Throwback Thursday: ‘Barbarella’

Posted Thursday, October 3rd, 2013 07:00 pm GMT -5 by

Barbarella-1968-Movie-Poster

It’s Thursday again, which means it’s time for this week’s Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s look at great science fiction of the past.

Well, maybe for this week “great” is over-selling it, but it is, for the most part, one of the more memorable science fiction movies from the 60s, and a manifestation of the sexual revolution.

In any case, I put “great” in quotations because it is not a movie that aged well, and it’s a movie that can be misinterpreted without the context of its period. Looking at it in the eyes of 2013, it’s hard to think that the easy way Barbarella is constantly seduced is far more representative of a male power fantasy than it’s an expression of female sexual freedom. However, I wasn’t born until well after the 60s, so it’s hard for me to say just how exactly the movie was viewed, though seeing how it is usually mentioned in the context of the sexual revolution, I can get a fairly accurate assumption.

I’d love to explain ‘Barbarella’ to readers who may be unaware of it, but I honestly don’t think anyone could do a better job than the trailer itself:

So yeah… it’s basically a porno, though not as explicit and a lot more creative with the various ways that Barbarella finds pleasure.

I mean, there is a plot… but it never really feels all that central to what the movie is about (meaning sexual liberation). I’ll try and summarize it anyway. Barbarella is trying to find a missing scientist named Durand Durand in order to make sure a powerful weapon doesn’t get into the wrong hands (Earth is now peaceful and an easy target.) That’s it. Nothing more than that, except lots of fun and different sci-fi places to visit and lots of aesthetically pleasing outfits on Jane Fonda.

barberella

I understand that my tone throughout this article may sound like I don’t really appreciate ‘Barbarella’ and am talking about it against my will, but I assure you, that is not the case. While I, personally, have trouble watching it all the way through, I can acknowledge that it has a tremendous impact on art and culture.

The band Duran Duran took their name from the movie, a line from Jamiroquai’s hit song, “Cosmic Girl”, involves Barbarella, and the title of the ‘Devil May Cry’ opening theme is “Barbarella as a Boy”. Though these things may not seem to be overtly influenced by the movie, it’s clear their creators were. And why wouldn’t they be? ‘Barbarella’ was an unusual visual feast with a female character whose type the movie theaters had never really seen the likes of before. It was new, interesting, and most importantly, different.

barbarella and duran duran

Now, if you’re a ‘Barbarella’ fan, there is some good news for you! As recent as May 2013, they have been trying to get a ‘Barbarella’ television series up and running. Now that is something I’d like to see, if only to see how they can outdo the outrageous visuals of the original, and how much will they change Barbarella’s character in order to make her seem a little bit more 3D.

If you’re interested, ‘Barberella’ is selling at a reasonable price, and available on Amazon Prime.

  • JasonMBowles

    I LOOOOOOOOOVE Barbarella!!!

    • JasonMBowles

      Also I think “Durand-Durand” is a mistake. (I know it’s like that on IMDB. I don’t have my copy handy.) I know the amaze 80s band Duran Duran named them selves after the character, but maybe they tweaked it. They even released a song called “Electric Barbarella.”

      Dino DeLaurentis produced that and then Flash Gordon like ten years later and they’re like two sides of one coin. Sadly Barbarella didn’t have a soundtrack by Queen.

      • Boom

        True. The lack of Queen soundtrack is probably the greatest tragedy about of the film.

        • JasonMBowles

          You just have to have a great sense of camp to love Barbarella. It’s not empowering in the least, but it’s Go-Go and Mod and Glam. And it’s bloody drop dead gorgeous Jane Fonda! FAB-U-LOSITY!

          • Boom

            Those are the reasons I like it :) Though, I’ll admit that I’m not naturally predisposed to liking camp. It’s not my favorite movie, but I can appreciate it.