A Few Words About A few words about...™ Barbarella -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Things seem to be a little confused over on Melrose.

    I was able to sample bits of the new Paramount Blu-ray of Roger Vadim's Barbarella last night, after viewing Goon, which I'll comment upon later.

    There have been slightly differing versions of the film.

    It was originally released just before the MPAA ratings came into being. When it was re-issued c. 1977 around the time that another sci-fi project hit theaters, it carried a PG rating, and was re-titled Barbarella Queen of the Galaxy.

    As I recall, there were also variants back in 1968 for domestic and foreign that carried different amounts of nudity beneath the titles. I don't recall ever seeing this version.

    As this new Blu-ray seems to exhibit more of Ms. Fonda's lithe form than I have been used to seeing, I'm thinking this may be a foreign background, but cannot be certain.

    One thing that is certain, is that this is NOT Queen of the Galaxy, and NOT any cut version to gain a PG rating.

    So while the Blu-ray packaging carries the re-issue titling and the PG rating, it is NOT that cut of the film.

    The credit block goes along with all of these errors, as it contains the phrase "A Paramount Pictures Re-Release."

    All of this will, of course, only come into play if and when less liberal parents begin to wonder what all the giggling is about as a bunch of ten year-old boys view the disc, and get into discussions of anatomy.

    I may have more comments and annotations later, after I get a chance to spend a bit more time with the Blu-ray, but from my initial assessment, I think it looks terrific.

    It has, what appears to be, clean, natural grain structure, great color and shadow detail, good black levels, etc. Even the dupes retain their original look, and have not gone the way of the Universal process.

    As an aside, and to the best of my knowledge, Barbarella was the first feature film to be based upon a comic. I believe that everything in the past had been produced as serials.

    Image - 4.5

    Audio - 5

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Prince Valiant was based on a comic strip. Dick Tracy had several features that were not serials, I think (or am I misremembering?). Blondie, too? Was that first a comic? I think there are more examples. Glad to hear this looks great - not a film I love, but it's fun in its own weird way.
    They once played this on a double bill at the old Fox Venice in the late 1970s - Barbarella and The First Nudie Musical. Some friends and I went and Michael Crichton was there seeing Barbarella and was leaving after that film - I stopped him and said, "Aren't you staying for the funny one?" He laughed, we spoke for a bit - then he left :)
     
  3. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Cinematographer

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    Another de Laurentiis comic book adaptation (Danger: Diabolik) came out earlier that year.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quite correct. Beat Barbarella by nine months. Interesting that John Phillip Law is in both. Wonder if Mr. de L had him under contract?

    RAH
     
  5. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    This PG business is nothing new, really. The DVD went out with the "Queen of the Galaxy" and PG labelling even though it is (apparently) the original cut. I've always wondered why Paramount seems to be fixated on that "Queen of the Galaxy" art - they used it on the VHS as well. The exception was the "see Barbarella do her thing" art that went out with the Paramount Classic DVD which included a folded copy of the "do her thing" poster. For my money I've always preferred the original UK art - "Who gives up the pill? Who takes sex into outer space?"
    At least here in the UK there won't be any confusion about PG. Barbarella has always been a 15 rating on home video.
     
  6. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    According to Tim Lucas' Mario Bava book, Law got his role in BARBARELLA in part through Jane Fonda, with whom he had worked on HURRY SUNDOWN. During BARBARELLA's lengthy pre-production period Law was able to film both DEATH RIDES A HORSE and DIABOLIK. I don't think he had a contract with De Laurentiis.
    (DIABOLIK trivia: DL wanted Alain Delon for the part, but he was unavailable. Catherine Deneuve was cast as Diabolik's girlfriend and worked with Law but was let go for being too "icy." And DL and DIABOLIK director Mario Bava didn't get along at all.)
     
  7. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Another bit of trivia, Anita Pallenberg's voice ("my pretty pretty") was dubbed by English actress Joan Greenwood, she of, The Man In The White Suit, Tom Jones & Mysterious Island. I can see why, such a sexy voice.
     
  8. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    I would assume we want the more "graphic" cut of the Barbarella so to speak, even then I'm sure this film is quite tame to todays standards. Looking forward to this release. Just want a great WB transfer for KLUTE, and it deserves a Digibook release!
     
  9. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    The question is whether or not this will be as controversial as when a similar situation occurred with MGM's DVD release of Swamp Thing a few years back. I doubt it, because Barbarella is not as well known in North America as Swamp Thing, which was a reasoably prolific DC Comics property, as opposed to an underground erotic French comic. We shall see.
     
