Le vice et la vertu (1963) Poster

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Romantic muse to Pasolini's Salo
Rod Evan11 December 2002
Anybody who has seen Pasolini's 'Salo' will realise that Pasolini owed a debt to Vadim as the similarities in certain sections of the film are perfectly obvious. The key scene in relation to 'Salo' is when the 'victims' enter the chateau and once they are in the chateau suffer the same sort of torments as in Pasolini's film.

The basic difference between the two films is that despite the horrific subject matter Vadim retains a sense of romanticism which Pasolini rejected. It is a great pity this film is not more widely available on video as it is beautifully shot in scope with a delirious score that mixes Gotterdammerung with 'Les Parapluies de Cherbourg'!

The acting, especially from Annie Girardot is exemplary. You can see why this actress gave a such a terrific performance recently in 'La Pianiste'. It was however one of Deneuve's first roles and like all her early films she was not at her best, but clearly decorative.

A 'must-see' film for all those film lovers who have appreciated the likes of 'The Night Porter' and Visconti's 'The Damned'.

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Pasolini owes nothing to Vadim!
dbdumonteil9 September 2003
Outside the fact that both works ("le vice et la vertu" and "salo' ) take place during WW2,it's absolutely impossible to compare an auteur like Pasolini to a mediocre third-rate drudge whose works have not worn well at all:"And God created woman" and the first version of "les liaisons dangereuses" are dated old hat stuff.

Vadim's movie is entertaining,if it's not taken literally:it's a farce which recalls erotic comics of the sixties,particularly the scenes in the baroque castle where Hossein and Girardot give the victims (including the latter's clueless sister Justine-Deneuve- and the future Bond villainess Luciana Paluzzi) a rough time .

Pasolini's work will hurt you,shock you,leave you completely depressed and exhausted .Vadim's will make you laugh ,and wonder why all these talented actors got lost is this masquerade.
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Vadim's Axis allegory falls somewhere between SALO and ILSA
melvelvit-18 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Although both had been published separately nearly a decade before, the Marquis De Sade's "Justine, Or The Misfortunes Of Virtue" and "Juliette, Or The Prosperity Of Vice" were combined in a ten-volume set during the French Revolution (1797) and promptly banned for the next two hundred years or so. In "Justine", the heroine's "resistance to 'things as they are', in her incorrigible unwillingness or her inability to learn the lessons of the world...a world ruled by laws of wickedness, where only crime pays, where there are only victims and tyrants, the latter always right and the former wrong perforce -in this, the given and the possible world, Justine's virtue is unreasonable and unreasoning: It is not miscalculation, it is aberration". Her tormentors think she's mad and are fascinated by her, seeing Justine as "something irreducible, something insurgent and unconquerable...and even more troubling than all the barbarities she undergoes." Justine's sister Juliette, on the other hand, is just the opposite and prospers accordingly.

In Roger Vadim's VICE & VIRTUE, Juliette (Annie Girardot), the amoral French mistress of a Nazi general assassinated for treason, gives herself to his executioner, SS Oberführer Schörndorf (Robert Hossein), and together they flee Paris for Berlin as the Allies approach. Juliette's sister, Justine (Catherine Deneuve), meanwhile, is married to a Resistance fighter and when he's arrested, she's also taken into custody and consigned to the Commandery, a remote Austrian chalet used as a secret pleasure palace for the Nazi elite. When Berlin falls, Juliette and her lover make their way to the Commandery, an "Alamo" where an unexpected reunion and a date with Destiny await...

Vadim's VICE & VIRTUE and Pier Paolo Passolini's SALO have the exact same premise: in the final daze of WW II, it's anything goes at a Fascist stronghold just before Allied Armageddon -but as striking as that is, the similarity ends there. Passolini's film remained thematically true to its clinically depraved source (Sade's "The 120 Days Of Sodom") while Vadim's is a romanticized, often operatic adaptation of "Justine/Juliette" that ends as a treatise on the wages of sin. Unfortunately, this is antithetical to De Sade's tenets and although V&V can stand on its own merits, it pales in comparison to SALO. Outside of the Comandery, the only thing in Vadim's oddly erotic opus faithful to its source is Oberführer Schörndorf, a Sadean superman (until the end, anyway) and a living embodiment of the Marquis' "Do as thou wilt" philosophy (a creed also adopted by Alestair Crowley for his Thelema religion). De Sade's magnum opus was published during the dark days of the French Revolution and certain parallels can be drawn between that tumultuous time and the fall of the Third Reich so re-imagining the tale in that era (with the SS elite as a secret society of sociopathic sybarites) was inspired and Vadim should get the credit for that. "The Commandary" in both the Vadim and the Pasolini are the "pleasure domes" where the elite can indulge their darkest desires but V&V only hints at what SALO makes explicit.


