Wednesday, January 22, 2014

"Love" is a Many Splendored Thing

In The Underworld, we adore literary phenomenon Jacqueline Susann, both for the limited number of juicy novels she penned and for the staggeringly bad (and thus deliciously enjoyable) film adaptations that were made of three of them. We touched on the first, Valley of the Dolls (1967), and explored the third, Jacqueline Susann's Once is Not Enough (1975), and today are going to celebrate the middle one, The Love Machine (1971.)

Susann, a one-time actress, early TV spokesmodel and New York society fixture, had published a novelty book in 1963 at the urging of her friends called Every Night, Josephine!, all about the exploits of her pet poodle. She next turned to sites to the glittering, yet destructive, world of show business for Valley of the Dolls, published in 1966 and an unbelievable success.

Her frank, searing, salacious (and jarringly straightforward) writing style upset many critics and several of her contemporaries, but fans lapped up her engrossing material like mother's milk. Her relentless promotion of her work, both on TV and in cross-country tours, with her husband-manager Irving Mansfield helped to ensure success. The flamboyant authoress, with a thick mane of raven hair and an assortment of colorful Pucci print get-ups, was a great talk show guest, brimming with personality.

Her follow-up to Dolls was 1969's The Love Machine, an expose of the television industry featuring a protagonist named Robin Stone with such chivalrous attributes as serial bed-hopping, physical abuse of women and the sexual use of ladies in his life in order to get ahead in business. The title referred not only to TV sets themselves, which were implied to be seductive devices that heightened feelings of romance (and were witnesses to the results), but also to the lead character, who mechanically went from woman to woman with scarcely a backward glance.
Few critics had praised the 1967 movie adaptation Valley of the Dolls, but it was a scorching success at the box office, raking in ten times its budget. It was inevitable then that a film version of The Love Machine would be forthcoming. Unhappy with changes to her storyline and characters in Dolls (a 20th Century Fox film), Susann this time had her husband Mansfield executive producing The Love Machine at Columbia Pictures. Susann's personal choice for the lead was granite-jawed Charlton Heston, who caught her attention as the semi-(and rear) nude hero of Planet of the Apes (1968), but he wasn't interested in the part at all.

Ultimately, the darkly handsome Brian Kelly (of Flipper!) was chosen as the star - and title character? - of The Love Machine, he eager to escape the trappings of having played the dad on a children-oriented TV series. On Flipper (1966-1967), he was frequently shirtless, so that much wasn't going to be any big challenge, but the sordid story material would be a decided shift. He also lightened his hair somewhat to further separate himself from his prior image.

He'd already shot a TV movie called Drive Hard, Drive Fast (which wouldn't be aired until 1973 for some reason, even though it was made in 1969.) Seen here with comely costars Karen Huston (later the wife of John Ericson) and Miss Joan Collins, he played a race car driver being stalked by a machete-wielding meanie played by Henry Silva.

Sadly, just three weeks into filming The Love Machine, Kelly was severely injured when a motorcycle he had borrowed suddenly exploded, leaving him with a paralyzed arm and leg and with some speech issues, effectively ending his acting career. He later parlayed the settlement money into ventures such as film producing (Blade Runner, 1983, being one) and home construction. Look what I have here... a rare still photo from the set of The Love Machine with him in costume speaking with costar David Hemmings.

Thus, the leading man of this rather elaborate production had to be hastily recast and some scenes re-shot. Tall, lanky (and smooth rather than hairy) John Phillip Law was brought in, with, literally, zero time to prepare. He even wound up stuck in some of the clothing that had been designed for Kelly, even though Kelly was three inches shorter with a different build!
Now, on to the plot... The Love Machine opens with shots of Law interacting with various friends and females all around New York City while the movie's theme song “He's Movin' On” is sung by the same vocalist who performed the love theme from Valley of the Dolls, Dionne Warwick (inexplicably billed here and even on the movie's soundtrack album as “Dionne Warwicke!”)
He's next shown delivering a special news feature on TV. We can thank God above that the focus is on fashion photography because what comes next is a delirious parade of eye-scorching '70s clothes, all courtesy of costume designer Moss Mabry, with Anitra Ford (an early model on The Price is Right), Beverly Gill (who would later be a passenger in Airport '77!) and others.

