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‘The penis is evil!’: Sean Connery & Charlotte Rampling in ‘Zardoz,’ the Playboy spread (NSFW)
06.26.2017
12:20 pm
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Zardoz might be the only movie that can fairly be compared to D-Day, in that if you haven’t endured it yourself, you really haven’t the slightest notion what it’s like.

Zardoz was released in 1974, the second movie that Sean Connery made after leaving Cubby Broccoli’s Bond franchise for good. According to the movie’s director and writer, John Boorman, Connery badly needed money and agreed to do the movie on that basis. He must’ve been really broke.

The movie is 23rd-century romp in which all of humanity is divided up into the lusty and animalistic “Brutals” and the psychic and ethereal “Eternals” at the “Vortex” who have no need to procreate, while a huge flying stone head distributes armaments across the countryside. Sean Connery plays “Zed,” an “Exterminator” who manages to infiltrate the “Vortex,” where he discombobulates the Eternals’ barren notions of sex and violence—or something. Along the way the huge stone head—“Zardoz” to you—memorably bellows the mottos “The gun is good!” and “The penis is evil!” The movie is heady and trashy in a way that only the cinema of the 1970s could possibly muster.

Boorman made several straightforwardly excellent movies, including Excalibur, Hope and Glory, Point Blank, and Deliverance, which makes the eternal peculiarities of Zardoz all the more astonishing.

Zardoz was released in early 1974, and the March issue of Playboy that year featured a nude spread connected with the movie that included nude photos of Charlotte Rampling.

It’s abundantly clear that the content of Zardoz was a kind of reaction to the sexual revolution that had been taking place for a number of years before the movie was made. In the text that accompanies the pictures, Boorman makes a remarkable statement of sorts about this, indicating that his experiences visiting communes in America convinced him of the folly of gender equality, a stance that feels all the stranger considering the harsh critique of masculinity featured in his previous movie, Deliverance. Here it is:
 

Researching for the film, Boorman visited many communes throughout the U.S.A. “I was shocked,” he admits now, “in the way you are shocked by something you thought you knew and find you didn’t. I was shocked because women were living in the commune in real equality with the men and I realized I hadn’t seen that before. I had thought that I believed in women’s equality, but I discovered that really I didn’t. I can’t accept that they’re the equals of men. Guilty about it? Yes, but I can’t add any more to my burden of guilt. Once you get to 40, you really can’t take on any more.”

 
Boorman’s DVD commentary, which is available on this page, is considered by not a few people to be the greatest of all time. At one point he says that “Charlotte was very disappointed in this sequence because she said she had been looking forward to being raped by Sean Connery and that it was all over far too quickly.” Hmmm.

In 2015 Rampling was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in 45 Years, making her one of a tiny number of women who have posed nude in Playboy and also been nominated for an Oscar. (Sharon Stone, Kim Basinger, and Charlize Theron are the only ones I can think of, although Burt Reynolds posed nude in Cosmopolitan and received an Oscar nomination.)
 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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06.26.2017
12:20 pm
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‘Zardoz’: Stills of Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling from John Boorman’s neglected masterpiece

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A fine selection of stills from John Boorman’s neglected masterpiece Zardoz, which starred Sean Connery as Zed, an Exterminator, who escapes to the land of his rulers, the jaded Eternals (Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman, John Alderton) bringing them sex and death.

I am great fan of this film, and particularly its novelization, written by Boorman and Bill Stair, which brought a small epiphany to my childhood. It would be good to see Zardoz rightfully reclaimed as a classic of the 1970’s cinema, one that reflected many of the ideas and politics of that decade, leading to a re-mastered version of Zardoz having a re-release on the film festival circuit. 
 
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Previously on Dangerous Minds

Photospread on John Boorman’s ‘Zardoz’ from 1974


‘Zardoz’ re-imagined as an 8-bit game


 
H/T Retronaut, via Tout Cine
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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01.03.2013
09:11 am
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Photo-spread for John Boorman’s ‘Zardoz’, 1974

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I read John Boorman and Bill Stair’s novelization of Zardoz when I was about 12. It was—to be frank—a defining moment in my childhood. The story chimed with many of my half-baked thoughts about those usual tropes—the control of religion, the division of class, society’s inequalities and its endemic violence. In a way you could say it was the start of my adult education. The book held extra significance as I had walked home from school for a week to save the money on bus fares to buy it. After reading it—nothing was ever the same. How could it be? When within its opening pages a flying godhead Zardoz has descended form the heavens and announced to its murderous followers:

“You have been raised up from Brutality, to kill the Brutals who multiply, and are legion. To this end, Zardoz your God gave you the gift of the Gun. The Gun is good!

“The Penis is evil! The Penis shoots Seeds, and makes new Life to poison the Earth with a plague of men, as once it was. But the Gun shoots Death and purifies the Earth of the filth of Brutals. Go forth, and kill! Zardoz has spoken.”

 
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When Sean Connery was sent the script, he was “absolutely caught by its originality”, as he told Gordon Gow from Films and Filming in 1974:

“It was one of the best ideas I’d come across for ages…So by the following weekend I was over in Ireland to prepare for filming.

“What gripped me especially was the direction the people in [the script] were taking in the future existence, as opposed to space ships and rockets and all that…[..]...What does interest me is the possible development of society in centuries to come. The way different levels and types evolve in the script is intriguing and refreshing, and could well be true. The fact that people are not going to die, for example.

“Many things are changed by the knowledge you’re not going to die. There’s no need to procreate, therefore it takes away the sexual drives. Today we live in the age of analysis: we can give answers as to why people do things, whether it’s ambition or fighting for power or because they hated their father or their mother - their hangups become a kind of blueprint to their behavior. But if you take that away you get an entirely different concept of human beings.’

Connery hadn’t been Boorman’s first choice, that had been Burt Reynolds, with whom Boorman had scored the major hit Deliverance. Somehow I can’t imagine Reynolds carrying off the thigh high boots or red loin cloth, or exuding the necessary untrammeled masculinity. With the success of Deliverancve, Boorman was given a carte blanche to make what he wanted. He started working on a science fiction script, Zardoz, in 1972, and brought in Bill Stair to “...help rationalize the visions that threatened to engulf me.”

Zardoz is certainly rich with ideas, some better developed than others, but all have their own merits. That’s one thing about the best of seventies’ films, they had intelligence behind them, ideas at play, rather than today’s reliance on CGI and anodyne stories.

Set in the 23rd century, where Exterminators trade grain with their god - Zardoz - for guns to exploit and kill. Enter Zed (Connery) who questions why a god would require grain, and sneaks on board the flying godhead to uncover the secret of Zardoz and life beyond the Outlands in the Vortex.

The Outlands: once it was called the good Earth. Now it is the desolate, exhausted, polluted wasteland all the world has become, except for the lush Vortex.

The Eternals: members of the Vortex. Highly privileged scientists and intellectuals, eternally young, who have learned all the Secrets of Life - except one.

The Exterminators: a privileged and physically superior group permitted to breed under strict control to fight the Brutals and support the Vortex.

The Brutals: the last survivors of the dying world outside the Vortex, who live at subsistence level.

The Apathetics: victims of the pursuit of perfection, they are Eternals who have found the strain of immortality too great and live only for the one thing their society denies them.

The Renegades: malicious, embittered offenders in the Vortex who would defy and destroy the establishment - if they could only find it.

Connery explained the film to Gow:

“Then society, a sit always does, starts to fragment into different strata. There are the Apathetics and the Renegades. They are all Eternals, these people, who are going to live forever. The base of all the great learning that the world has accumulated by that stage becomes a Tabernacle, which gives people information as to how to act, like a major computer, a great feed-tank put together by the best minds of the world. But the human condition is such that it still retains anger and other emotions.

“There are areas like oases: each is known as a Vortex. They exist throughout the world on a system of highly democratic rule with guidelines supplied from the Tabernacle. But the Renegades abhor the system and fight it…[..]...On the other hand, the Apathetics are reluctant to do anything at all..the Renegades they’d really like to die, to get out.

“Beyond the Vortex areas, there are the Outlands: very barren. The inhabitants there are called the Brutals, they’re rather like our present society, not very civilized. The god Zardoz gives the Brutals something to worship, the gun. the penis is evil, the gun is good. The Brutals are necessary to each Vortex, because they’ve been taught to provide wheat and other food substances…[..]...This is where the character I play comes in. I hide in the head…[..]...and set about destroying the society.”

For your delectation, here is the original photo preview for Zardoz, which appeared in Films and Filming in March 1974.
 
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More pics from ‘zardoz’, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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08.18.2011
06:19 pm
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‘Zardoz’ imagined as an 8bit game

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I’ve always been a fan of John Boorman’s Zardoz, no matter how camp, cheesy, or even ridiculous it may seem. Therefore, I do wish this brief 8-bit animation by nickcriscuolo was a real game.

Okay, it’s only an opening sequence, but just think of the potential Boorman’s and Bill Stair’s original story offers: as the Exterminator Zed (Sean Connery) crosses from the land of the Brutals (where “the gun is good and the penis is evil”), to a world of the Eternals, Apathetics, Renegades and the lovely Charlotte Rampling, where Zed finds himself the subject of the Eternals’ experiments and games, and uncovers the dark secret at the heart of their Vortex and its Tabernacle. O, yes this could work.

And of course, Connery and Rampling would voice it, and there’d be optional thigh-length boots. How bloody marvelous.
 

 
Bonus clip of original ‘Zardoz’ film trailer, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.20.2011
07:00 pm
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