Sexy Barbarella roams 41st-century space with her blind guardian angel, Pygar. Directed by Roger Vadim; actors Jane Fonda, John Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O’Shea, David Hemmings, Marcel Marceau, Claude Dauphin
In this notorious film version of the popular French comic strip by Jean-Claude Forest, Jane Fonda plays a sexy yet innocent space-age heroine in the year 40,000 A.D. who never gets herself into a situation that requires too much clothing. BARBARELLA opens with the titular heroine stripping down to nothing in zero gravity among strategically placed credits. From there Barbarella embarks on a mission to find a peace-threatening young scientist named Duran Duran (Milo O’Shea) by order of the president of Earth. En route, she’s attacked by killer dolls, is strapped into a contraption known as the Excessive Machine, and falls in love with a blind angel. Continue reading
This 1980 attempt to cut in on the “midnight movie” market created by The Rocky Horror Picture Show has become a camp classic for all the wrong reasons. The Apple is fascinating because it takes a conceptual wrong turn at every angle: the ‘futuristic’ production design looks garish and cheap instead of sleek, the tone constantly veers back and forth between comedy and melodrama and the script is a mind-boggling muddle of religious overtones, heavy-handed “showbiz” satire and silly attempts at an anti-totalitarian message. The Apple’s serious intentions are further crippled by weak performances: George Gilmour makes a stone-faced, emotionally inert hero and Catherine Mary Stewart is too bland a romantic lead to inspire any interest in the film’s romantic subplot. The only actor who escapes unscathed is Vladek Sheybal, who applies a light comedic touch to the villainous Mr. Boogalow that escapes the rest of the cast. Despite these seemingly insurmountable flaws, The Apple remains surprisingly watchable if one has a taste for schlock: director Menahem Golan keeps up a speedy pace that delivers the film’s bizarre melange of mismatched elements at a breezy clip and the outrageous musical score delivers an unintentionally funny but always catchy musical number every few minutes. The finished product seldom makes sense but delivers so much sheer oddness at such a high speed that it is virtually impossible to be bored by this film. As a result, The Apple will probably baffle most viewers but trash devotees will find it to be a ‘schlock musical’ classic worthy of Can’t Stop The Music or Grease 2. ~ Donald Guarisco, All Movie Guide Continue reading
Symphony for a Sinner (1979) was a long, lavishly photographed color film generally considered the magnum opus of the class productions. New York critic and coauthor of Midnight Movies J. Hoberman would rank it as one of the ten best films of the year, while Stan Brakhage would call it “the ultimate class picture.” John Waters, who now visited George regularly whenever he passed through San Francisco, envied the lurid color photography and wanted George to shoot his next picture (which would have been Polyester and didn’t happen). Symphony, Waters said, had the look he craved for Desperate Living (1977). Continue reading
One of Roman Polanski’s lesser-known films, Che? (also known as What?) stars Sydne Rome as an attractive young hitchhiker who, as the film opens, accepts a ride from three men in a car, who later attempt to rape her. She escapes their clutches and makes her way to a mansion owned by millionaire Joseph Noblart (Hugh Griffith), who is overseeing a decadent party. Among the guests at his home are a pair of table-tennis players, a man with a harpoon (played by Polanski himself). Continue reading
Xanadu is a 1980 musical/romance film directed by Robert Greenwald. It is an unofficial remake of the 1947 film Down to Earth starring Rita Hayworth, as well as an unofficial sequel to the 1944 film Cover Girl in which Gene Kelly plays the same nightclub owner, Danny McGuire. The title of the film is a reference to the poem “Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which is quoted in the film. Xanadu is the name of the Chinese province where Khan establishes his pleasure garden in the poem.
Guy Hands, chief executive of U.K. buyout firm Terra Firma, lost nearly $34 million as a result of investments in films including the bizarre tale of a seven-foot boxing shrimp.
Hands is one of 75 investors who were encouraged to invest in a number of films through a company called Little Wing Films, claim tax relief and make an almost immediate profit. Hands said he had to repay more than £15 million in disallowed relief to the Inland Revenue, plus £2.3 million in interest, after the investment failed to achieve the intended tax benefits. Hands invested in three projects in 2001 and 2002, including a comedy called “Crust” featuring a seven-foot mutant shrimp washed up on a British beach and taught to box by a drunken pub landlord. Continue reading
Polyester is a 1981 comedy film directed, produced, and written by John Waters, and starring Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, and Mink Stole. It was filmed in Waters’ native Baltimore, Maryland, and features a gimmick called “Odorama”, whereby viewers could smell what they saw on screen through scratch and sniff cards.
The film is a satirical look at suburban life involving divorce, abortion, adultery, alcoholism, foot fetishism, and the Religious Right.