In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_office_christmas_party

Office Christmas Party

Another reminder that allowing your cast to madly improvise instead of actually providing a coherent script with a scintilla of inherent logic often leads to…

Thumb_harry_benson_shoot_first

Harry Benson: Shoot First

The filmmakers are themselves too celebrity besotted to comment in a meaningful way on how Benson’s career balanced depictions of the rich and famous with…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

Candy

  |  

"Candy" inspires contradictory feelings. On the one hand, it's a lot better than you might expect, with scenes and lines of high comedy. On the other hand, it lacks the pure anarchy, the abandon, of Terry Southern's novel. There's something wacky about using restraint in a satire on pornography.

Advertisement

Still, "Candy" avoids some obvious hazards. When you look at the cast -- Burton, Brando, Ringo, Matthau, Coburn and everybody -- you dread it'll turn out to be another "Casino Royale" (1967) with lots of names mugging the camera and then disappearing into the void.

That doesn't happen, except with Ringo, who didn't get much of a role. The others are allowed time to build up characterizations, and they do a pretty good job. Richard Burton is especially effective as McPhisto, a sort of Welsh metaphysical who always has the wind blowing in his hair even when it isn't blowing in anyone else's.

The plot is fairly simple, and (as the ads say) it's more or less faithful to the book. Candy (Ewa Aulin) caroms from one man to another like a nympho in a pinball machine, and the characters she encounters are improbable enough to establish Terry Southern's boredom with the conventions of pornography.

Advertisement

Walter Matthau has the best sequence, as a right-wing general who has been flying around for years with a handpicked group of zombies. James Coburn does his "Our Man Flint" routine as a doctor this time, keeping his cool while performing a particularly ghoulish operation on Candy's father. Brando isn't very successful as a guru who travels around in a trailer truck. But the idea is good.

There are also some good things in the script by Buck Henry, who wrote "The Graduate" and is the latest author to struggle with the screenplay of "Catch-22." A lot of Henry's lines are lost in the general confusion, but there's a very nice little bit involving an underground filmmaker who records thousands of people saying "no."

One who doesn't, of course, is Candy, and the real discovery of this movie is Ewa Aulin. She is fetchingly healthy, unaffected, charming. Her task is essentially to stand around wide-eyed and naive, but she does that with composure enough to suggest she might make a sexpot-comedienne combination on the order of Stella Stevens or even Marilyn Monroe.

Advertisement

Popular Blog Posts

Why Critics Should See Bad Movies

A piece on the experience gained from seeing bad movies.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Unloved, Part 36: "Lisztomania"

For the 36th installment in his video essay series about maligned masterworks, Scout Tafoya examines Ken Russell's "L...

Racism, Religion and Remembering Pearl Harbor

Remember Pearl Harbor and remember how prejudice shaped history.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus