Night Games (1980 film)

Night Games is a 1980 erotic thriller film directed by Roger Vadim. It was released in France as Jeux de Nuit.[1]

Night Games
Directed byRoger Vadim
StarringCindy Pickett
Joanna Cassidy
Music byJohn Barry
Production
company
Pan Pacific
Distributed byAvco Embassy
Golden Harvest
Release date
1980
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

The film stars Cindy Pickett as a woman still traumatised after being raped as a teenager, and is unable to have a satisfactory sex life with her husband, who eventually leaves her. Left alone in a large house, Valerie drifts into sexual fantasies, while facing danger from another potential rapist.

Joanna Cassidy also stars, as Valerie's best friend. The film was released on CED in 1983 and VHS in 1989, with a running time of 104 minutes. A subsequent DVD release has a running time of only 96 minutes.[2]

Cast

Production

Roger Vadim had previously made a number of provocative films, including And God Created Woman and Barbarella, whose respective stars Vadim also married, Brigitte Bardot and Jane Fonda.

He was going to make a vampire film starring an ex-girlfriend, Catherine Deneuve, but postponed it to make Night Games. Vadim said he was "looking for a new Vivien Leigh, about 27 years old" to star in the film.[3]

Part of the funding came from the Philippines and some of the movie was shot there.[4] Other funding came from Raymond Chow of Golden Harvest.[5]

Pickett was a relative unknown when Vadim cast her for Night Games, best known for appearing for three years on Guiding Light. "I went away from the experience transformed", said Pickett. "Vadim has the power to make an actor feel so good about himself, and when that happens you grow. It's part of his magic."[6]

Pickett later recalled:

Vadim had to fight to get me into the picture. Chow had wanted someone with long hair and a big bosom – another Bardot, presumably. And here I was with short hair and a boyish figure. Vadim had to explain that fashions had changed since the Bardot era. And in the end, Chow accepted this.[7]

Pickett and Vadim dated during the making of the film but the relationship ended when the film did.[7]

Reception

This film was neither a commercial nor critical success, and Pickett went on to become one of the stars of an American television series set in a hospital, St. Elsewhere, and as the title character's mother in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

"I was probably in every press release that year", said Pickett. " The London press was so cruel. One article ran a headline, 'Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda... Picket??'"[8]

Pickett later reflected:

Perhaps the film would've done better if they'd used someone different – a Bo Derek for example. Because people did go to see Vadim's latest discovery and obviously I wasn't the sort of person they expected. The film was a disappointment, too. It was supposed to be a psychological thriller, but it wound up as a soft porn film. That wasn't Vadim's fault; he didn't have final cut. Many of my best scenes were cut out altogether. When I saw the finished version I knew it would do nothing for me. Nobody would walk away impressed. In fact, not many would even sit through the picture, which was a pity because my best work came at the end. I was sorry not just for myself but also for Vadim. I wanted it to work for him.[7]

Pickett said she was never meant to be typed as a sex goddess. "I didn't have the body for it", she said.[8]

References

  1. "CINEMA 'Games' dull, stupid or merely self-indulgent?". The Canberra Times. 15 September 1981. p. 13. Retrieved 3 January 2015 via National Library of Australia.
  2. https://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B000SQC7IE/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1 (Retrieved 18 December 2012)
  3. "'Capricorn? Pays the Feed Bills". Los Angeles Times. 11 May 1978. p. g23.
  4. "Tom Jones and the Green Grass of TV". Los Angeles Times. 30 July 1978. p. 42.
  5. Thomas, Kevin (15 July 1979). "CHOW: ASIA'S GOOD PROVIDER OF FILMS: RAYMOND CHOW". Los Angeles Times. p. o37.
  6. "A Flock of Money for Sheppard: RODERICK MANN". Los Angeles Times. 11 Oct 1979. p. g23.
  7. Mann, Roderick (27 Jan 1981). "INDY PICKETT: A BARDOT SHE'S NOT". Los Angeles Times. p. g1.
  8. Sanello, Frank (21 May 1989). "Pickett grapples with an 'issue' role in 'Steven'". Chicago Tribune. p. I3.
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