Candy is a 1968 sex farce film directed by Christian Marquand based on the 1958 novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, from a screenplay by Buck Henry. The film satirizes pornographic stories through the adventures of its naive heroine, Candy, played by Ewa Aulin. It stars Marlon Brando, Ewa Aulin, Ringo Starr, John Huston and Enrico Maria Salerno. Popular figures such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Anita Pallenberg, and Florinda Bolkan appear in cameo roles.
From Flick Fest:
When I started watching Candy I got a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach during the first 5 – 10 minutes. Ewa Aulin appeared as the titular girl and looked pretty enough but didn’t really seem like a great actress. John Astin was also onscreen so that was a plus. But would I be subjected to a couple of hours of trippy, dippy, hippy hijinks or would the film be something other than that? Thankfully, it was a great mixture of both and as soon as Richard Burton’s character turned up (a self-aggrandising poet named MacPhisto) I was laughing hard and ready to journey alongside the onscreen assortment of oddballs.
Based on a novel by Terry Southern (a loose adaptation of Voltaire’s Candide), Candy is directed by Christian Marquand and adapted for the screen by Buck Henry and both do a fantastic job.
The story concerns Candy and all who fall for her (which happens to be pretty much everyone) as she travels around with her father and her uncle (twins, both played by the great Astin). There’s the poet played by Burton, a Mexican gardener played by Ringo Starr, a half-baked military man played by Walter Matthau, a brilliant doctor played by James Coburn, Chalres Aznavour’s hunchback criminal, an artistically-minded film director and the mystical Grindl (played by Marlon Brando, showing a style of comedy that I never expected of him in a fantastic and fun performance). Then there’s the worrying lust that her uncle (identical to her father) has for her.
While Candy may, at times, feel like no more than a series of linked up skits it’s more cohesive and linear than something like The Magic Christian (another work based on Terry Southern’s writing) and more consistently entertaining and amusing. The script is full of many absolute gems and I must say that I’m surprised to find that this isn’t used as an oft-quoted comedy goldmine, which it certainly is.
The performances are pretty inconsistent but the joy here is in watching the bigger star names have a hell of a lot of fun – Ringo Starr may not be the best actor here but he is not onscreen for as long as the great Burton or any of the other star players.
The character of Candy is so naïve that it borders on the dumb but this seems to have been played up for comic effect too (or, at least, that’s the way I like to view it) and works out just fine in the context of the lusty punchlines used for each segment.
With a finale that nicely allows the audience to catch up, if ever so briefly, with a favourite character or two, Candy proves to be a pleasant surprise after that unsure beginning and while there’s certainly an infusion of “The Age Of Aquarius” and free love to everything it’s all tempered by some sharp dialogue that’s delivered with relish by A-list stars of the 60s having an absolute blast.
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