The shoot is presided over by an old pal of Law's, a flamboyantly gay photographer played by David Hemmings (who had costarred with Law in Barbarella in 1968) and watched on television by a purring Dyan Cannon, who is clearly enjoying what she's seeing (and I ain't talkin' about the clothes.) Cannon happens to be the younger wife of the network president, so it's a good thing for law when he catches her attention.

Law, a successful, charismatic local news anchor is hauling in considerable ratings for his (fictional) network IBS, which is run by iron-fisted, but sensible, Robert Ryan. Ryan, after listening to the advice of his captivated younger wife and acknowledging that Law is appealing to the youth market, decides that Law belongs on the network news, not local, and swiftly promotes him.

Immediately following the fashion shoot piece, Law winds up in bed with one of the models, a pretty, but insecure (and by her own admission, flat-chested), blonde played by Jodi Wexler. She falls for him fast and hard, though he makes no promises on his end.

Before long, Law has graduated to the head of network news, which puts him into conflict (over airtime and special news programming) with the head of entertainment programming Jackie Cooper. Ryan watched with bemusement as these two butt heads over what ought to go on the air and why.

Meanwhile, Law is still fooling around with Wexler and he's managed to completely envelop and enrapture her. They have a pet bird that he found, injured, and she acts as if it's their child and then buys him a ring in the shape of an ankh, an Egyptian symbol that permeated the source novel and pops up in this movie repeatedly, too.
Wexler not only helps show off a positively jaw-dropping array of mod, early-'70s fashions in print ads, but also appears in TV commercials, all shot by star photographer David Hemmings. Hemmings, wearing a loony, glued-on beard, is as gay as a goose and, like most people in the movie, has the hots for Law himself (and a genuine affection for the weak-willed Wexler.) He is bothered when, during a photo shoot, he notices a bruise on her chin that Wexler is having difficulty covering up properly with make-up.

The bruise came about when Wexler attempted to slip out of Law's bed the night before because of her early call that morning. Law (in a character trait that is never explored in the movie version of the story) can't bear to be “left” at night and takes her attempt to go home and get some real rest before a modeling assignment as a personal betrayal worthy of a whack across the face!

Even though Hemmings is Wexler's friend and confidante, she can't help but be annoyed at his presence at law's house and his not-really-veiled interest in Law for himself. For Law's part, he's purportedly 100% straight and tells Hemmings he likes him because he doesn't make passes for him.
As Law's stock at the station continues to rise, he continues to get a rise out of Ryan's curvy wife Cannon, who always seems to be gently pushing Ryan to favor him in the various situations that arise at IBS.

Then there's the office pass-around girl Maureen Arthur, who has bagged practically every straight man in the building. She gives the usually-open-to-suggestion Law a pass, but perhaps it's all too easy because he turns her down. In what would later come back to haunt him, he tosses her off with a kidding suggestion that he might actually be playing around with the flagrantly gay Hemmings, though he is not.

He is, however, stepping out on Wexler, though she isn't aware of it. He simply cannot be alone in bed and is shown cavorting with perky Claudia Jennings (whose character is never even introduced, really. Like many of the women in this film, she is almost like the “furniture” as described in the later Soylent Green, 1973.)
When Law and Cooper square off about a news program that Law wants to air in prime time (think 60 Minutes or 20/20), Cooper declares that he will come up with a show whose ratings are so good, Ryan won't even consider lending airtime to such nuisances as prime-time news programs.

He arranges for a variety show to be produced that he knows in advance will be lowbrow, but which audiences will adore. The show is headlined by Shecky Greene, a paunchy comedian (whose character is named Christie Lane, no relation to the female country singer Christy Lane whose career was just beginning to develop around this same time!)
The resident model on the show for sponsor commercials is Law's old bedmate Wexler, who is unaware that she has been systematically shuffled out of his life in favor of new conquests. She thinks that he has just been busy running the station, but he's also been busy with a new playmate, the busty Alexandra Hay.

The night of the first broadcast of Greene's program, Wexler performs in a purportedly live commercial for Xanadu perfume (a real Faberge product that was cross-promoted with the movie) in which her elaborate hair and clothing change throughout in a way that would be utterly impossible “live.” Law watches with interest from his bed, with Hay cuddled next to him!

Cannon can hardly believe the awful, schticky program that Ryan's network is airing, but there's no denying the ratings which are pretty much what it's all about. There is a nearly THIRTY-YEAR age gap between Ryan and Cannon, but I really can't deny that they make a believable and attractive couple as shown here.

As soon as the broadcast is over, Wexler hurries to Law's apartment to find him in one of his prolific dark blue bathrobes, reluctant to let her in the door. She persists until he finally resigns himself to it, whereupon the buxom Hay sidles out casually, practically rubbing her voluptuousness in Wexler's face.
A crestfallen Wexler heads to the opening night party for her show at a place called Danny's Hide-A-Way where Greene is lording his success over everyone at the table. As she struggles to hold it together during the celebration, Law cruelly walks in with Hay, then comes over to the table to congratulate everyone!

In a fit of despair (certainly not revenge, I shouldn't think!), Wexler, medicated with booze, next goes home with Greene and proceeds to become his girl. They couldn't be a less likely couple, though he is in it for the bragging rights and personal comfort and she is in it for security.

Law still makes on-air appearances, such as when he interviews Shakespearean actor Clinton Greyn on the set of a TV version of Hamlet. During the spot, Law had arranged for a girl (Sharon Farrell) to come and play Ophelia, but despite her preparation, she is cut off dead by Greyn and then Law, too.

After finding out that he has annoyed Cannon by ignoring one of her party invitations, Law tries to make peace with her by meeting her for “lunch.” It's not long at all before they are in the sack and she (like everyone else, magnetized to him) starts persistently needling him about a key of her own to his state-of-the-art-ugly high-rise apartment.
One day, while Law and Cannon are canoodling around in bed, Ryan promptly drops of a heart attack! Law finds out at the station that Ryan is being shuttled frantically to the hospital where a breathless Cannon soon heads herself.

Though Ryan pulls through, he is in need of significant recuperation and must be free of stress. To that end, Cannon arranges to take him out of the country for a much-needed respite from the television station and advises the network's chief attorney to appoint Law as the acting president of IBS! Why she chooses to wear this S&M-like get-up in order to make the decision is something only God and Moss Mabry know...
This development causes even more friction at IBS and finally Cooper and Law have it out one too many times with Cooper departing the station for good.

Wexler, though she has been replaced by a series of playthings in Law's bed, still can't quite come to grips with losing him. Even though she's been stuck with Greene, she can endure no more and eventually checks out, but not before unleashing a brief meltdown onto Greene in the presence of several office workers.

Greene, doesn't waste any time in the wake of Wexler's exit and tells his managers that he is tired of ladies and this time wants a bum, a tramp. Conveniently, busty publicity floozie Arthur is on site and quickly decides she will be his permanent mattress mate in exchange for the clout that comes with being the girl of a hot new TV personality. (See if you can count how many ugly patterns are conflicting in this photo!)

Law, in a rare mood of despondency and dejection, takes to the streets, wandering rather aimlessly in search of something, anything, anyone to take his mind off of Wexler and what he did to her. He comes upon a tall prostitute (Eve Bruce, billed as “Amazon Woman” in the credits!) with thick black hair and follows her back to her shoddy apartment. Unfortunately, before they can get down to business, she whoops off her wig and displays a head of long blonde hair that now turns Law off.
She begins to taunt him, accusing him of being gay and he goes bat-shit on her, swatting her around the room mercilessly while she screams to no avail. Afterwards, he heads to photog Hemmings' apartment for some first aid and make-up camouflage to his battered knuckles.
Hemmings carefully covers up the marks on his hands and gives him some extra cosmetic for touch-ups (smart since they are doing this in the middle of the night and one presumes that Law might shower or wash his hands in the meantime?!)

Law, truly grateful for once, asks if there is anything he can do for Hemmings. Since the #1 favor on Hemmings' list is out of the question, he opts for a gold “slave bracelet,” selected by him and engraved to his liking, to be charged in full to Law, who agrees.

The dethroned Cooper decides to exact a certain kind of revenge on Law by secretly selling him television product that he is producing, but using Law's own friend Hemmings as a front (a Trojan Horse, if you will.)  This was he can make money off of Law without him even knowing it and still remain a player in the TV biz.  Hemmings, unhappy with Law at this time, acquiesces and takes part in the plan.

Ryan is soon finally back home, unhappy about the station's programming, and begins to decide how best to handle the situation. He wants to reassume his position, but knows he can't possibly take on the monster he's created. Law even tells him to his face he is not going to share duties at the station! His attorney briefs him on the goings on at IBS and reveals that Law may have violated the morals clause of his contract (thanks to his chummy association with Hemmings, which they take to be sexual in nature.) It seems that Law has now begun production on two more Hemmings-produced shows and that the special attention he's giving to them (even though they are good) is raising eyebrows.
Cannon can't believe that the insatiable Law has gone gay on her and determines that they need to get back in the saddle again for some more fun times now that she's back. Law puts her off, time and again, to her frustration until she remembers that she did, in fact, wrangle a key out of him for his apartment.

In what is probably the raciest (and nearly the most memorable) scenes in the movie, she heads to his place to seduce him and finds the place mostly silent except for the creepy music of an old horror movie playing on one of his four TVs. She turns the corner to find him in bed with twin sisters!

They hop in the shower to rinse off and an enraged Cannon piles all of their clothes onto the bed, sprinkles the whole works with booze and lights it on fire! The room is soon a raging inferno while Law is exchanging loofas with his latest toy girls. Try that one, Carrie Underwood!
Things begin to spiral to a frenzied conclusion when everyone heads out to L.A. for meetings and consultations about the new series that Hemmings is creating. Hemmings, who is now shacked up with the stage star Greyn, invites Law to a party he's throwing, the two of them draped on a couch together like two villains in an old sandal and toga movie.

Law bumps into Cannon at the Bel-Air Hotel (and she's engulfed in one of the most vomitous creations ever put forth on the cinema screen!) It seems Ryan has to attend a conference that evening, so Cannon agrees to go with Law to Hemmings' party.
As the night wears on, a bored Cannon is beginning to wonder why Law insists on hanging out with these two fruits when he could be back at the hotel doing her. Just then she finds the engraved slave bracelet that Hemmings had made and it contains a fairly suggestive inscription that causes her to lose her composure.
What follows is a climactic catfight between Cannon and Hemmings that must be seen to be believed while Law and Greyn have it out in their own sideshow. (Actually, all three men have a go at wrestling with Cannon!) The raucous bust-up has all four of them scrambling around the room, throwing things and finally coming to a head (literally!) when an Oscar statuette (or reasonable facsimile thereof) connects with one of their craniums!
Precious little of the surprisingly convoluted plot is resolved with various members of the cast exiting the police station and wandering off their separate ways. Law, after a brief interlude with Farrell (whose part in the book was FAR more significant) keeps “movin' on” to the music of Dionne Warwick(e)...

Few people out there are going to accuse The Love Machine of being “good.” It's actually rather godawful, poorly constructed, littered with too many characters and tacky whenever it can be. However, as bad movies go, it's a total winner. The sets, hairstyles and costumes alone (all lit up by the TV-style flood lighting that permeates most of the movie) make it worth a look.

I happen to love Moss Mabry and cannot count how many films he'd done in which the ladies looked positively sensational, but mercy me he missed the mark most of the time here! The clothing rarely fits the place or occasion, but is there for the sake of drawing attention to itself. Some of Cannon's things are attractive (and I like her up-do here), but more often, she's caught in these bear-trap belts and wacky styles and patterns.

This sketch is for a gown that I don't believe was ever seen in the movie! It was probably deemed too attractive and ordinary to make the cut...
The director of the film was Jack Haley Jr (whose dad played The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz in 1939.) Typically more of a documentary director and producer, he's generally out of his element in this elaborate, crowded soap opera, though there are decidedly creative touches here and there, often involving music. He would later marry Liza Minnelli from 1974 -1979, which was probably a soap opera in itself! He passed away in 2001 of respiratory failure at age sixty-seven.

