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CHARLOTTE [La Jeune Fille Assassinée] (1974).

In the US, this EuroSlop was advertised like some type of upscale porno flick. Boy, the trenchcoat crowd must've been pissed off by this artsy, French-made snooze-a-rama. Of course, director Roger Vadim is best known for tres scandalous projects such as AND GOD CREATED WOMAN and BARBARELLA. And considering that he's spent his life schtupping international sexpots like Bardot, Deneuve, and (a pre-Ted Turner) Jane Fonda, you'd think that he would've learned something about eroticism in the process. Nope. An episode of THE GOLDEN GIRLS is sexier than this dreck. Vadim begins on the wrong foot by casting himself in the pivotal role of Georges, a famous author who wants to write a book on the murder of a pretty jet setter named Charlotte (Sirpa Lane, best known for Borowczyk's THE BEAST), after a pretentious young dimwit named Eric (Mathieu Carriere) nonchalantly admits to causing her death. In addition, there are flashbacks to Georges' own past with Charlotte, and how he deflowered her during her teenage years. (OK, now I can understand why bland Vadim would cast himself in this role.) Along the script's convoluted path, we get Eric's dull confessions of his dealings with Charlotte, and though the young lass is cute (and often nude), she's also an unlikable sort. A willful, needy tease who tosses a necklace into a river, noting that the pearls make the same ripples as vomit. Oh, this gal is a brainiac, all right. Hard to believe, the rest of the supporting snail-eaters are even worse, and you won't give a rat's ass about these clods. Still, they all speak of ditzy Charlotte like she was a goddess, just because they got to dip their wick in her. As Georges somnambulistically interviews people in Charlotte's life, we also get increasingly idiotic fragments of her sexual misadventures -- from decorating a penis like a Christmas tree, doing a striptease while dressed like a man, and never managing to climax. The punchline? Charlotte finally has an orgasm while being strangled, except it went a little too far. Hell, even back in the mid-'70s, this was a lame idea, and nowadays, it's just a USA Network movie with a little skin. At least there are a few laughs thanks to a queer film critic (Michel Duchaussoy) who Charlotte marries, and has lines like "I admire this film because it was made by imbeciles, for imbeciles." It's almost as if he'd been watching the dailies of this movie. This is all very French, very dull and very fetishistic. Any psychology is puddle-deep, and sex or not, I couldn't wait for this numbing, one-note flick to end. At least the film is well shot by Pierre-Willian Glenn (DAY FOR NIGHT, STREET OF NO RETURN), and features a score by Mr. Tubular Bells himself, Mike Oldfield.

© 1997 by Steven Puchalski.