Directed by Roger Vadim
Written by Claude Brulé
Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg
In the far future, a highly sexual woman is tasked with finding and stopping the evil Durand-Durand. Along the way she encounters various unusual people.
I have to admit, my only previous experience with Barbarella was sneaking a few minutes from HBO when my parents were in bed. At the time, I referred to this movie as Space Pussy to my friends, and I’m not convinced I was off by much. In the future, 41st century astronauts are sexually enlightened. Oh, and some scientist is kidnapped, sending Barbarella into a “plot” I suppose. Basically, it’s just a creative exercise in nudity. If anything, it was proof that sci-fi needed more tits. Somehow, Star Wars, Alien, and a host of other films were successful without the tna.
Jane Fonda was indeed “soft and warm” as winged angel, Pygar, describes in the film. Fonda played this role with such commitment and enthusiasm, that you can’t help but be entertained between nude scenes. Her air of innocence probably aided this film’s somewhat mixed reception. Enough people enjoyed this enough to push it into cult classic territory. By “enough people’, I mean horny dudes who gave it a free pass since it showcased Fonda’s rather exceptional beauty. No judgement – I just gave it a free pass as well.
Filled with bizarre scenery and characters, the filmmakers introduce us to things like the Excessive Machine, an organ, if played with enough skill, will cause death from sexual pleasure. Bad guy, Durand Durand, has those skills. Sogo, the space port Barbarella is trying to make it to, invents a new sin every hour. Factor in the lesbian queen that can make fantasies become reality, giant hookah pipes, and every manner of cheesy special effects that 1968 had to offer, and you’ll gladly spend 90 minutes watching. The score is par for the course, dripping with 60’s psychedelia and sexuality.
Overall, this transcended itself and stood the test of time, giving us a cheesy sexual sci-fi experience that all generations can enjoy for some reason or another. If you’re my age, you heard Duran Duran’s “Rio” with every mention of the film’s bad guy. For a second, I thought I’d convinced myself I was watching this for reasons other than the next impending sex scene. I was wrong. 🙂
Plus, it’s in letterbox!
And a little Duran Duran to cleanse the palette.