Law has been severely criticized for years as being wooden in this film and surely he's not amazing, but he's also not the stick that many people have accused him of being. He definitely colors his one-dimensional role with shades of emotion. It's just not a particularly fleshed-out part and he had less than zero time to prepare for it.
At least he's easy on the eyes. He first came to prominence as a young Soviet in the comedy The Russians are Coming, the Russians are Coming (1966) and was in Barbarella (1968) and Danger: Diabolik (1968) though some of films were decidedly wrong-headed, including two for Otto Preminger, HurrySundown (1967) and Skidoo (1968.) Though he continued to work for a few decades, his popularity had waned almost fully by the dawn of the '80s. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 at age seventy.

Generally speaking, I am not all that fond of Cannon these days, but in the 1960s and '70s, I find her positively delectable! She'd begun acting on TV in the late-'50s and gave up her career in 1965 to marry Cary Grant (that real-life thirty-three year age difference making her PERFECT casting here!) After their 1968 divorce, she burst back onto the scene in a big way with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969), followed by a string of films in which her awesome, tan, frosted looks and snarky personality were put to great use.
She was terrific but miserably underutilized in Doctor's Wives, made a nice match with Sean Connery in The Anderson Tapes and then starred in Such Good Friends for the tyrannical Otto Preminger, and these were all just 1971 releases! Having watched her closely in The Love Machine, I think she is quite terrific in it and exudes all sorts of charismatic style and subtext throughout (in spite of some of those crazy duds she's in.) Still with us at seventy-seven, she's branched out into directing and has returned to TV in addition to occasional movie work.

Ryan, a highly-respected, workmanlike performer, adds a level of prestige to this tawdry affair. Active on screen since 1940, one of his prior films to this had been The Wild Bunch (1969), but Ryan was an actor who simply enjoyed working steadily. Sadly, he would be gone just a couple of years after this in 1973 from lung cancer at only age sixty-three (though by then he'd already done an Off-Broadway run of “Long Day's Journey Into Night” and a half dozen more movies!)

Many folks may remember Cooper as Daily Planet editor Perry White in the Christopher Reeve series of Superman movies (1978-1987), though he'd been famous since the late-1920s as a child actor, notably costarring with Wallace Beery in The Champ (1931) among others. He later became a prolific TV series director and lived to be eighty-eight years old, passing away in 2011 of natural causes.

Hemmings, who'd been working in movies since the mid-to-late '50s, was riding the wave of success that came with Blow-Up (1966, in which he was a straight photographer), Camelot (1967) and Barbarella (1968.) His wife at the time, Gayle Hunnicutt, has a cameo in Machine as a starlet into astrology. As his brief time as a leading man began to falter, he turned to directing movies and TV while continuing to perform character parts. He died of a heart attack in 2003 at only age sixty-two, having been married four times and the father of six children.

This was the film debut and swan song of angular Wexler, who apparently never worked on screen before or after this movie! Clearly meant to evoke the tragically murdered costar of Valley of the Dolls Sharon Tate (but without Tate's innate radiance), she demonstrated palpable emotion, but her role is so bubble-headed that she doesn't come off particularly well in the final analysis.

She's also saddled with a horrible “fall” that only marginally matches her own dishwater blonde hair. No one styled this at all. They just attached the poker straight, monochromatic, very phony-looking wiglet onto the crown of her head and let the chips fall where they may... Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of what ever became of this actress.

Arthur might be familiar to fans of the 1967 film How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, in which she played a similar – though more outwardly comic – office bimbo. Her work here is hysterically sultry and overstated, always seemingly on the verge of bored ecstacy, but in truth she adds much life to the film during her scenes. Married for over three decades to prolific TV producer Aaron Ruben, she continued to work here and there until the early-1990s and is seventy-nine now.
Nightclub comedian Greene had done some dramatic work on the TV series Combat! (1962-1963) and worked in Tony Rome (1967) with Frank Sintra before playing a buffoonish version of himself here. It was actually rather brave to blur the lines of his life and art, lest the public confuse the two. (His character refers to being on “The Johnny Carson Show” - Greene was on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson forty times.) He's still kicking today at age eighty-seven!

