It’s no secret around here that I am no fan of Barbarella, the 1968 science fiction flick starring Jane Fonda and based on the French comic-book heroine created by Jean-Claude Forest. Forcing myself to sit all the way through Barbarella was a harrowing experience, one on par with my viewing of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, but with better costuming. Indeed, that’s the one area where I have to give it to Barbarella: the costume design is bonkers in the best possible way. And in spite of what passes for the film’s storyline, by far the most impressive sci-fi element is whatever anti-grav technology they used to keep Jane Fonda’s outfits from falling off. In fact, if there’s an ideal way to watch Barbarella, it’s in the form of still photographs. And wouldn’t you know it? We’ve got a bunch of Barbarella stills for you right here!
If you’ve mercifully never seen it, Barbarella stars Fonda as the titular (you heard me) heroine, a space-faring adventurer who fights evil through by wearing as little as possible. In the film, she’s tasked by the President of Earth to rescue a scientist named Doctor Durand Durand (yes, that’s where the band got the name) and keep his deadly “Positronic Ray” from falling into the wrong hands. At one point she’s strapped into a device called the “Excessive Machine,” which is supposed to kill her by overloading her with pleasure. She burns it out. It’s that kind of movie.
Barbarella was a critical and box-office dud, but it went on to become a cult classic and inspire films such as the equally weird The Fifth Element. There’s been talk in recent years of resurrecting it as either a movie or a TV series, with rumored directors including Robert Rodriguez and Nicolas Wingding Refn, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard anything on that front. The most recent news we’ve heard suggested that the show was trying to get Amazon Studios to sign on the line which is dotted, but that was all the way back in January. At any rate, the pilot script was penned by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, two of the blokes responsible for rebooting the Bond franchise.
It seems inevitable that we’ll get a new Barbarella project in one form or another, but in the mean time you can feast your array on its unforgettable wardrobe. Seriously, though, how is that thing even staying on…? (And props to Dangerous Minds for rounding up all these Barbarella shots.)