Sunday, October 17, 2010

Delectable Blonde 'Candy' Wears Out Film Welcome

"Candy," directed by Christian Marquand, starring Ewa Aulin, Richard Burton, Marlon Brando, and the telephone book. At Loew's Ohio and University City Cinemas.

Lantern Staff Writer

"Candy," as readers of the book know, is a delectable blonde teenager whose heart contains a bounty of love she is willing to share with poets, gardeners, hunchbacks, and gurus, and, if the truth were known, perhaps with department store mannequins and Lantern reviewers. In the book, she wore out her welcome after about 40 pages; in the movie, she manages to be mildly amusing for nearly 60 of her 123 minutes until she becomes a victim of the over-indulgence (in everything) which she is satirizing.

Buck Henry (who collaborated on "The Graduate") has written a script whose lines are responsible for the scattering of good laughs "Candy" contains. Unfortunately, when the plot goes astray in the second half, Henry is more to blame than anyone else.

Christian Marquand is a good actor who has never directed a motion picture before. Considering his inexperience, the unevenness of the script, and the film's obvious low budget ("Candy" is the cheapest-looking major movie I have seen this year), he has done an adequate job. However, adequacy is just not enough with such specialized material as "Candy"; Mike Nichols is probably the only director who could have really pulled it off.

As for the performances, two are truly memorable. One of these is Ewa Aulin in the all-important title role, and she could not be better. Miss Aulin is voluptuous, innocent, and super-stupid--everything a Candy should be. Almost as good is John Astin in dual roles as Candy's father and uncle.

James Coburn is reasonably funny as a surgeon and Walter Matthau is very funny as a super-patriot in the film's two best bits. Richard Burton's appearance and demeanor gets laughs, but his section about a Dylan Thomas-type is only so-so. Ringo Starr has little to do as the gardener, and Marlon Brando's accent keeps slipping.

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