Also still alive is Greyn at age seventy-seven. The Welsh actor had been active on British TV before appearing in 1969's Goodbye, Mr. Chips and 1971's Raid on Rommel. After his brief stint in the U.S., he headed back to the U.K. where his TV appearances included several on Dr. Who (1980-1985.)

Hay had made a few bit parts in movies like Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) and The Ambushers (1967) before taking the ingenue role in Otto Preminger's Skidoo (1968), the role Faye Dunaway sued Preminger over in order to not perform it! In Skidoo, she and Law (as a hippie, see below) were frequently snuggled up to one another, so this movie was deja vu for them. Her career went nowhere to speak of after the high-level flop Skidoo and the critical failure of Machine and by the end of the '70s, she was out of the business. Sadly, she died of heart disease in 1993 at only age forty-six.
The novel was divided into three segments: Amanda, Maggie and Judith (played in the film by Wexler, Farrell and Cannon.) Farrell's character got, by far, the shortest shrift in the movie. She barely appears at all, though she was a key figure in the book (and it seems as if her part was larger prior to the final cut of the film.) Farrell enjoyed a busy career on TV and in movies from the early-'60s through the late-'90s, notably spending time on The Young and the Restless (1991-1996), though in 1963 she suffered an embolism that wiped her memory clean! She had to relearn practically everything. Now seventy-three, she makes the occasional appearance on TV.

I have a feeling that there was quite a bit snipped out of the film here and there since there are costumes designed but never seen, rapid shifts in the characters' relationships, re-shoots, some choppy editing and lobby photos like this one of moments that are not seen in the movie itself.

I almost forgot about poor Miss Susann, who has a cameo appearance as a TV newscaster in the movie! After another best-selling novel (“Once is Not Enough” in 1973), she began to suffer from cancer in the lung and breast. She attempted one more book (“Dolores,” which was finished by her pal Rex Reed and published posthumously) but passed away in 1974 at age fifty-six.

She remains a fascinating personality to this day with biographies and movies about her springing up from time to time. Her widower Mansfield lived to be eighty-eight, passing away in 1988 of a heart attack.
If for nothing else, The Love Machine has value as an eye- catching feast of early-1970s style, rancid at times as it may be. The office has a WTF pink powder room with dressing tables, showers and so on in which the secretaries gather to gossip, touch up their hair and makeup and smoke. The movie is so heavily populated that there is always some new “look” to take in!

When compared to the countless tawdry, gross-out movies that have come along in the meantime, there's a tameness to it all now that makes one wonder how anyone could have been shocked by it back then. It even comes off as rather stylish and tasteful at times despite the squalid storyline. And, really, the script by Samuel A. Taylor, the man who brought us Sabrina (1954) and Vertigo (1958) folks, is peppered with some wry lines along the way. Some of the TV business material wound up being somewhat observant and even prescient. Susann had used some of her inside knowledge as a television personality (that's husband Irving behind Beatrice Cole and her in this photo from It's Always Albert) to inject aspects of real life CBS giants William S. Paley, James Aubrey and Fred Friendly into the novel's storyline.

Oh, one last thing... The two chicks in the shower with Law were played by real-life twins Madeleine and Marie Collinson, who'd previously done the first dual nude pictorial in Playboy magazine and who most often worked together (and often scantily-clad or nude.) Their popularity was brief, ending this same year, but they do still have their fans. Though the movie only shows the most fleeting glimpse of Law's backside (through a wooden screen) as he darts to the shower with the girls, this grainy on-set photo shot from above seems to reveal more! See what you think.


VanceMan said...

I'm sad that I know why it was "Dionne Warwicke" at one point. She added the "e" on the advice on an astrologer; when whatever was supposed to happen didn't, she dropped the "e". (And one would think she'd have learned to beware psychic phenomena from that incident, but she quite obviously and publicly didn't.)

Ken Anderson said...

Another big favorite! Although this is a film I've seen countless times, I was able to learn a lot I didn't known about the cast and behind the scenes. The clothes! Especially thrilled by the shot of Hemmings and Kelly (and Chipper) complete with ankh ring. What a find! