Candy (1968 film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Candy is a 1968 countercultural film directed by Christian Marquand. Based on the 1958 novel by Terry Southern and Mason Hoffenberg, it starred Ringo Starr, Ewa Aulin, Charles Aznavour, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, James Coburn, John Huston, Walter Matthau, and Sugar Ray Robinson. Anita Pallenberg and Florinda Bolkan also appear in small parts.

In a 2002 review Constantine Verevis remarks that the film was "by no means an American International Pictures-type, low-budget, exploitation film, Candy involved several production companies and a host of international talent, including a screenplay by Buck Henry, opening and closing sequences designed by Douglas Trumbull, title and other music by The Byrds and Steppenwolf."


The opening sequence shows Candy (Ewa Aulin) descending to Earth from outer space. In the next scene, she is in school, where her father (John Astin) is also her teacher. She attends a poetry recital by eccentric poet MacPhisto (Richard Burton), who offers her a ride home in his limousine. At her home, MacPhisto gets increasingly drunk and continues to recite poems, inspiring Candy and the Mexican gardener Emanuel (Ringo Starr) to have sex. After this scandal, the family decides to send her off to a private school, and she embarks on a psychedelic journey during which she meets a number of strange people, including a sex starved military general (Walter Matthau), a doctor who performs public operations (James Coburn), a hunchback (Charles Aznavour) and a fake Indian guru (Marlon Brando).

The story bears a marked similarity to Voltaire's Candide, including its naïve protagonist (switched from male to female), its penchant for exploring human sexuality, the protagonist's far-reaching travels, and her attempt to find some basic Good in humanity among all its charlatans and hypocrites. Whereas Candide is generally taken advantage of for a variety of reasons/uses, however, Candy herself is almost always sought after for her sexual appeal. This comes closer to the portrayal of Cunégonde, the heroine of Voltaire's novel.

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