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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_oax1ohn3ltgrf3vlh5ff28w0yjn

Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

Thumb_hkvkhuuugjj4jrxkkvqoq5jnqx5

Annie

The new version of "Annie" is fashionably artificial and not very well directed, but its unabashed good cheer is very welcome.

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…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel 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.

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.

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.

Popular Blog Posts

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 Ten Best Films of 2014

The ten best films of 2014, as chosen by the film critics of RogerEbert.com.

10 Underrated Female Performances of 2014

Ten underrated female performances from 2014 worthy of Oscar consideration.

More on That Later: The Truth About “Serial”

Some thoughts on the hit podcast "Serial".

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus