Catfight at the OK Corral

Finding this clip on VousTube (the French Youtube), I quickly realised several things.

1) There was a French spaghetti western (an escargot western?) directed by Christian-Jaque, director of glossy French commercial cinema since the ’30s (and until the ’80s!).

2) The film starred Brigitte Bardot and Claudia Cardinale, a double-billing of pulchritude almost too dazzling to contemplate.

3) The film sets its leading ladies to fighting and ripping each others’ clothes.

I was overcome with respect for C-J’s generosity towards the squalid perverts comprising his audience. The fact that he thought to provide such a scene for our benefit! What a good man! What a kind man!


Otherwise, the film entertains with a combination of high fashion (it is above all a French western) —

— shameless voluptuousness, and stupidity (all the male characters are mentally about ten years old, and so is the film). The sexagenarian director proves spry and likely to zip-pan off onto nothing at the drop of a stetson. Michael J. Pollard attempts to prove himself a leading man. Hmm.

I love BB’s expression in this one.

15 Responses to “Catfight at the OK Corral”

  1. Had I not known ahead of time I’d never have guessed it was her. And why isn’t it VousTube? Where’s Michael J. Pollard in all this, I would’ve loved to have seen him included in your choice of frames. And what’s with the matching outfits on those dapper cowboys? I think you may have created a new term for film scholars: the Escargot Western.

  2. Bardot manages to look like a Carla Lane/Pauline Fowler mix up in that last pic.

  3. she is doing an impression of the disappointed worm lady from coronation street

  4. I saw Michael J. Pollard on the bus the other day. I occasionally run into him at “Book Soup” here in L.A.

  5. I think of him the same way I do Bud Cort, one of those wonderfully idiosyncratic actors who seemed to, if not disappear, then show up only intermittently since they made their first big splash. Pollard’s gnomish face made a nice counterpoint to Beatty and Dunaway’s cinematic prettiness in Bonnie & Clyde. Same applies to Hackman’s cinderblock visage.

  6. Indeed. I’m hoping Wes Anderson will cast Pollard and Cort in his next film.

  7. I would love that. One can only hope. Wes, are you reading this? And not only cast them, but make them the leads in the film, but that’s probably too much to ask for. I know Cort was in Anderson’s The Life Aquatic, which was for me his first misfire.

  8. I’m going to write more on this one eventually, promise to show you Pollard in action.

    You’re right, Guy, VousTube. Or TousTube, since we’re all friends here.

    Not NEARLY enough Pollard in modern cinema. With Bud Cort I sort of understand the neglect because he stopped being sort-of oddly cute and just became odd. But it’s not like he stopped being a great actor, so they should have found roles for him.

  9. Pollard, by contrast, has remained essentailly unchanged. His hair’s bright white now, but you’d know him from a block away.

  10. I’ve got to see that film, though I can’t imagine the rest of it living up to that sequence! In some ways I’m glad the sequence ends in mid-fight so neither Bardot nor Cardinale wins!

    Probably the thing I like most is that it isn’t a ‘girly’ condescending catfight but a real bruising fistfight!

  11. The whole film is building up to this fight. The rest is amusing, in a gleefully dumb way. Must’ve been strange for Christian-Jaque to go from Dostoievsky adpatation with Gerard Philippe to this!

    Yes, it’s a proper fistfight, although with slightly more costume-ripping than there would be if it was James Stewart versus Richard Widmark.

    I don’t think I’ve seen MJ Pollard in a film since Roxanne.

  12. Hey David,
    Just got done doing some digging on Val Inky, the Siberian-born actor who played the tubercular killer in LA TETE D’UN HOMME, and discovered he plays Spitting Bull in the above film, one of his last roles (he was born in 1895). Looking forward to your post on LA TETE.

  13. He’s in the VousTube clip! You’ll recognize him.

  14. Yeah, I discovered this last night too! He’s in Drame de Shanghai too, which I blogged about here — I suspect I didn’t realise at the time that he wasn’t actually Chinese!

  15. He was in Lang’s Indian Tomb too, the later version. He may not be Chinese, but his features are definitely at least somewhat Asiatic, I suspect he may be Mongolian.

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