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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Candy (Blu-ray)
Candy (Blu-ray)
Kino // R // May 17, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $29.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted May 5, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

In 1969, Christian Marquand directed this all-star adaptation of Terry Southern's novel of the same name, Candy. Southern had a string of hits around this time, including The Magic Christian, Barbarella and of course Easy Rider, all of which were obviously turned into feature films. But Candy? The big screen version of Candy is something special indeed…

Candy Christian (Ewa Aulin) is a beautiful who spends her days attending high school. She lives at home with her father, a history teacher (John Astin). Candy's life takes an unusual turn when a Welsh poet with a taste for hooch named McPhisto (Richard Burton) shows up at school to deliver a speech. Candy, more than a little naïve, is easily talked into riding along with McPhisto in his limousine that takes them back to her place for a rather strange set piece wherein he dry humps a mannequin and she winds up fooling around with the family gardener, Emmanuel (Ringo Starr).

This sets into motion a series of even more bizarre and increasingly perverse events. Manuel, now ineligible to become the Catholic priest that his family had hoped, winds up in trouble with his relatives (one of whom is played by Florinda Bolkan). Those relatives in turn form a lynch mob of sorts and, with violence in their eyes, chase Candy and her father to the airport where they quickly board a plane under the control of one General Smight (Walter Matthau). From there? Dad winds up conscious as father and daughter are dumped out of the plane. With her father in need of medical attention, the services of Dr. Krankheit (James Coburn) are acquired much to the dismay of his boss Dr. Arnold Dunlap (John Huston). Despite the ‘best intentions' of Kenkheit, who clearly wants to get into Candy's pants, her father lapses into a coma and she is left alone. Unsure what to do, she takes off and meets on seemingly insane character after the next, eventually falling in with a cult leader named Grindl (Marlon Brando) who is just as lecherous as every other male character in the movie. And then there's Candy's uncle Jack (Astin again).

A completely bonkers comedy made all the more surreal by the presence of so many A-listers in the cast, Candy is nothing if not a trip. Even with a running time that goes well past the two hour mark, this movie moves quickly. The emphasis here isn't so much on narrative as it is on stringing together a series of set pieces in a somewhat free flowing manner to result in… whatever it is that Candy is. And what it is, well, it's a mix of fantasy and comedy and drama with some scattered sci-fi elements thrown into its globe hopping series of sexy events. Basically, everyone in the movie wants Candy and while she's fairly naïve and a little too unassuming for her own good, well, sometimes she's into it and sometimes she's not. At the very least she's a catalyst of sorts, ground zero for the hyper-sexualized late sixties pop art insanity that will melt your eyeballs and muddle your brain. Don't try to make sense of it all, just enjoy the ride.

Helping to make that ride all the more enjoyable is the cast. John Astin is fun to watch in the dual role of the confused father and the uncle with incestuous leanings. He's well cast here and is pretty fun to watch. Of course, seeing Ringo Starr play an immigrant gardener is weird enough to make the movie worth seeing all on its own, while Marlon Brando is so absurd in his role of the cult leader that you can't help but be drawn to him. Richard Burton is, maybe not so surprisingly, perfectly cast as the drunk, horny poet while James Corburn steals a few scenes as the unusually enthusiastic doctor. And you even get Walter Matteau thrown into the mix, well cast here as a military type.

And then there's Ewa Aulin, quite a sight to behold in this early entry in her filmography. This Swedish bombshell delivers all of her lines like she's just landed on Earth from another planet but it's hard to imagine anyone else doing it as well and with such an appropriate level of spaciness as she does here. She's gorgeous, goofy and just fun to watch.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Candy looks great on Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from what the packaging touts as a new 2k restoration. This is a very colorful movie, very heavy on primary hues, and those colors pop nicely on this disc. Black levels are rock solid and detail is typically very strong, as is texture, and there's a good amount of depth to the image. Typically this is a very strong presentation that offers a very serious upgrade over the previous DVD release that came out years ago. It's very clean, there's not much in the way of actual print damage to note, while grain is as prominent as it should be without ever becoming distracting.

Sound:

The English language DTS-HD Mono track sounds very good. The track provides clear dialogue without any noticeable background hiss or noise at all. The score is reproduced very nicely here too, with good range and fidelity. The levels are well balanced, and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note. There are no subtitles provided.

Extras:

Extras start off with a new Interview with screenwriter Buck Henry in which he talks about working with Christian Marquand, some of the other cast members, what it was like on set and how he wound up being cast in the film in the first place. The disc also includes a new interview with Kim Morgan, a film historian who offers up some thoughts on the film, what works and what does in the picture, and some assorted bits and bobs of trivia relating to the production.

Aside from that we get two radio spots, the film's original theatrical trailer, static menus and chapter selection.

Final Thoughts:

Candy is a mess, but it's a fascinating mess, a beautiful, wildly entertaining cinematic screw up. Kino have done a fine job bringing it to Blu-ray, presenting the full length version of the movie in excellent shape and with a couple of interesting interviews as the main supplements. Maybe not a film for the masses, but if you've got a thing for cult oddities of this time period, do check it out and consider this release recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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