March 28, 2000 at 05:00 AM EST

The Brigitte Bardot Collection

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Brigitte Bardot

Brigitte Bardot has always been more famous for being Brigitte Bardot than for being a great actress. But as The Brigitte Bardot Collection shows, she was more than just her generation’s most sensual sex symbol. Whether flinging herself into a nightclub brawl in ”Naughty Girl” (1956), playing sleuth in ”Come Dance With Me” (1959), or feigning boredom during foreplay in ”Les Femmes” (1969), Bardot displays a comic flair that salvages so-so cinema. And in the courtroom drama ”The Truth” (excerpts from which are in this collection’s 1996 TV documentary ”Brigitte Bardot Take One”), she proved she could also do big emotions.

As for that celebrated sexuality, nothing here matches the tropical heat of ”And God Created Woman” (absent from this set). But there is a teasingly soft-focus fantasy sequence in ”Please Not Now!” (1961) during which Bardot does an undulating dance with only a hotel towel around her waist. That alone should reaffirm her screen-siren status for the video generation.

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