Zed of Zardoz

A personal note: I’m just barely hanging on here, with extravagant hip pain and cramping up of my hands — both apparently connected somehow to the current weather — plus DoE (dyspnea on exertion) so severe that I’m exhausted by walking from the bedroom to the living room, and recurrent narcoleptic episodes with elaborate, hard-to-shake visual hallucinations.

But along came this remarkable image of Sean Connery as Zed in the film Zardoz, which despite being a Z-person (note boldface) and a longtime fan of Connery’s, I missed completely when it came out in 1974. Material from the film is being distributed in the mistaken belief that it’s set in 2023 — it’s actually 2293 — but this is what we get:

(#1) Connery, hot as hell and giggle-inducing too,  hypersexual and, oh yes, ridiculous

Personal background. From my 5/30/11 posting “Hunk dream”, a dream poem:

Hunk dream

Sean Connery came
to my door last night.
The mature Untouchables
Sean, not the
slick young James
Bond. Had a sexy
smile and a good line.

I asked him
in, he stayed the night,
melting away in the
morning, saying only
that the seasoned,
mature Brad
Pitt would be
along soon.

(He kissed
beautifully. We
wrapped around each
other in sleep like old

a nice man on the
phone said a friend had
given me a
subscription to
Hunk of the Week.
I am
Delirious, waiting for

Sean Connery background. From Wikipedia:

Sir Sean Connery (born Thomas Connery; 25 August 1930 – 31 October 2020) was a Scottish actor. He was the first actor to portray fictional British secret agent James Bond on film, starring in seven Bond films [in 1962 -71 and 1983].

… In 1974, he starred in John Boorman’s sci-fi thriller Zardoz. Often called one of the “weirdest and worst movies ever made” it featured Connery in a scarlet mankini – a revealing costume which generated much controversy for its unBond-like appearance. Despite being panned by critics at the time, the film has developed a cult following since its release.

… In 1987, Connery starred in Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, where he played a hard-nosed Irish-American cop alongside Kevin Costner’s Eliot Ness.

Zardoz background. From Wikipedia:

(#2) Theatrical release poster, incorporating a version of #1, along with way too much other stuff

Zardoz is a 1974 science fantasy film written, produced, and directed by John Boorman and starring Sean Connery and Charlotte Rampling. It depicts a post-apocalyptic world (which Boorman says, in the audio commentary, is matriarchal) where barbarians (the “Brutals”) worship “Zardoz”, a stone god with the power to grant either death or eternal life, and who — in the opening scene — declares: “The gun is good! The penis is evil!”. In this future dystopia, while the Brutals live in a wasteland, their overlords (the “Eternals”) luxuriate in the Vortex, apparently as self-satisfied landed gentry. The Eternals created Zardoz to control the Brutals, inciting them to mass murder. However, Zed (Sean Connery) refuses to accept the status quo and his place among the oppressed, embarking on a journey that explores the theme of genetic engineering and exposes the devastating truth about the corrupt society he lives in [AZ: and brings an end to it, so that he is in fact Zed, the end].

The name Zardoz is extracted from one of Boorman’s inspirations for the film, the book (and movie) The Wizard of Oz. Zs — the letter Zee or Zed — abound. I somehow missed all of this back in 1974.

Letter-Z background. From my 11/3/21 posting “Z: Il dort”, notes on dormitive Z, on the Costa-Gavras film Z, and on seeing the world though Z-colored glasses, with an inventory of postings on this blog about words with initial z or Z, among them:

Zippy the Pinhead, zipper, zip-lining, the evil king Zed in The Beastmaster, Zippy Mart, Zippo lighters, the nickname Zip, ZZ Top, four performers with letter-Z professional names (Zedd, Zee, Nick Zedd, Zed)



4 Responses to “Zed of Zardoz”

  1. Lise Menn Says:

    Giggles induced.

  2. arnold zwicky Says:

    Response on Facebook from cineaste Ken Rudolph:

    KR: I recall enjoying this movie in 1974. But it defined “guilty pleasure” at the time.

    AZ > KR: It looks like a secretly enjoyable mess.

  3. arnold zwicky Says:

    Responses on Facebook from the Irish contingent:

    Éamonn McManus: I saw this movie a long time ago, probably in the 1980s, and I remember thinking it was strange but enjoyable. I don’t know what I would think of it now.

    I mention this every time it comes up: the movie was filmed on location in County Wicklow, which is the county just south of Dublin. I remember being astonished when I happened to look out of the window of a bus in Dublin and saw an illuminated sign saying Zardoz Court. It’s a set of four townhouses that was presumably built in the aftermath of the film. The houses are still there, though the sign isn’t, if Street View is to be believed.

    George V. Reilly > ÉM: it must have been bloody cold running around Wicklow in a red nappy.

    Rod Williams > ÉM: I remember the Irish Army provided hundreds of extras. A friend’s brother who swore he could ride a horse was hired to do just that, wearing a similar mankini.

    AZ > RW: Yes, an army of mankinis, apparently. [added just now: And an army of mankinis cannot fail.]

  4. Jerry Janner Says:

    Cards against Humanity had the photo, and just the photo for one of their answer cards a few years back in an expansion pack.

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