- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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Contempt is cerebral
- Will Fox
Thanks TCM for doing dramas with moral messages, especially when earning favorable comparisons with great Greek and Shakespearean tragedies, such as "Macbeth" and "Othello." Again sex, power and control are major themes in this cynical exposure of Hollywood's exploitations. Contagious contempt clearly spreads through four primary players. In the film Fritz Lang, legendary director, wisely sets up the narrative early, condemning common, psychological power plays, characteristic of Hollywood, as he prepares production for his cerebral filming of the great Greek play, "Ulysses." Homer's heroic epic features an ambitious adventurer, seeking fame and fortune. Ditto in "Contempt," updating the story with male, movie rivals fighting for film control, while exploiting weaker women. Sex sells seats in movies, so Contempt's director, Jean Goddard opens with a long, lingering, leering look at super sex symbol, bare bedded, Brigitte Bardot. Scene 2 opens on poor, post-WW2 Europe in Italy's old, crumbling Cinema City, a bankrupt backlot, an almost deserted, ghost town. Into the scene swaggers, clich parroting Palance proudly personifies Hollywood with his readily accessible checkbook, buying control. He's buying fame, fortune and sex. So struggling screenwriter, poor Paul (Piccolli) pimps, pushing his wife, pretty pawn, blonde bomb BB into Hollywood's money man's tight, two-seater sportscar for joy riding. Another Hollywood, ugly American story: overseas, over-paid, over-sexed, over-confidently playing pridefully before crashing other peoples' lives. BB sensing sexual exploitation, responds with contempt. Four stars for script, strip, character development, dialogue, cinematography, and clear consequences.
More than just snakes & funerals
Bardot looks incredible in Cinemascope, too. Great film from the opening credits on. I'm very glad it was the subtitled, gorgeous version. Couldn't help but wonder, though, how many of those long, lingering shots of her naked body were demanded by the producers, & exactly what they thought of Palance's leering imitation. And a few times I questioned just how smart Piccolli's character was supposed to be as he kept just not getting it. Very accessible yet still very Godard.
Director Godard's attempt to make a big-budgeted, all-star film. Bardot & Piccoli give excellent performances as a couple whose marriage is endangered during a film shoot, Lang, playing himself, could've done more if given the opportunity and Palance is way off track. The second act is what's most memorable, focusing on the deterioration of the couple's relationship, but the film also does solid work depicting the making of a film. "Contempt" has it's faults, but only because Godard was never used to making a "mainstream" film like this. I give it a 3.5/5.
Gteat lavly moviethank youplease, repeat agein
My 2 cents (Canadian) too
Right off I have to say TCM is by miles the best channel on TV. I'm a big sports fan first, but I'm sacrificing the odd big sporting event to catch a movie on TCM - unbelievable. Tonight I too was really looking forward to seeing Contempt. I remember the last time it was on TCM it was the same poor copy we saw tonight. Contempt and the John Cassavetes movie Machine Gun McCain (maybe only TCM Canada?) are the only two movies I've seen on TCM that had the aspect ratio out of whack. Kind of curious as to why also.Thanks
They've shown this version more than once?!!
This is one of Godard's most well known films. We see tons of Kurosawa and many Bergman and Fellini films on TV every year yet we can't get Godard right the one time he finally comes up on the schedule. The dubbing is atrocious. A 2:35 AR film should not be pan & scanned, especially a Godard film. Contempt is a work of art and the print TCM has shown (twice it seems) makes it seem like late night public domain trash.
- Patti De Leon
Very strange film. I imagine that you have other examples of Ms. Bardot's filmwork. I would love to see those instead.
- Mary Hughes
Why was this great film broadcast with English dubbed in instead of the original language and subtitles? This totally ruined it for me and for many others. I have yet to see a film that was improved by dubbing it in English. Fortunately I've seen it several times the way it was meant to be seen so I know how moving the film actually is.
- Jason Callen
TCM is usually so great about showing the best print of a movie in it's theatrical aspect ratio so I was disappointed to see them broadcast a really poor pan and scan version of Contempt (especially since they use the Criterion Collection cover art here).