say, we think those people are blind. Cardinale has an earthy, smoldering thing going on that works particularly well in this sweaty, shot-in-Spain production. She and Bardot play rivals in the old west, with B.B. as the leader of a gang of nomadic girl bandits, and C.C. as a townie with a quartet of virile brothers. Bardot ends up gaining ownership of a local ranch, but Cardinale learns that there’s a fortune in oil under the land. Scheming, slapstick and shootouts ensue, as they ride a lot, glare a lot, Cardinale sings a terrible song, Bardot bares her opposite-of-terrible backside, and the two have a bodice ripping fistfight. But dream pairing or no, the movie received tepid reviews, and deservedly so. It’s intermittently funny but mostly clumsy. On the other hand, we could look at Cardinale all day, so that’s something.