American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
"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.
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.