Yes I know this is not a precode movie, but I still believe it belongs in this section. Mainly because there is no way this movie would have been released today with just a PG rating.
Cast: Jane Fonda, Dave Hemmings
Writer: Terry Southern – based on the comics by Jean Claude Forest
Director: Roger Vadim
The story involves a top level space secret agent named Barbarella (Jane Fonda). Imagine a hotter female version of James Bond, but in space. She is on a mission to find the evil Durand Durand (Milo O’shea) so that she can bring him back to Earth and destroy his weapons. Along the way, she meets up with other men and a woman who help her with her quest and in return she helps by having sex with them.
The so-called love scenes are the best parts of the movie. They are so absurd and crazy, but are not played for just laughs, which in turn makes them extremely funny. In one scene, a man wearing a fur suit seduces Barbarella into having sex with him. After she agrees, he removes his suit and is covered with thick body hair. Another funny scene involves her being trapped in a machine that is supposed to give you the most intense orgasm ever, so that you end up dead. However, the machine can’t take the intensity of her erogenous zones, so it short circuits and is destroyed.
It’s easy to dismiss this movie as just being a male fantasy and I won’t argue that point. But this was made very shortly after, or possibly during, the sexual revolution. Before that time, women were not as free to express any type sexual liberation. Now I’m not saying that woman had to have sex with many partners to feel liberated, but to even have that idea was very taboo at that time. In each scene where sex is occurred, the choice always was with the woman. The only time it was not was when she gets trapped inside the machine, which she ends up destroying.
This almost would be a good double feature with Stanley Kubrick‘s “2001: a Space Odyssey“. Both movies were released in the same year and the special effects are very different. Kubrick was working on getting a realistic version of space, while Vadim was trying to capture the silliness of the comic series. Many Sci-Fi movies try too hard to make their movies appear more serious than they actually are. “Barbarella” knows that it’s a bit cheesy and doesn’t try to hide it.