Monday, July 05, 2010

Candy (1968)

Candy is a 1968 sex farce film directed by Christian Marquand based on the 1958 novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, from a screenplay by Buck Henry. The film satirizes pornographic stories through the adventures of its naive heroine, Candy, played by Ewa Aulin. Many established actors are featured in the film, and popular figures such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Anita Pallenberg and Florinda Bolkan appear in cameo roles.


High school student Candy (former Miss Teen Sweden Ewa Aulin) seemingly descends to Earth from space. In the relatively simple plot, she naively endures an escalating series of situations in which her oblivious allure triggers satirical porn-film-like encounters. Roger Ebert wrote, "Candy caroms from one man to another like a nympho in a pinball machine, and the characters she encounters are improbable enough to establish Terry Southern's boredom with the conventions of pornography."

In school, her father (John Astin) is also her teacher. At a poetry recital, eccentric poet MacPhisto (Richard Burton) offers Candy a ride home in his limousine. At her home, MacPhisto drunkenly waxes boisterously poetic, arousing Candy and her gardener Emanuel (Ringo Starr) into sex. Scandalized, her family sends her to private school, where she embarks on a psychedelic journey during which she meets a number of strange people, including a sex starved military general (Walter Matthau), a doctor who performs public operations (James Coburn), a hunchback (Charles Aznavour) and a fake Indian guru (Marlon Brando). As the film ends, she continues to cavort with other people plus some of the characters she met in the film, followed by her return to outer space.

Screen Debut

This was the film acting debut of then Beatle Ringo Starr, who followed with a series of movie roles through the '60s, '70s and '80s, while he continued his music career.


Candy was one of many psychedelic movies that appeared as the 1960s ended, along with Yellow Submarine, The Trip, and Head. The film opened to a poor box office result, but later became a cult classic from the psychedelic years of film. Reviews were generally positive with a few misgivings: the film rates 80% at the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator. In a review representative of most professional reviewers at the time, Roger Ebert found it "a lot better than you might expect" but missed the "anarchy, the abandon, of Terry Southern's novel." Renata Adler decried "its relentless, crawling, bloody lack of talent."


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