Unlike Pasolini, Vadim turns De Sade's philosophy on its ear: in V&V, the virtuous Justine is liberated from the Commandery by the Allies and the wanton Juliette is poisoned by her lover but in the books, it's Justine who dies and Juliette who's "liberated" -which is probably why there's no mention of the Marquis in the film's credits. Still, the subject matter was a fairly daring (for its time) "morality tale" even if its depiction was on the tame side. Come to think of it, ILSA: SHE- WOLF OF THE SS has the same premise as both the Vadim and the Pasolini and I'd say V&V falls somewhere between the blatant exploitation of ILSA and the more sober aspirations of SALO.
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"Those men don't know that it's by losing battles that you win the war."
morrison-dylan-fan20 May 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Talking to a fellow IMDber about Robert Hossein movies,I found out that Hossein had appeared in an all-star S & M flick by Roger Vadim.Due to this sounding like a rather unique flick,I decided that it was time to whip up a storm.

The plot-


Witnessing her lover get killed for treason, Justine Morand decides to become the lover of his assassin: SS Colonel Erik Schörndorf.As Morand and Schörndorf's antics start to heat up,Justine's sister Juliette discovers that her Resistance fighter husband has been arrested.Pressing for Schörndorf to free him,Justine and Juliette soon find themselves experiencing the last days of WWII by indulging in vice and virtue.

View on the film:

Kicking off with an air raid siren,co-writer/(along with Claude Choublier & Roger Vailland) director Roger Vadim and cinematographer Marcel Grignon leap over the word "subtle" with robust bombast,with Vadim looking into the eyes of the vicious SS in dazzling,reflecting mirror shots,and rolled out,vast tracking shots pulling up the last days of the Nazis.Giving the title an unexpected poetic quality with a deep black and white canvas soaked in shadows,Vadim disappointingly shows a timid side in taking on de Sade,with the amount of flesh and blood vice & virtue on show being minimal.

Slipping de Sade into WWII,the screenplay by Vadim/Choublier and Vailland spreads a slick Melodrama over the depravity,by melting the sex games inside the brothel with bubbling romance,with SS Colonel Erik Schörndorf standing Juliette as they drown in the unfolding liberation. Showing that he can still look super cool even when playing a psychotic Nazi,Robert Hossein gives a terrific performance as Schörndorf,whose stubborn refusal to seeing the end of his beloved SS on the horizon Hossein delivers with a real relish.Given different fates to de Sade's tale,the beautiful Annie Girardot and Catherine Deneuve both give excellent performances as Juliette,and Justine Morand,thanks to Girlardot wrapping Juliette in a breezy lightness,which is torn by the clinical,cold edges that Deneuve cuts Justine with,as Justine and Juliette explore their vice and virtues.
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Another take on the human condition
adrienna-677-73757630 May 2015
Roger Vadim opens this movie with a short introduction. He explains to viewers that this story uses history as a backdrop to explore human themes, and with that places himself with the likes of Shakespeare, who used the same method to explore the human condition.

This movie is much than the superficial elements of keeping sex slaves. It is a story of power, survival, opportunity, greed, lust, and love. WWII provides an ample setting for these human emotions to play itself out. Some viewers may not believe there is much love, yet this deserves more attention.

Love has many faces and is an emotion that bares its soul in a variety of ways, using broken and bitter people who, through circumstances from WWII, find themselves expressing love that is both crippled and heart wrenching.

Finally this movie questions other concepts, so important in war, such as camaraderie, patriotism, losing and winning, and how soldiers manage these additional pressures when confronted on a daily basis.

This is an intense movie, and although it can be confusing at times with so much Roger Vadim wants to say, he has shown considerable skill in trying to tie all these elements together.
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Vadim mark
Vincentiu22 February 2015
nothing bad or good. only a strange movie with an admirable cast and too high ambition. because it is a dark comedy with ambition of reflection about power. because it is chaotic and without a precise sense. a Vadim movie, far by profound purpose, nice for the presence of Girardot and Deneuve, a parable not real credible, strange dialogs and , in fact, only a confuse parable. the only sin - the ambition to be more than a Vadim film. to improvise a message who seems unclear and artificial. to do a serious film with fragile tools and a not inspired script. a castle and the end of a war. and Robert Hossein looking to save his character . nothing new.
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