Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 3rd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1968
Director: Roger Vadim
Writers: Terry Southern, Roger Vadim, Vittorio Bonicelli, Clement Biddle Wood, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates, Jean-Claude Forest, Claude Brulé
Cast: Jane Fonda, David Hemmings, John Phillip Law, Ugo Tognazzi, Marcel Marceau
BluRay released: July 3rd, 2012
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono French, DTS-HD Mono Spanish
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
BluRay Release: Paramount Pictures
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: In the year 40,000 Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is given the assignment of tracking down a scientist named Duran Duran who was last seen of the planet of Lythion. Barbarella’s mission starts off badly when her spaceship crashes. Along the way when she isn’t battling robots, monsters and children she rewards the men who help her. Will Barbarella be able to find Duran Duran and stop him form using the deadly weapon he has created or will she lose herself in her new found pleasures?
They don’t make films like Barbarella anymore. Its free love message and psychedelic style are both products of the late 1960’s. Director Roger Vadim (Pretty Maids All in a Row) has worked with and been married to some of cinema’s most beautiful women. While making Barbarella he was married to its star Jane Fonda (Spirits of the Dead) and this film would also serve as the last time they worked together, though they remained married for another five years. Barbarella oozes with style, as Vadim creates a world that defies logic as it resembles Barbarella’s comic book source material more then real life.
This film is filled with a copious amount of eye candy and most of it comes from its leading lady Jane Fonda who entrance in the opening credits is without a doubt the most erotic to ever grace any film opening ever. The fun doesn’t end there as Roger Vadim concocts several scenes that are specifically designed to showcase the Jane Fonda’s undeniable sex appeal. The two scenes that immediately spring to mind are when Barbarella has sex the old fashion way and not via a pill for the first time. And the scene where Duran Duran tortures her and she destroys his torturing machine with her sexual desire.
Performance wise this film is a virtual who’s who of late 1960’s cinema. David Hemmings (Deep Red) is delightfully bizarre as Dildano who is part of secret underground movement to overthrow The Great Tyrant who is played by the seductive Anita Pallenberg (Performance). The scenes with Pallenberg and Fonda together are pure ecstasy. Marcel Marceau (Shanks) gives a deliriously witty performance as Professor Ping and Milo O’Shea (Theatre of Blood) as Duran Duran perfectly captures the essence of super villain. The only performance the I didn’t care for is that of John Phillip Law (Danger: Diabolik) as Pygar.
The films wonderfully cheesy score includes the following songs “Barbarella”, “Drag Me Down”, “Love Theme from Barbarella” and “An Angel is Love”. All of which where composed by Charles Fox who would later rise to fame writing music for classic televisions shows like Happy Days and The Love Boat. The look of Barbarella is one of its main factors why it works so well as a film is because of cinematographer Claude Renoir’s (Blood and Roses) impeccable lighting and photography. Ultimately Barbarella is one of those films that never gets dull no matter how many times you watch it and Jane Fonda taking her clothes off.
Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. All of the previous home video releases of Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy have not looked that great. Fortunately for fans of this film this new release comes with a transfer that finally does this film justice. Colors have never looked more vibrant, flesh looks look accurate, black and contrast levels look consistently strong and details look crisp throughout. There are no problems with compression and there is a healthy layer of grain throughout.
This release comes with three audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English, a DTS-HD Mono mix in French and a DTS-HD Mono mix in Spanish. All of the audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. With the film’s score being the only part of the mix that ever sounds robust. Also included with this release is five subtitle options, English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
Once again there is a lack of extra content and the only extra included with this release is a trailer for the film (3 minutes 21 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). Overall Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Paramount Pictures.