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One of the most maligned of the all-star "anything goes" extravaganzas
typical of the late 1960s this time with pretensions towards satire
given its origins as a Terry Southern novel (here adapted for the
screen by Buck Henry, who also appears briefly as a lunatic) is not
too bad, actually (somewhat in the same vein as THE MAGIC Christian
 but slightly more entertaining), though it does run badly out of
steam two-thirds of the way in.
18-year old Swedish "newcomer" Ewa Aulin plays the naïve but well-meaning heroine who's taken advantage of by practically everyone she meets; actually, she had already appeared in two notable Italian movies both starring French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant Tinto Brass' DEADLY SWEET (1967; which I caught at the 2004 Venice Film Festival with its infamous director in attendance!) and Giulio Questi's DEATH LAID AN EGG (1968) and she would go on to star in two more worthwhile European movies which, incidentally, both feature Italian actress Lucia Bose' Romolo Guerrieri's THE DOUBLE (1971) and Jorge Grau's BLOOD CASTLE (1973; with which I'm unfamiliar myself) before bailing out of the film industry altogether to become a teacher!
The impressive supporting cast includes (in order of appearance): John Astin who has the triple roles of Aulin's father, a hellish vision of same and her uncle; a somewhat embarrassing Richard Burton is MacPhisto, a poet-teacher (with wind forever blowing in his face) who is worshipped like a rock star by his students and whom the script requires to lick champagne off the glass-plated floor of his limousine and make love to an inflatable doll!; Ringo Starr's role isn't clearly defined but he seems to be the Christians' Mexican gardener (could he have been the inspiration for FAWLTY TOWERS' Manuel?); Elsa Martinelli is Aulin's promiscuous aunt; Walter Matthau the general commandeering a paratrooping outfit; James Coburn a celebrated surgeon; Anita Pallenberg his jealous nurse/lover; John Huston a colleague/rival of Coburn's; Charles Aznavour a hunchback criminal with a penchant for magic tricks (climbing and moving along walls or literally diving into a mirror just like in a Jean Cocteau film); Marlon Brando as an Indian guru who practices his meditation aboard a truck rambling throughout America; also in the cast as a couple of Starr's whip-wielding sisters were Euro-Cult favorites Florinda Bolkan and Marilu' Tolo.
The film is most notorious perhaps for being one of Brando's weirdest acting choices during his lean years; then again, it seems that his presence was pivotal in securing the film its backing (he was friends with director/former actor Marquand who, unsurprisingly, never again stepped behind the camera); still, the best and lengthiest 'episode' is the one featuring Coburn, Pallenberg and Huston (in which Astin and Martinelli also turn up) while Enrico Maria Salerno was hilarious as an obsessive cine-verite' film-maker who, when asked a question by a police officer, replies: "Who directed it?" and later even films himself as he is passing out! Frankly, one of the minor pleasures I derived from the film was the surprising appearance of the smaller scale actors Bolkan, Tolo, Pallenberg and Salerno among such Hollywood and European luminaries.
Offering psychedelic visuals and a terrific rock score by Dave Grusin (abetted by songs by such modish rock bands as Steppenwolf and The Byrds who provide the very likable "Child Of The Universe"), CANDY moves at a fairly brisk pace but, at 124 minutes and with no plot to speak of, it eventually grows tiresome. The visually striking two-minute opening sequence (created by Douglas Trumbull!) alludes to the fact that Candy is less a real character than a concept an alien embodiment of the carnal desires in man and the Fellini-esquire ending, grouping all the characters in a circus-like setting, only serves to bring the whole thing full circle. Ultimately, film critic John Simon's memorable dismissal of CANDY is perhaps unjustified but worth mentioning here nevertheless: "As an emetic, liquor is dandy, but CANDY is quicker"! Curiousy enough, CANDY and Otto Preminger's even more misguided SKIDOO (1968; which preceded this viewing) opened within days of one another; I wonder just what current audiences made of either of them...
Unfortunately, my experience with the film was further marred by the fact that the audio on the copy I watched went badly out-of-synch around the 90-minute mark (thus including Brando's entire segment)...and no matter what I tried usually, playing the same scene over again would fix the problem I couldn't get it to work properly!
