Cinema Retro reader Harvey Chartrand has a bone to pick with Cinema Retro's Dean Brierly regarding his cover story in our latest issue:
Dean Brierly has an obvious hate-on for CANDY which is unwarranted. His critique is unbalanced and excessively negative. I do not consider CANDY an “all-star fiasco” or one of the worst movies ever made. Far from it. If you want to see a bad movie, check out Otto Preminger’s Middle East “thriller” ROSEBUD with Peter O’Toole (who looks like a dying man in this picture). Sure, CANDY isn’t as good as the book, but so what? Neither was Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING, now acknowledged to be superior to the more faithful Stephen King-scripted TV-movie adaptation with Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay.
I do recall enjoying CANDY as a cultural artifact of its era (and I saw it quite recently). It’s emblematic of the swinging sixties... like THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN, often dismissed as an excessive celluloid abomination but delightful on its own terms and for the exuberant performance of Peter Sellers as eccentric billionaire Sir Guy Grand, out to prove that everyone has his price.
CANDY, with its dream cast, should at least be regarded as a curio or an interesting failure. Marlon Brando, even when he’s “phoning it in”, is always fun to watch. Sure, Ringo sucks, but his scenes are mercifully brief.
Ewa Aulin’s stunning good looks and her vulnerable demeanour override any drawbacks she may have for the role of the irresistible Candy. (I wonder what Aulin looks like now... probably still sexy in her sixties.) Forty-one years on, film historians are even taking a second revisionist look at MYRA BRECKINRIDGE... which critics considered one of the worst movies ever made back in 1970.
Harvey F. Chartrand
Retro responds: Harvey, we have a special place in our hearts for readers who defend films most find indefensible. You will recall that we accorded the cheapo Man From U.N.C.L.E. feature films the same kind of coverage generally accorded the works of Sir David Lean. Nonetheless, there is no denying that Brierly's sentiments reflect those of most retro movie fans. I believe that if Candy had been produced as a low-budget American International exploitation film, we would not be debating it today. However, the stigma arises from the fact that director Christian Marquand had the advantage of working with a cast of Hollywood legends. The fact that it only amounted to a trivial work has added to the film's reputation as a squandered opportunity. It's interesting that you mention Preminger, because Candy is probably only rivaled by Preminger's own Skidoo as the most glaring film of the Sixties to waste a "sure-fire" cast of greats. Nonetheless, we applaud your defense of the movie. I can relate...I'm about the only one who will admit to seeing some great things in Michael Cimino's Heaven's Gate. If nothing else, I'm grateful to Marquand for giving Cinema Retro the opportunity to publish so many gratuitously sexy photos of Ewa Aulin. - Lee Pfeiffer