DON JUAN . . .
Home Vision Ent., $29.95
SOMETIMES the mail delivers the extras-laden new DVDs we ask for; other times it disgorges oddball titles we've never even heard of. Resorting to the latter pile (in the absence of anything better), Roger Vadim's 1973 Don Juan (Or If Don Juan Were a Woman) is an only slightly smutty curio from the tail end of the free-love era. Why Brigitte Bardot agreed to star in yet another titillation vehicle by her ex-husband is a mystery. How much titillation is actually provided? Little.
The rake's progress is related in flashbacks told to Jeanne's groovy priest-confessor (also her cousin). First she ruins a judge; then she cuckolds a vulgar businessman by bedding his nubile wife—Twiggy-like '60s gamine Jane Birken, frontally naked for a few quick glimpses. Bardot herself only bares a coy breast until—gasp!--sleeping with her cousin on the shag carpet of her underwater love den. She looks great, but their grappling's tame and clumsy, with furniture ࠬa Austin Powers blocking the view.
Don Juan is arguably a cult film containing a few minor pleasures: a riotously bad theme song; sensationally cheesy decor; crazy beatnik jazz clubs; Bardot's second-act perm making her look like Sally Struthers; Ensign Pulver's Robert Walker Jr. as a sensitive, Christlike musician with David Soul-like hair who sacrifices himself after one night of sheet music with Jeanne—well, you have to see it to believe it, which may be the entire point to releasing the movie on DVD. Don't say we didn't warn you.
DECEMBER also brings the DVD of Following, the exact and surprising first film by Memento's Christopher Nolan, with his commentary and a scene-reshuffling feature. Hedwig and the Angry Inch makes its much-anticipated debut, with some nice extras. For the kids, both Bill and Ted's movies arrive on disc, as does Scary Movie 2 (including censored gross-out scenes) and the considerably more girl-friendly, G-rated The Princess Diaries (also with extras). For grown-ups, a better gift would be Billy Wilder's 1957 Witness for the Prosecution, with wonderful Marlene Dietrich and Charles Laughton.