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Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy

France/Italy 1968
produced by
Dino De Laurentiis for Dino De Laurentiis Cinematografica, Marianne Productions
directed by Roger Vadim
starring Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Milo O'Shea, Anita Pallenberg, David Hemmings, Marcel Marceau, Ugo Tognazzi, Claude Dauphin, Véronique Vendell, Serge Marquand, Catherine Chevallier, Marie Therese Chevallier, Giancarlo Cobelli, Nino Musco, Franco Gulà, Umberto Di Grazia
screenplay by Terry Southern, Roger Vadim, Claude Brulé, Vittorio Bonicelli, Clement Biddle Wood, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates, Jean-Claude Forest, based on a comic by Jean-Claude Forest, production design by Mario Garbuglia, costume design by Jacques Fonteray, Paco Rabanne, music by Michel Magne, songs by Bob Crowe, Charles Fox

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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In the 40th century, when peace & love prevail on earth, earth scientist professor Duran Duran, who has developed something as unheard of as a weapon (in this case the posictronic ray, whatever that is), has disappeared on Alpha 7, so the earth's president (Claude Dauphin) sends his best agent Barbarella (Jane Fonda) to find him ... but the mission doesn't go quite as planned from the beginning, when Barbarella crashes her spaceship onto the üplanet's surface, & is promptly attacked by a bunch of children who promptly subject her to mechanical dolls that are supposed to bite her todeath ... but she is saved by catchman (called so because he catches shildren) Mark hand (Ugo Tognazzi) after most of her oputfit is fashionably torn apart. As a reward, Mark Hand wants to make love to her (but not by way of pills as they do on earth these days but the old--fashioned way, with nakedness & penetration & all. Slightly irritated but also curious, Barbarella agrees ... & it seems from here on she's hooked on IT.

Before parting, Mark hand tells her that she might find Duran Duran in the city of Sogo, but she soon gets lost in the labyrinths surrounding the city, where all the outcasts who are not evil enough to be inside are kept. There, Barbarella makes the acquaintance of a blind angel, Pygar (John Phillip Law), who might be able to fly her to the village, but alas, he has lost the will to fly ... so Barbarella invites him o a night of you-know-what with her that would wake up the dead ... let alone make an angel fly again ...

Once inside the city, it doesn't take long before Sogo's evil tyrant, the Black Queen (Anita Pallenberg) & her sadistic right-hand-man, the Concierge (Milo O'Shea) have taken both Barbarella & Pygar captive.

 Pygar has soon become the Black Queen's stoic lovetoy, but after he fails to truly satisfy her, she has him thrown to the Matmos, an acidic lake of pure evil floating under Sogo. Barbarella meanwhile is thrown to the birds, who are supposed to peck her to death - but fortunately she is saved by Dildano (David Hemmings), a rebel who desperately wants to make love to her - but the earth-style way, with pills, which has pretty much lost its appeal to her, but she agrees anyways. She can persuade him to organize a revolt while he can persuade her to take care of the queen & gives her the key to the Black Queen's Chamber of Dreams, the only place where the queen is vulnerable ...

But heading to the chamber, Barbarella is agian captured by the Concierge, who this time around subjects her to his orgasm organ (not an organ as in penis but still able to give orgasms), a torture device that overpleasures women to death ... but not so Barbarella, who has by now become so experienced in all things sexual that she exhausts the organ. Only when emerging from multiple orgasm land does Barbarella realize that the Concierge is really Duran Duran & tht he, like herself, wants to overthrow the Black Queen ... if for other reasons, as she soon has to find out when he locks her & the queen into the Chamber of Dreams, & then takes over Sogo ... but by now, Dildano's rebel forces have formed & attack the city, bringing down its defense forces & forcing Duran Duran to use the positronic ray to destroy them all ... which is when the queen decides to have her ultimate revenge (& the only thing she can do being locked into her chamber of dreams), float the whole city with Matmos & have it (& herself too) devoured.

Duran Duran of course is devoured int he process, but the queen actually survives as she is with Barbarella, & since Barbarella is so good, the Matmos can't devour her & builds a bubble around her big enough for them both.

Once having emerged from the Matmos, the 2 women find Pygar still alive (who was also too good to be devoured), who flies them both to safety. But why the Black Queen too, you may (or may not) ask. Because Angels ahve no memory.


The comicstrip Barbarella made its debut in the French V-Magazine in 1962, & instantly became famous & notorious because it was (sexually) incredibly explicit for its time (but might be regarded tame by today's standards). It was only a question of time until it was made into a film (which was actually way more (sexually) restrained than the comic.

About the film, many not too flattering things were said: that it is a futuristic stripshow with a weak storyline, that it has an episodic structure, a style-over-content execution, & that Roger Vadim in general is an overrated director of cinematic kitsch.

All of this is essentially true ... & it is missing the point. Barbarella is not a film to watch for its story, it's a tongue-in-cheek psychedelic piece of consciously cheesy 60's erotica in outrageous sets & costumes (from Barbarella's fur-lined spaceship interiors to her ever skimpier outfits - provided she wears any), like a trip to another planet, a silly one, granted, but also a very enjoyable one.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD



Stell Dir vor, Deine Lieblingsseifenoper birgt eine tiefere Wahrheit ...
... und stell Dir vor, der Penner von der U-Bahnstation hat doch recht ...
... und dann triffst Du auch noch die Frau Deiner (feuchten) Träume ...


Und an diesem Tag geht natürlich wieder einmal die Welt unter!!!


Bauliche Angelegenheiten
ein Roman von
Michael Haberfelner


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