Candy, based on the naughty, notorious erotic satire by Terry Southern, whose wicked pen contributed to Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider (among other '60s classics), and adapted for the screen by the sly Buck Henry (The Grad... more »uate and Catch 22), is a bizarre second-hand reconfiguration of Candide for the permissive '60s. Swedish teen beauty queen Ewa Aulin is Candy, all breathy, wide-eyed innocence as a curvy blond kewpie doll--think Lolita, Barbarella, and Baby Spice all rolled into one--whose naiveté lands her in the sack with one dirty old man after another on a sexual odyssey. Guest cads include Ringo Starr as an embarrassingly unconvincing Mexican gardener; James Coburn preening as a surgeon who puts the "theater" into his operating theater; Walter Matthau as a snarling, insane general; and French crooner Charles Aznavour as a humpbacked spider man. Richard Burton stands out as a soused, sex-mad poet with an ever-present wind machine dramatically blowing his hair, and Marlon Brando's phony guru with a seductive line of mystic patter is downright hysterical. Despite luscious cinematography by longtime Fellini collaborator Guiseppe Rotunno and gorgeous opening and closing sequences of space flight by Douglas Trumbull, this clumsy misfire has all the cutting satire of a Monkees episode and only half the style. Director Christian Marquand lets the film ramble interminably while his cast mercilessly mugs their way through ill-conceived roles (except Aulin, who remains a passive, almost alien presence in the center of the chaos). The result is a sloppy all-star sex farce with blunt, misdirected attempts at social topicality buried in teasing peekaboo pinup photography and sexual romps, pleasing enough eye candy but hardly the erotic, satirical, transgressive portrait the picture promises. --Sean Axmaker« less
"This movie was made in the year I was born, so it's gotta be good right? Right. I must admit I was curious, not only because it starred Ewa Aulin, whom I'd first seen in Joe D'Amato's Death Smiles On A Murderer, but it co-starred John Astin, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, Walter Matthau, and Charles Aznavour! What a lineup!It turns out that those five all play exaggerated cariacatures of their roles, the uncle (Astin), a mystic who travels across the country in the back of a diesel truck (Brando), a drunken poet who struts like a rock star and whose hair blows constantly as if having a personal wind machine around him (Burton), a surgeon whose operating theatre is like an actual theatre, complete with audience looking down at his performance (Coburn), a general who has been airborne without the company of women for way too long, and a hunchback (Aznavour), all of them trying to score with Candy.The opening scene is a true stunner--the appearance of a ball of heavenly light in outer space, the scene shifting to various galaxies, with the heavenly light coming to the familiar blue-green planet of Earth. The camera then pans along a desert, a stretch of cracked earth, and then the ball of light materializes into a covered white sheet. The sheet unfurls to reveal our beautiful heroine--Candy Christian, who gazes at the camera with a dazed but sensual look. She gives us the briefest glimmer of a smile, nothing more.While the next scene revealed that she was in her father's class daydreaming and that she was an Earth girl, I kind of wonder if she was an extraterrestrial, and that scene told of her arrival to Earth. The Byrds' "Child Of The Universe" playing over the closing credits also lend credence to that theory.The 60's rock guitar score provides a bit of nostalgia, of a style of music and movies that bely a period long gone. And Candy predates Star Wars by nine years in having only the opening titles without launching into the credits.Standout scenes--In the hunchback's hideout, the hunchback's friends douse them with pillow feathers (ground shot looking up) while they are making love on a piano (ground shot), whose strings ring with a discordant sound provide a psychedelic moment. And the various of bogus mystic Grindle (Brando), as he and Candy bend themselves into awkward sexual yoga positions, with the sheets squirming amoeba-like inbetween each position change. His parable of the pig and the flower seems a cynical denunciation of the classic princess and frog fairy story.Candy is the most decent of all the characters in that movie. If she isn't being accosted by all these males trying to get into her pants--including her own uncle (!!), she is arrested by a pair of Mutt and Jeff cops, verbally abused by other females (e.g. the doctor's mother, disguised as a cleaning lady, or the doctor's chief nurse and chief piece of skirt, who is jealous of her). The sick twist ending in the book is diluted somewhat in the movie, but it's there nevertheless. Then there's the final scene of her walking among the people who took or tried to take advantage of her in the scene not unlike a convention held by the Society of Creative Anachronisms, with her pure white virginal robe gaining a flower print and her head gaining a crown of flowers. Were the flowers a symbol not of love but of the stains of "human beings" that soiled her, or did the flowers stand for the universal love she believed in? And with the starfield scene reappearing at the closing credits, did Candy turn back into that ball of light and set out across the universe for somewhere more civilized than this sick planet Earth, where she was besmirched over and over?Finally, I'm sick and tired of reading all these negative things about Ewa Aulin. Okay, so she looks like rape-bait with that innocent look and short skirt, speaks like she was drinking Nyquil like it was Coca Cola, and eyes that alternate between being drooped as a result of said Nyquil and that deer-caught-in-the-headlights look. The point is, she succeeds as that well-meaning idealist or alien who truly believed in that idea of giving freely of oneself. After one look at that dazed sensual gaze, all I want to do is just hold her in my arms and tell her I love her for what she is."