  10. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    There's really nothing graphic in Barbarella. Although I've never seen the PG cut from 1977, which theoretically cuts any nudity from the movie, that would only mean replacement front titles and a shot of a topless girl in a harness from later in the movie. Otherwise that's it. What nudity is in the movie is in the title sequence where animated lettering effectively censors proceedings. One shot that may have caused problems is vaselined into soft focus. The most graphic moments in the picture are no more than topless shots and yet the movie seems to have an undeserved reputation as borderline porn. It's basically The Perils of Pauline reimagined by Terry Southern.
    As long as the movie is presented inscriptia intacta I'll be a happy clam.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't believe anyone ever thought of Barbarella as "borderline porn." There are simply shots that parents may not wish children to see. Totally dependent upon the children and the parents. Nothing out of line here, or for that matter, nothing that a child cannot see simply by going to the beach. The only problem is that parents have the right to determine what their children see, and at what age, and the mislabeling countermands those rights.
     
  12. lark144

    lark144 Stunt Coordinator
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    Joesph Losey's MODESTY BLAISE, staring Monica Vitti, which was based on a comic strip by Peter O'Donnell, was released in 1966.
     
  13. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    I seem to recall another thread on this title recently where one author was describing it as a "boob fest", so there it seem to have a reputation. I'll wait for the price to drop, but this is a fun, silly little film, great for a light evening's entertainment. "Oh Pygar!"
     
  14. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    IMDB suggests the original cut was censored for it's 1977 re-release, the Australian version released on Laserdisc is apparently what we have here.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062711/alternateversions

    From IMDB.


    Barbarella was released in the USA before the MPAA introduced the motion picture rating system on November 1, 1968. It was consequently released with a tag "Suggested For Mature Audiences". A re-release in 1977 (to cash in on the success of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)) was edited to obtain a "PG" rating and was called "Barbarella: Queen Of The Galaxy". The video version is of the original uncut version and not the "PG" version (despite the subtitle "Queen of the Galaxy" and the "PG" rating on the cover).

    The version now on video in Australia is of the Laser Disc version which has a more "nude" opening credit scene. The difference in the credits occurs when David Hemmings credit appears, from then on the floating titles reveal more of Jane Fonda than the original version and video did.

    I can't complain about seeing more of Jane Fonda in her prime.

    I was trying to dig up some more information on this, just a quick search, didn't find anything other than what the above already says, what i did find reveals that Jane Fonda regrets the fact she did this film and turned down the starring role in Bonnie and Clyde and Rosemary's Baby, presumably the latter was made around the same time as Barbarella and she was in France with husband and director of the film, Roger Vadim at this time in her life, i also read the film cost $9 million dollars to make, lot of money for a 1968 film, it bombed at the box office and there was supposedly an effort to get a sequel made in the mid seventies which never came to be, a remake has been in the works for several years but so far hasn't come close to filming.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Speaking of Ms Fonda in her prime, I'm going to request that this thread steer clear of obvious political topics and stay with film
     
  16. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    I wouldn't have believed it either, but like Jeff I've been on other forums where people have heard of the title, and their expectations are almost certainly going to be crushed by the reality. I think Barbarella maybe has a similar situation for its video master as When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth - the current transfer is of the most complete (European) version of the picture. As FoxyMulder says there was an edit for re-release to tie in with S*** W*** in 1977, but I suspect that was without Roger Vadim's approval. Similarly WDRTE came in a 100minute UK and European cut including some nudity and implied sexual activity, and a 94minute US Domestic cut without. Warner (apparently) inadvertently used the 100minute cut for the DVD and then had to withdraw it.
     
  17. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Don't worry i wasn't going to say anything about politics, not when we can discuss Miss Fonda's striptease.

    Talking about When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, i saw the film uncut years ago, might have been a Scandinavian television broadcast, i used to have a D2Mac decoder and watch a lot of their output, anyways the the nudity in that version was intact, now whenever it's broadcast over here in the UK it's always the edited version with no nudity.
     
  18. Mark Oates

    Mark Oates Supporting Actor

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    I got gouged on Amazon for a copy of the DVD of WDRTE, but all-in-all it was worth it as the disc is the most magnificent cheese-fest - it includes Hammer's magnificently idiotic space western Moon Zero Two.
    It's a shame Paramount doesn't want to lavish much attention on its Centenary titles. I'd have loved to find out if the reshot scenes survived - the Presidential briefing with Fonda fully dressed and a different actor playing the President possibly bellowing his lines through the front window of the Alpha 7; and the different Exaltation Pill scene with Antonio Sabato as Dildano.
    By the way, if you have the European DVD of the title and you listen to the German soundtrack, the title music is a subtly different recording to the English version.
     
  19. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    i always thought that BARBARELLA was a fun campy film that can enjoyed with a few glasses of wine or a few bourbon and cokes with bunch of friends. A very guilty pleasure of mine and I look forward to the Blu-ray.
     
  20. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    There are plenty of PG films from the 60s-70s with nudity. Coma comes to mind, or Logan's Run. That's when "parental guidance suggested" actually had any teeth. Nowadays they've devalued the G and PG ratings to the point of uselessness.
     

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