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December 21, 2012

Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos of Jane Fonda on the Set of 1968’s Sci-Fi ‘Barbarella’

The list of movies that were dismissed by critics — or that simply bombed at the box office — when first released, only to enjoy a renaissance and renewed appreciation after years of neglect, is as long as it is distinguished. The Wizard of Oz, Blade Runner and It’s a Wonderful Life are just a few of the now-celebrated films that looked, on their first go ’round, like they were doomed to eternal obscurity.

And then there are movies like Barbarella. While the 1968 psychedelic-sci-fi-meets-soft-porn marvel doesn’t quite warrant the accolades accorded to genuine classics, it still has aged rather well for such a bizarre creation.

Love it or like it — very few people would admit actively hating it — Barbarella will probably last forever as a pop-culture curiosity not because it’s a misunderstood auteur gem, or because it was ahead of its time, but for one reason and one reason only: Jane Fonda. Playing a 41st-century “astronautical aviatrix” and “Queen of the Galaxy,” the 30-year-old Fonda gives a playful, sexy and self-possessed performance in the movie -- in short, she appears to be having fun in the singularly absurd role, with its even more absurd outfits and preposterous plot twists.

Here’s a series of pictures made on the set of Barbarella taken by Carlo Bavagnoli.

(Photos by Carlo Bavagnoli—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)



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