A serious movie that nobody seems to get.
Daniel J. Hamlow | 01/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Candy Christian is the blonde, blue eyed embodyment of Hollywood's image of female beauty. And, of course, everyone wants to score with her for all the wrong reasons. In the case of Ringo Starr as the Mexican gardener, it is for ethnic or economic revenge. In the case of the General, it is to breed the master race. And each of the others has his own axe to grind. It turns out that no one wants Candy for her individual qualities. They want her so they can make a statement, or because she is what Hollywood has instructed them that they should want.The untimate irony of the movie is that she (and by implication anyone else) who conforms to the Hollywood image of female beauty and is seeking romance is doomed.The genius of this movie is that such an edgy message - one that is easier to ignore than to recognize and bring up to the conscious level - is so well concealed in the medium of the very kind of mindless and plotless sex comedy which so frequently exploits the very same image."
Dated, but still lots of fun
audrey | white mtns | 01/26/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This satire, based on Terry Southern's novel of the same name, does not have the book's bite and is dated, but it is still loads of fun, with a tremendous cast and crew. As a matter of fact, probably the only principal you will not know is the star -- Swedish teen model Ewa Aulin, who is absolutely stunning (in a blonde naive pouty way) in her acting debut. Everyone else is quite recognizable -- Richard Burton as the narcissistic poet with a giant need, Ringo Starr as a Mexican gardener with political issues, James Courn as an ego-driven surgeon, John Astin as the lecherous uncle, Walter Matthau as a megalomaniacal general, Charles Aznavour as a physically handicapped criminal and Marlon Brando as a guru travelling in the back of a semi. (If it sounds bizarre, that's because it is!) The crew is nothing to sneeze at, either, wih Doug Trumbull (Blade Runner) on special effects, Fellini cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno behind the camera, Buck Henry writing the script, and Dave Grusin (with the help of The Byrds and Steppenwolf) writing the music. Unfortunately the weak link is director Christian Marquand, who rarely seems in control of his actors or the action.I'm puzzled about the film's advertising, which asks "Is Candy faithful? Only to the book!" because it seems inappropriate to ask if Candy is faithful to anyone here. Rather, she is continually and persistently accosted by older men who abuse her trusting and giving nature in order to use her body. How can she be faithful to lechers who want one-night stands? It seems that the marketing guys are using poor Candy too!The film is definitely flawed but marvelously entertaining in a time-warp-ish way. Aulin is just beautiful, and it's great fun to watch Burton and Brando and all the rest ham it up. If Marquand had had a better grip on things, this could have been a classic. As it is, it's a curiosity that will probably entice you to read the book and look for other Aulin films!The dvd has decent extras including: a trailer, radio spots, stills and interesting cast & crew bios."
It's about time!
alvy42 | Bowling Green, Ohio United States | 04/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first saw this film about 20 years ago on some pay channel, and have been waiting to see it again ever since. Okay, so it is far from the best film ever made, but does that always matter? Not to me. This is simply a fun movie. Overloaded with an amazing 'who's who' cast, a gorgeous heroine and an outstanding soundtrack (which I searched for at record shows and finally found) this film is the 60's incarnate. A silly, sexy, swinging good time. The limited edition DVD comes in a cool tin case and has a set of cards with comments and rememberances from most of the major cast members. It's a treat!"
Still crazy after all these years...
S. C. Dixon Photography | Emporia,, ks USA | 07/23/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Candy is a mad movie and, after all these years, it is still a hoot! I'm not sure of its appeal to anyone under the age of 40, but for the 60's generation it truly is a swing down memory lane.The film was considered outrageous in its day but it seems pretty tame by "modern' standards. Ringo Starr received good reviews when the movie was released but in retrospect his performance is almost embarrassingly poor. But the incongruous cameos by a few of the biggest stars of the day are a great part of the film's appeal. (Remember, this was one of the first "X" rated films to be seen in wide release and, goodness, there were FAMOUS people involved!)Sir Richard Burton is riotous as are Marlon Brando, Walter Matthau and James Coburn, but the cohesive bond in the whole plot is the dual performance by John Astin who portrays Candy's stuffed-shirt father as well as her lecherous uncle, Jack. And, not too surprisingly, Ewa Aulin is still ravenously beautiful as the naive nymphet, Candy!Another shining attribute is Dave Grusin's soundtrack, very 60's, no doubt, but in the end it actually holds up better than film. Songs and incidental pieces by The Byrds and Steppinwolf sound fresh and invigorating.Younger people who want to experience a glimpse of the 60's "counter-culture" would do well to start with this trifling sweet, Candy!"