A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy

March 29, 2010

Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy

Early on in Barbarella (after the famous zero-g striptease) there is an “action scene.”  Only there’s not much action to be had.  It’s all camera tilting and zooming with Barbarella steering her be-shag-carpeted pink spaceship through a lava lamp.  This, and the fact that Jane Fonda spends the entire first scene of the movie (a huge hunk of plot exposition in which the President of the Republic of Earth sends Barbarella on her mission to find and rescue the lost scientist Duran Duran) completely stark naked, should tell you everything you need to know about this movie.  It’s a non-sensical psychedelic romp, and I love it.

The soundtrack is a combination of great sixties cheese and a jazzy trumpet combo which reminds me a lot of the soundtrack to one of my favorite MST3K episodes: Moon Zero Two.  And speaking of MST3K – here’s John Phillip Law from Danger! Diabolik and Space Mutiny as Pygar the blind angel.  Then there’s famed mime Marcel Marceau (best known to me as a trivia answer from Mel Brooks’ film Silent Movie) as Professor Ping.  In the time before the Chronicles of Narnia movies I always felt that Professor Ping in this movie was what Mr. Tumnus would look like.  And it turns out I was mostly right.

What I love about this movie is that it’s so unashamedly odd.  It makes no attempt to explain itself.  It’s just filled with unnecessary strangeness like naked people half stuck in stone, or people hanging in slings, or evil betoothed dolls, or a giant hookah with a guy floating inside it.  Or any of Barbarella’s many bizarre wardrobe choices.

And maybe I should say something about the movie’s constant casual nudity.  Or maybe not.  It was the sixties.  In France.  I gather that constant casual nudity was par for the course.  If the movie isn’t going to make a big deal about it than neither am I.

The movie also doesn’t care that the technology of the day was not up to the task of showing much that is required of it.  (And raised as I was on Doctor Who neither do I.)  Wires and bluescreens and lava lamps and cheap miniatures are plenty good enough.

Barbarella psychedella indeed.

March 29, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , , , , ,

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