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Contempt (Widescreen) [2 Discs] (The Criterion Collection)

Brigitte Bardot , Jack Palance , Jean-Luc Godard    Unrated   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Jean-Luc Godard's subversive foray into commercial filmmaking is a star-studded Cinemascope epic. Contempt (Le M pris) stars Michel Piccoli as a screenwriter torn between the demands of a proud European director (played by legendary director Fritz Lang), a crude and arrogant American producer (Jack Palance), and his disillusioned wife, Camille (Brigitte Bardot) as he attempts to doctor the script for a new film version of The Odyssey.


With his aptly titled Contempt, Jean-Luc Godard embraced the widescreen splendor of Hollywood while thumbing his nose at Hollywood itself. A rebel with a cause, Godard pursues an iconoclast's agenda, using the Franscope format (expertly controlled by cinematographer Raoul Coutard) to undermine the grandeur of widescreen melodramas. The story ostensibly concerns an innovative production of Homer's Odyssey and the struggle of a respected screenwriter (Michel Piccoli) to please a pugnacious producer (Jack Palance), a veteran director (Fritz Lang, essentially playing himself), and a petulant wife (Brigitte Bardot) who's grown tired of their turbulent relationship. It's all pretense, however, for Godard's mischievous (and yes, contemptuous) deconstruction of commercial Hollywood filmmaking, potently infused with film-buff in-jokes, astute observations about love, stardom, and artistry, and enough glossy style to suggest that Godard had mastered the craft he so willfully rejects. Contempt is one of his most accessibly fascinating films. --Jeff Shannon

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High Definition? Not 100% March 19 2010
Approximately 80% of this movie looks glorious. Very vivid. The other 20% is sub par in my opinion. If you already own the Criterion version, you might want to think twice before "upgrading" to the Studio Canal blu-ray edition.

As far as the content goes, Contempt is one of my all time favorites (5 stars all the way). If I ever grow tired of seeing this movie, I'll know it's time to die.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Encircling a moment in time... Sept. 24 2010
By Edmonson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
"Contempt"(1963) is directed by Jean-Luc Godard. The film is interesting in that it encircles a given second in time when Camille Javal (Brigette Bardot) looses her love for Paul Javal (Michel Piccoli), unlike most films that would follow a linear progression from love to contempt. When Paul realizes his error it is too late and from then on he is constantly seen out of sync with Camille.

