I'll never forget the first scene of Barbarella. A weightless astronaut floating around a spaceship starts peeling off a clunky spacesuit to reveal a totally naked Jane Fonda within. Even with the opening credits obnoxiously blocking key elements of Fonda's anatomy, as a 15-year-old with raging hormones I thought it was the greatest thing in the world!
The 1968 film was based on a sexy French comic strip and directed by legendary letch Roger Vadim. Italian sex goddess Virna Lisi was originally cast to play Barbarella, the Queen of the Galaxy. But when she backed out, Vadim's soon-to-be wife Fonda stepped in.
The story takes place in the 41st Century when the president of Earth orders Barbarella to investigate the brilliant but evil scientist Durand Durand in the city of Sogo on the planet of Lythion.
Sexually-charged with decent special effects, scantally-clad Barbarella adroitly manages to lose bits and pieces of her wardrobe as she fights for truth, justice and free sex across the universe. As I recall, after seeing this movie I ran out and bought a poster of Fonda as Barbarella wearing her iconic see-through breastplate, a style which unfortunately didn't catch on with future sci fi wardrobe directors!
Next: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Back to Cinema Fantastique from Barbarella