OK, so you probably heard a lot of bad stuff about this movie before even watching it. So have I, and after watching it, I realized that people just didn't get it. This movie is a "British parody" and the humor in it is top-notch. The script is simple, but funny. No wonder so many famous people wanted to do this movie: Brando, Richard Burton, Ringo Starr, Coburn... Why? It allows these actors to revel in the absurd while pocking fun at a bunch of taboo topics. This movie in 1968 was way ahead of its time and I would compare it to the fun I had watching the Austin Powers one (w/the 60's plot). Basically this movie is for those who enjoy absurd jokes and funny situational humor. It is very worthwhile in that respect. If you are looking for plot or deep acting look elsewhere. Although it is not a 100-jokes-a-minute kind of movie, it has many enjoyable moments. As far as comedy genre goes I give it a 7/10 with 8.5 for originality and 6.0 for execution.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Not so good. The premise is simple enough, and it came pretty close to working in the novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg: take Voltaire's Candide and set it in 60s America, with an innocent girl in place of the innocent young man, and, of course, make sex the central matter. The novel's Candy is led farther and farther into lovemaking because she embodies sympathy. This sympathy involves sensing the need men have for her without ever really understanding it, and so the joke is, apparently, that she has sex with various men because she misunderstands their lust for a deeper spiritual needand this, the novelists suggest, is itself the essence of male sexuality: the wish for a compliant, innocent beauty. It's complicated satire, because at the same time it promotes and mocks arousal. Does the movie do this? No. The movie offers a series of comic bits, each featuring more or less great actors, encountering Candy: Richard Burton as the poet McPhisto, Ringo Starr as the Mexican gardener Emmanuel, James Coburn as the surgeon Dr. Krankheit, Walter Matthau as General Smight, Charles Aznavour as the hunchback, and Marlon Brando as the guru Grindl. Other parts: Anita Pallenberg, John Huston, John Astin, and Sugar Ray Robinson. The title part is played by Ewa Aulin, a young Swedish actress who's in over her head. She's pretty enough, but hardly subtlemore of a blank slate. The story, with a screenplay by Buck Henry, is mostly a picaresque sort of romp, with skits going on too long, so that the movie, despite its billing, is neither very sexy nor very funny. It's as if it were aiming for a sexier subject matter but a similar satirical approach as Dr. Strangelove, but it misses the mark nearly all the time.
Could have been made by Kubrick, and if it had been, everyone would be
saying what an insightful view of humanity it is.
Like so many of Kubrick's films, Candy shows how no matter WHAT high-sounding excuses men give for their actions, they are really just animals seeking power, status, and mainly, sex. As someone else here said, Candy shows how men are devious and conniving creatures who will try every dirty trick in the book to get into the pants of an attractive young girl.
I only wish I could know what Kubrick thought of this film. I bet he liked it. I know I did.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
(Slight spoiler ahead)
I rented this movie to finally see the "forbidden fruit" I was fascinated by in 1968 but couldn't partake in. I shouldn't have worried - the Legion was right in rating this movie "condemned." This is a bad movie that's just plain bad.
Its style is something you see in late '60s films and certain foreign movies - throw everything at the wall and hope some of it sticks. For those of you who are wondering how much you will see of its admittedly attractive star, not much. She spends the last five minutes of the movie wrapped in a bedsheet. But reflecting how much of a tease the whole film was, it never drops.
This is one of those movies that's not for everyone. But for those of you that enjoy a truly off-beat film this is it. The film stars some very big stars, in roles they probably would like to rethink taking. But having said that, it was worth the price of the film to see Marlon Brando as psychedelic guru whose temple is in the back of an 18 wheeler. And thats just one of the odd characters in this film. I really enjoyed this the first time I saw it in the theater in 1969, and again when I found the DVD in 2001. But it's definitely a niche' film. There's a lot of people who would hate this kind of film
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This complete farce ain't even worth gettin' high for! I wanted to love this movie, but this is one o' those late sixties fin de siecle movies (i.e. Dennis Hopper's "The Last Movie") where the filmmakers glommed on to a bit of a budget and decided to buy a bunch of drugs and "push the boundaries" of conventional film, only to fail miserably. Fun, though, for watching what all the somewhat long in the tooth and out of favor guest stars were willing to do to stay "hip". And stay tuned 'til the end for Marlon Brando's bit and the awesome title song by the Byrds. That's doesn't qualify as a spoiler, does it?
This film is funny and very good in general for light cinema. Some shots
clever as well as for Ewa Aulin's acting... as an innocent blonde sexy
through the whole film...some acting scenes are hilarious. Too bad she
had the chance to become known for her work. In all i rate this movie a
7...not more because the ending is a little odd for me...go watch it for
This is absolutely the best movie of all time. So much more is going on than is apparent; I mean with all of the music and flowers and people and wild action. Wow. It made me feel a different emotion for every frame...
I've waited 30 years to see this again and almost gave up on finding it!. I have never read Voltaire's "Candide", or Terry Southern's novel "Candy" but I do find this a marvellous parody of the late 60's culture. It is also a great illustration of the fact that, no matter how cerebral men get, show us a pretty girl and we become jibbering idiots! This is not a film that changed cinematic history but will always be one of my favourites from my college years.
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