As with many of Godard's films this one is also about a film within a film, or a film about film. Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M) acts as an director late in his life who is forced to compromise himself to commercial film in order to make a living. Jeremy Prokosch (Jack Palance) is the American producer who is only concerned with making money and showing off his female actors assets just as Godard was asked by his producers with respect to Bardot. The movie Fritz Lang is making is an adaptation of Homer's Odyssey that Paul is hired to rework so as to make it more commercially viable. The classical characters of Penelope, Odysseus and Poseidon parallel Camille, Paul, and Jeremy. Paul seems to understand and relate his predicament with Camille to Penelope interpreting that Camille has lost her love for him because she believes that he has tried to leave her, just as Odysseus left Penelope for many years to journey the world because he was possibly trying to avoid her. Whether this is true or not, Paul only half heartedly tries to regain her love for him which only serves to further widen the rift between them. Camille never really comes out and says why she has lost her love for him and we are left trying to put the pieces together wondering if this is merely a lover's game or not.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Godard and Lang, Bardot and Capri Dec 14 2003
Bardot is actually an excellent actress in this film. Her body gets a lot of attention and there are plenty of shots of her lying in the sun naked but she gives her character depth. Strangley enough when she walks around wearing a black wig she looks very plain, not at all like a movie star. Perhaps the most striking thing about this film is that though it was Godards first color film he manages to use color brilliantly. The film was shot in Italy and reminds me of a Michelangelo Antonioni film as it is a story of two lovers who fail to communicate and thus let their love slip away.
Jack Palance is perfect as the headstrong producer who manipulates his director Fritz Lang (who plays himself), as well as his writer (Michel Piccoli). Palance is the ultimate megalomaniacal producer who enjoys dominating others and manipulating them into doing whatever he wants. The confident and poised Lang acts like the master that he is, he never loses his cool and he copes with Palance's outrageous tantrums as if they were nothing at all, and we can see that despite Palance's constant intereference Lang will make the film that he wants. But the young, sensitive writer is made to feel like a whore. And this explains why he begins to treat his wife like a whore. Piccoli does not seem to want to admit what he is doing but he seems to push his wife into the arms of Palance intentionally so she too will feel the way he does. The script is based on an Alberto Moravia novel and this is a classic Moravia scenario. Moravia was fascinated with prostitutes and so was Godard -- ie My Life to Live.
The husband and wife both feel like whores and so they feel contempt for themselves as well as each other.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simply fantastic ! Oct. 22 2003
What a great movie that is and i saw it 20 times. This is a great transfer with the original movie opening (credits) for me this is the perfect movie ever made, Brigitte Bardot is rather gorgeous and plays Camille in a very passive way, the movie is full of rich colourRed Blue and White, a very intelligent movie and i like the movie inside the movie, A great Cast too Michel Piccoli playing Brigitte husband, Fritz lanf playing himself as the great Film director and Jack Palance playing the american producer . The movie was shot in Capri and the music is simply
haunting. For me this is the perfect movie, and it feeds all my senses, great photography by Raoul Coutard, stunning Location and a very stunning Brigitte Bardot who can prove that she was rather a good actress.THE EXTRAS ARE AMAZING TOO, A VERY RARE DOCUMENTARY MADE ABOUT BB "PAPARAZZI" SHOWING A PURSUED Brigitte. and a couple of interesting interviews of Fritz Lang and Jean Luc Goddard. IF YOU MUST BUY A GODDARD MOVIE THIS IS THE ONE TO ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION. SIMPLY INTELLIGENT AND THE OPENING SCENE Of BB AND Piccoli (when she asked him if she likes her body and ...) is a very arty nude scene added by goddard to please the american producer.One of BB BEST MOVIE ALONG WITH THE TRUTH (Made by Clouzot).I LOVE IT !!!
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray with a few flaws
A few shots don't seem to fit picture quality of a Blu-ray disc:
TC 00:27:22-40;
- total =... Read more
Published on July 30 2011 by mickey_one
1.0 out of 5 stars Bin it.
Regarded by some as Godard's most accessible movie, I beg to differ: Godard has survived because of the freshness and charm of his best films, not as most fawning critics would... Read more
Published on May 14 2004 by jbn 63
5.0 out of 5 stars Brigitte Bardot at her voluptuous best: Godard's "8 1/2"
I prefer this film to Fellini's 8 1/2 and there are some similarities. They were made at the same time and they were the first two post-modern films. In this one B.B. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2003 by Adam Bernstein
1.0 out of 5 stars Make it Stop!!!!!
If Jean-Luc Godard hated commercial film producers, why did he make a movie for them? To make some adolescent point about how he, The Brave Artist, would never be cowed by the... Read more
Published on Sept. 6 2003 by Matthew Patton
4.0 out of 5 stars Lavish presentation of a classic.
This CRITERION edition of "Contempt" gives the cinema buff plenty of causes of rejoicing. Not only does it offer a terrific cinemascope version of the film, but also a lot of... Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Godard's Attempt at Big Budget
This was a good film. It's slow-moving by today's standards and I doubt many younger filmgoers would have the patience to sit through many of its lengthy sequences, where... Read more
Published on June 30 2003 by E. Dolnack
5.0 out of 5 stars did you know..
did you know that the opening of this film by goddard was not in his original script? yes, the opening segment with the nude bardot and piccoli was added on after post-production... Read more
Published on June 24 2003 by takezo
5.0 out of 5 stars My second Godard film- more like a 4.5
Jean-Luc Godard's Contempt is abstract at times, analystic at most, and full of the contemptuous vibes that deliver the film its title, and, indeed, consistently interesting entry... Read more
Published on June 22 2003 by J. Christal
5.0 out of 5 stars simply beautiful....
even though i like the entire godard's filmography i probably think this is my favorite movie made by the french director. Read more
Published on June 20 2003 by emanuele fontanesi
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