Ben Crandall, an alien-obsessed kid, dreams one night of a circuit board. Drawing out the circuit, he and his friends Wolfgang and Darren set it up, and discover they have been given the ... See full summary »
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
After an in-flight anti-gravity striptease (masked by the film's opening titles), Barbarella, a 41st century astronaut, lands on the planet Lythion and sets out to find the evil Durand Durand in the city of Sogo, where a new sin is invented every hour. There, she encounters such objects as the Exessive Machine, a genuine sex organ on which an accomplished artist of the keyboard, in this case, Durand Durand himself, can drive a victim to death by pleasure, a lesbian queen who, in her dream chamber, can make her fantasies take form, and a group of ladies smoking a giant hookah which, via a poor victim struggling in its glass globe, dispenses Essance of Man. You can't help but be impressed by the special effects crew and the various ways that were found to tear off what few clothes our heroine seemed to possess. Based on the popular French comic strip. Written by
This is eye candy from start to finish-- *including* one of the most baroque title sequences ever concocted (long before digital technology made this kind of playful titling standard). It's Franco-Italian design all the way through, a celebration of petroleum products and the best of the lava lamp aesthetic. Hard to tell if it's a parody of sci-fi or a parody of porn, or same difference is probably the point. There are some very stylized, sadomasochistic uses of Jane Fonda's long legs, at the same time that Fonda delivers the wittiest lines, in a very witty screenplay by Terry Southern (of Doctor Strangelove fame): "Decrucify my angel immediately!" (Kids, see if you can spot the Chucky in this 1968 precursor.) Skeptics should stay the course to learn what Duran Duran has to do with Barbarella. And Barbarella with the Black Queen. And the Black Queen with the Rolling Stones. And if you don't know what camp is, then you have to see Barbarella: even if the film is more sublime than camp, a kind of psychedelic Brechtian fantasia. (If that's not a contradiction in terms, then this isn't on my sci-fi shortlist.) One to own, to watch again and again.
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