Director: Christian Marquand
Starring: Ewa Aulin, Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Walter Matthau, James Coburn
Candy is a sex comedy from the peace and love era of the late 60's that has a surprising amount going for it. The movie's cast features no less than four Oscar winners, the set design is by Oscar winner Dean Tavoularis (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now), and the score is provided by Grammy and Oscar winner Dave Grusin.
Add a psychedelic rock soundtrack by Steppenwolf and The Byrds, along with cameos from the likes of Ringo Starr, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Anita Pallenberg and the result is a definite step above the average guilty pleasure.
Despite all the talent on offer, the main attraction here is our perpetually perplexed heroine Candy - played by Miss Teen Sweden, Ewa Aulin - who has both the looks and the IQ of a barbie doll. (Her wide-eyed and breathless delivery surely must have inspired Anna Faris' character in the Scary Movie series).
As a naive and trusting coed with a heart of gold, Candy seems unaware of the effect she has on men, and each one she comes in contact with wastes no time in talking her out of her clothes and into a quick game of hide the salami - with Candy protesting less than half-heartedly.
Whether its the poet with his romantic metaphysical 'needs', the doctor with his 'examinations', the film-maker with his 'make you a star' routine, or the guru and his journey to a higher state of being (reached of course by working their way through the Kama Sutra), poor Candy seems like a bewildered Alice, in a Wonderland populated with horny men. However it seems she really doesn't mind all that much, after all.
While the men are portrayed without exception as sleazoids, they can't be entirely blamed - Candy's miniskirts and flimsy dresses show her barbie-doll figure to best effect, and her predilection for innocently speaking in double-entendres doesn't help matters.
There is no nudity to speak of, and the sex is never really shown in plain sight - nevertheless this is a very sexual film, without being explicit. The script is riddled with the aforementioned double entendres ... "please come inside", "we're going in all the way", and "there's more than one way to breathe, not just in and out, but up and down and back and forth. Lie down, we're going to breathe."
Adding visual metaphors such as a crowd pulsing back and forth in a sexual rhythm, and the way an onlooker's hand moves to her crotch as a doctor explains an exciting new penetrative procedure create a slyly pervasive sexual undercurrent.
When Candy finally reaches the last stage of enlightenment, the answer she finds in a Buddhist temple turns out to be disturbingly Freudian. Perhaps there's some hidden philosophical insight to be discovered here, but I'll leave that to you to discover.
All in all, Candy is light-hearted bawdy fun, and a worthwhile cinematic trip back to the 60's. It's a bit dated in parts, and more than a little silly in others ... but recommended for those interested in a different kind of comedy. And worthwhile if only to see Walter Matthau and Marlon Brando's performances.