Monstervision Host Segments for

Barbarella (1967)

A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming

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The year is 40,000. Peacefully floating around in zero-gravity Barbarella (Jane Fonda) is suddenly interrupted by a call from the President of Earth. A young scientist named Durand-Durand (if that name sounds familiar, see Joe Bob's host segments), is threatening the ancient universal peace and Barbarella is the chosen one to find him and save the world. During her mission, Barbarella never finds herself in a situation where it isn't possible to lose at least part of her already minimal dressing. John Phillip Law (Jane Fonda's angel companion in “Barbarella”) also turned up in Mystery Science Theater 3000 movie Danger: Diabolik, MST3000 #1013, in which he played the notorious thief.
Barbarella's Director: Roger Vadim, Stars: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, David Hemmings, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau

Rated PG, most recently seen on the Oxygen channel (which also airs Xena, Warrior Princess episodes daily)
Barbarella aired on Monstervision 9/13/97. Here, with appropriate fanfare (in your mind at least), are Joe Bob's host segments and review from that monumental night

Monstervision Host Segments

Hey, Joe Bob Briggs still here. You know, I forgot to mention that the credits for Alien 3 are longer than Alien 3. Six minutes of credits on that baby. Woah! Anyhow, you gotta love that ending - Sigourney Weaver's backwards swan-dive into a vat of boiling lead. They had a big debate about that and they didn't shoot that ending until right before they finished the movie.

Monstervision lavalamp Alright, the long-awaited Barbarella in just a minute. But I wanna remind you that next week on MonsterVision we have the rarely seen Serpent And The Rainbow,
Wes Craven's movie about Haitian voodoo that many think is the best movie he ever made - he actually went to Haiti to make that. I think it's the only movie filmed in Haiti in 40 years or something. But our first movie next week is Steel Dawn, which is Patrick Swayze's version of The Road Warrior, you kind of have to see that to believe it. The first time on TNT, next week on MonsterVision. That's next week.

But right now, we've got Barbarella, beginning with the famous Barbarella Themesong, Baa Baa Baa Barbarella, Barbarella psychadella, there's a kind of cockashella, about you. Baa, Baa, Baa Barbarella. They don't write lyrics like that anymore, do they. Baa Baa Baa Barbarella.
And of course, you know I'm talking about, Jane Fonda as that kooky outer-space traveller in shiney black leather and go-go boots; the peace-loving, free-loving gal, who goes in search of missing scientist Duran-Duran. But in order to do that, she has to steer her rocket to the distant land of Tao City, which could be living in a primitive state of neurotic irresponsibility.
I was hoping we could have Jane on tonight to talk about the deeper meanings of this bizarre fantasy comic book from the '60s, but I'm told Jane isn't too fonda this movie (crew laughs). So, is that right? Is Jane kinda down on this movie? We understand, Jane, it's only acting! We know. You know, this is like a science-fiction Alice In Wonderland for drug-heads. So, if you haven't seen it, there's no way I could possibly explain it, so I'll just give you the Drive-In Totals, and we'll roll it.
We have:

14 dead bodies
1 vicious parakeet attack
1 Roman orgie
1 portable brain-wave detector
Shag-carpeted spaceship
2 crash-landings
1 giant rubber stingray
1 vicious, biting, sharp-toothed doll attack
Demonic children
Flower eating
See-through man
Flying pod attack, with fireballs
1 burning city
1 burning outer-space city
Snowball Fu, Green Laser Fu
And of course, the famous "Love-Making Tube."
I give it 2 stars, but 3 stars for camp value. OK, let's go
[fading] Oh, and this is one of the most famous title sequences ever filmed, in which Jane Fonda pretty much strips off every article of clothing she's wearing, as the Barbarella Singers croon Get me up high, teach me to fly, electrify. And dazzle me with rainbow colors, fade away the duller shade of living. Don't you think we could use those sentiments today in the '90s? As the President of the Sun System would say, "Love" (crew laughs). That's in the movie. That's how they greet each other. "Love."

"Barbarella" Ad Break #1

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And so, Barbarella's journey to find Duran Duran begins, as she's taken captive by twin demon children, and pulled across the horizon by a giant rubber stingray. You know, it's hard to believe today, but the hype on this movie was huge. There were two eagerly-awaited science fiction movies in 1968. One was 2001, A Space Odyssey, and the other was "Barbarella," which, after it came out, some people wanted to call it "2002, A Space Idiocy." But, it was a big-budget production all the way.

It was produced by Dino DeLaurentiis, it was directed by Jane Fonda's husband - the Frenchman, Roger Vedim - it was actually their third movie together; he directed her in two French films. They met during the first film, "The Circle Of Love," in 1964. Then they got married during the filming of the second film, "The Quarry," aka "The Game Is Over," in 1965. And Roger Vadim was famous for putting his beautiful wives and mistresses in his movies, because his very first movie was And God Created Woman, starring his young wife Bridget Bardoutte, in the nude, back in 1956. Then he made movies with Catherine Dunuve, did I say that right? Dunuve? And Annette Stroyberg, you remember her? He married her too.

Anyhow, "Barbarella" was based on a French adult comic strip that was considered very hip at the time, and the idea was to do a high-camp version of it. And Roger gave interviews saying he wanted "Barbarella" to be “an uninhibited girl. Not weighed down by thousands and thousands of years of Puritan education.” Meaning: she has sex every chance she gets. This was in the "free love" years, when they made movies where everybody had sex for fun, you know? No marriage, no jealousy, no demands, no real partnerships, just an endless kind of Hugh Hefner/Playboy After Dark universe. And the result, for Roger Vadim, is what you see here in this movie, which confused everybody. Because it's not always clear just exactly when he's joking and when he's not. So the critics were violently divided about whether it was a good movie or a bad movie, and I'll go into that a little later. But right now I know you're just aching to see the famous Killer Doll Attack. So. better roll the film.

[fading, as the Barbarella theme song starts again] You know, when you think about it though, how can there be thousands and thousands of years of Puritan education? Because there can only be 400 years of Puritan education, cause before that we didn’t have any Puritans. You know, plus, Roger was from France. So how many Puritans did they have over in France? I mean, when the French President dies, don’t all eight mistresses come to his funeral? It’s not like Puritanism has ever been that popular there, you know?

"Barbarella" Ad Break #2

All right. I happen to know that there are approximately 70 seconds of footage missing from the scene where Barbarella does it the old fashioned way with Ugo Tagnasi. As they circle on the ice, and we hear that hit song, “Down, Down, Down, Drag Me Down.” Now, I don’t know why the 70 seconds are out of the movie [on TNT]. Let’s just assume one of the executives at TNT is not too crazy about that scene, ok? Somebody closely connected at TNT, that’s all I’m going to say about it, all right? There were some theaters, by the way, that gave this movie a voluntary X-rating, when it came out. 1968 was the first year the X-rating existed, and this movie was rated under the old system, so the actual rating was “M, for Mature Audiences.” And normally that meant you could get in with your parents. But some theaters hiked it up to an “X”, just to make sure they didn’t get any flak from the local preacher. It’s kind of a harmless film, but its reputation was that it was a sex orgy.

OK, as Barbarella crash-lands for the second time, let’s rejoin our heroine and see what dazzling new wardrobe, or lack thereof, she crawls out of her spaceship wearing this time. Roll it

[fading] Kind of like a combination of Jules Verne, Flash Gordon (which DeLaurentiis also produced), the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), Salvador Dali (surreal McCoy), Dante’s Inferno, and Disneyworld On Ice, all combined into one movie. Which means: it’s kind of an inspired comic / satirical / tongue-in-cheek / high-camp / high-concept… means it doesn’t make a lick of sense is what it means [crew laughs]

"Barbarella" Ad Break #3

So now, Pygar, the depressed angel, is gonna get a little reward from Barbarella, who can apparently cure all ills with her favors. But did you notice Professor Ping? That guy? Marcel-Marceau in his first speaking role, saying things like, “The angel is aerodynamically sound, it’s all a question of morale.” He shoulda kept his mouth shut, shouldn’t… I mean, who says, “I know – we’ll use Marcel-Marceau, and have him talk!” (laughs)
Anyway, I mentioned before that the critical reaction to this movie was wildly mixed. Newsweek called it, “Roger Vadim’s best work to date.” The New York Times called it, “Dead, humorless and puerile.” What’s puerile? I don’t know.
Variety called it, “Artless, tasteless, misdirected vulgarity.” In general, guys liked it more than girls did. It wasn’t exactly a feminist statement. Jane Fonda was interviewed about her character while they were filming it in Rome and she said that “Barbarella is not a vamp, and she is not promiscuous, and she is not a sexually liberated woman. She’s just born free.”

Does that help? No? Where do you meet one of these women? She has sex with pretty much everybody she comes in contact with. But she’s not promiscuous. It’s sort of a 60s concept. Unfortunately for us, by the time the 70s rolled around, the women had wised up to that business. “Hey baby, what’s wrong, don’t you believe in free love?”
“No, I do not, you moron.” See, that whole deal didn’t last very long. Alright, back to the movie.

[fading] “Hey, man, I’m just doing my own thing in my own space and time.” Remember when Peter Fonda said that? See, Jane Fonda and Peter Fonda were both on the cutting edge of this 60s sexual freedom stuff. Of course, today if you say, “I’m doing my own thing in my own space and time.” The girl’s gonna say, “Good. Have sex with yourself!” [crew laughs]

"Barbarella" Ad Break #4

So, as Barbarella goes screaming down the laundry chute, temporarily saved from the Chamber of Ultimate Solution, and the evil lesbian queen, it might be a good time to read a little viewer mail in the feature we call Joe Bob’s Advice to the Hopeless. And to help us out, is… whoa! …is the decidedly non-lesbian TNT Mail Girl, Reno.
Reno: And what does that mean?
JB: I just said you were not a lesbian
Reno: How do you know that?
Oh, you are a lesbian?
I’m not going to answer one way or another. I just don’t think that you should assume someone’s sexual preference.

Well, honey, you can be a lesbo. That’s fine. Here on MonsterVision, we are an equal opportunity, lesbo-loving employer here. Even when my Baptist brothers get mad at us, it’s fine

You’re amazing
Thank you. Whatcha got for me?
I have a letter for you. This is from Joelle Groendez, San Francisco, California.
Thank you very much.
You’re welcome
Don’t go into denial over stuff like that.

“Dear Joe Bob,
“I’m just writing to thank you for your help. The night you were on for the very first time, you showed The Fog, and I was very, very pregnant, and five days overdue. It was hot. I was irritable and “over” being pregnant. That very night I went to bed and at 4:15am, low, my water broke. Coincidence? I think not. That little girl didn’t want to miss another week of MonsterVision. Were it not for your show, your witty retorts, who knows how long she would’ve been in there.
Thank you for giving her some incentive.
“Your faithful viewer
“PS: Here’s a photo of your youngest viewer.”

And here she is, if you can see it. Now look at that expression. I think she’s watched one too many Adrienne Barbeau movies, you know? Isn’t she cute, though?
Reno: She is adorable
Starting to get that maternal instinct, looking at that?
Reno: What do you mean?!
Nothin, just checking. Anyway, I want to thank you, Joelle, because that’s probably the first time I ever assisted in a delivery. I think I’ve assisted in some conceptions, but let’s not go into that
Reno: Yeah, let’s not
Don’t heckle the host
Reno: I am not a lesbian!
I didn’t say you were a lesbian
Reno: No, you can even ask my sister. I am not a lesbian…
Oh, your sister…
Reno: She is not… it’s just that… people misunderstand what they hear on TV

Back to the movie. Talk about it, just talk it out. It’s hip to be a lesbo. It can help your career.
Reno: Can we talk about something else?
I don’t think you’re a transvestite, either. I’d enjoy finding out…

"Barbarella" Ad Break #5

Yes, that was Jane Fonda’s most famous line, “De-crucify the angel, or I’ll melt your face.” Followed by John Philip Law’s famous line, “An angel doesn’t make love, an angel is love.” Followed by the vicious parakeet attack. Where are we in this story? I have no idea. There are a thousand characters in this movie, and half of them have plastic breast cones. You probably wouldn’t know it, but this cast is full of internationally distinguished actors including Milo O’Shea. Milo O’Shea in one year played principle parts in three movies, “Ulysses,” which may be his most famous role. Followed by, “Romeo & Juliet,” he was the friar, followed by “Barbarella.” And it never was quite the same for Milo after that. A few years later, he was co-starring in Theatre Of Blood, the Vincent Price movie we sometimes show on MonsterVision. OK, back to Barbarella

[fading] The full name, by the way, is “Barbarella, Queen Of The Galaxy.” Roll it. This is one of those movies that they make in Italy, in English, but everybody speaks the language of their own country when they’re filming it, and then they dub in the voices later. So I always wondered how they do that… cause the guy says, “I love you.” And the girl says back to him, “Taimo also jettum polski.” And they dub that into English, and it looks normal. They love to dub in Italy! They even dub Italian actors who are speaking Italian in real life, for Italian audiences. Those wacky Italians. I don’t get it

"Barbarella" Ad Break #6

And that was David Hemmings as the inept inventor who does the famous hair-curling sex scene with Barbarella, when they take pills and touch hands. David Hemmings at the time was one of the most famous and recognizable actors in the world thanks to a starring role in “Blow Up,” the only film by Michelangelo Antonioni that anybody could ever sit thru. And that’s why he gets special billing in the opening credits. You know something else about those opening credits, the ones that keep spilling out of Jane Fonda’s spacesuit as she gets undressed? Eight writers. I counted five French guys, including the guy who wrote the original Barbarella comic strip, two English guys, and one American, Terry Southern, who wrote the book the other famous erotic comedy of the 60s, “Candy” (which was adapted by Buck Henry of Get Smart) was based on. And that probably explains why, as we now move to the conclusion of Barbarella, I have no idea what’s going on. So just roll it

[fading] One thing I guarantee you, though. It will be groovy. It will be psychedelic. It will be a happening. Love

"Barbarella" Outro

OK. Well, we got thru that one, didn’t we? Including the end-credits lounge song, “An Angel Is Love,” performed by Bob Crew & The Bob Crew Generation Orchestra. OK guys. Get on the phone and tell them they can bring Ted & Jane back into the coutry now, alright? I assume that I’ll be here next week, when we’ll have a truly fabulous double-feature: Serpent And The Rainbow, which many regard as Wes Craven’s best movie. And our opening film is “Steel Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze, trying to be Mad Max in the Nambian Desert. The Patrick Swayze version of The Road Warrior, I kid you not.

Alright, is that it? Can we go home now?
Did you guys hear the one about the woman who got a divorce because her husband beat her all the time? Well, she remarried, but her second husband ran out on her, so she got another divorce. And then years went by and she started to get lonely.
So she decided to look for another husband, and she put an ad in the paper and it said, “Wanted: husband, won’t beat me, won’t run out on me, good in bed.”
So several days later, the doorbell rings. Woman answers it, she finds this man there with no arms and no legs.
“I’m answering your ad,” he says.
She says, “Well, you got no arms, so you can’t beat me. You got no legs, so you can’t run out on me. But how do I know you’re good in bed?”
The man says, “I rang the doorbell, didn’t I?” [crew laughs]

Joe Bob Briggs reminding you that the drive-in will never die.

Two grave diggers are busy digging a grave in the cemetery when they hear music. Approaching the sound of music, they find that the music is coming from Mozart’s grave. But it sounds like it’s being played backwards. So they run over to the caretaker and they say, “We were at Mozart’s grave and we heard music coming out of it, but it’s playing backwards.” The caretaker says, “Of course! That’s Mozart de-composing.”
[shallow laugh] Shoulda stuck with that first one.

Barbarella movie trailer
(click twice to play clip)

Back to Monstervision or Joe Bob's Saturday Night


Host segment transcript of 9-13-97 broadcast
©1997 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved

Additional material from Turner Classic Movies:

Barbarella - Future Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was one of the session musicians who performed the film's original score.
- The scenes during the opening credits where Barbarella seems to "float" around her spaceship were filmed by having Jane Fonda lie on a huge piece of plexiglas with a picture of the spaceship underneath her. It was then filmed from above, creating the illusion that she is in zero gravity. (If you look carefully, you can see the reflection in the glass as she removes her gloves)
- When Virna Lisi was told to play the part of Barbarella, she terminated her contract with United Artists and returned to Italy.
- SoGo, the evil city Barberella travels to, is a reference to Biblical cities Sodom and Gomorra.
- The 80s pop band "Duran Duran" took their name from the character in the film played by Milo O'Shea.

Jane Fonda mugshot, 1970 - Barbarella was released before the MPAA introduced the R rating in November 1968, was consequently released with an M rating for mature audiences, later converted to an R-rating in '69. A re-release in 1977 (to cash in on Star Wars' success) was edited to obtain a PG rating and was called Barbarella Queen Of The Galaxy. The video version is of the original M rated version and not the PG version which had all the sexuality removed. 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.
- The original European version had all the nudity intact on its first release.
- Fonda was arrested in 1970 after allegedly kicking a cop when she was found carrying a large amount of what appeared to be pills. All charges were dropped after the pills were identified as vitamins. Jane now openly admits that she suffered from bulimia from age 13 to age 37: while modeling, she said she lived on cigarettes, coffee, speed (cocaine), and strawberry yogurt
- A 1972 visit to Hanoi during the Vietnam war where Fonda campaigned in favor of the communist regime and the subsequent release of several photographs of her atop a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun (laughing and clapping her hands) used against American air crews earned her the nickname "Hanoi Jane." As a result of her visit to Hanoi and the accompanying photographs, many Americans continue to regard Fonda with general resentment and hostility to this day. "It hurt so many soldiers. It galvanised such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless."

- TCM bio of Jane Fonda

Charlton Heston is Omega Man

Original “” archives have been erased. Mis-spellings in above restored transcription can be blamed on Bill Laidlaw,

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