Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Serge Gainsbourg, B.B. and Bonnie & Clyde (again)

The year was 1967, Serge Gainsbourg had landed the job of writing and directing a few musical numbers for Le Bardot Show. A working relationship very quickly developed into a series of steamy romantic liaisons, much to the chagrin of every other Frenchman opening his copy of France Soir to see paprazzi snaps of their divine B.B. arm-in-arm with her frog prince, whom she nicknamed “gueule d’amour” or “love face”.

Their courtship didn’t all run smoothly for the louche, chain-smoking Serge, though: After a disastrous early-date, Bardot sent him packing, and requested that, by way of penance, he write her “the most beautiful love song you can imagine”.
He came crawling back the next day, bleary-eyed, a Gitane between his lips and a glint in his eye. A sleepless night had yielded not one, but two, love songs: Bonnie and Clyde, and Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus (watch this fantastic clip!).
Gainsbourg based the lyrics to 
Bonnie and Clyde on The Story of Bonnie and Clyde (The Trail's End) a poem written by (the real) Bonnie Parker.

Gainsbourg and Bardot duetted as the heroes/villains, having apparently hi-jacked Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway’s wardrobe from the film of the same name (released in August 1967).
Mise en scène: a dingy hideout; Serge skulks furtively in the shadows, with a shoulder-holster and a cigarette; Bardot smolders, all panda-eyed in beret, maxi-jupe and bobbed wig, a tommy-gun perched on her knee.

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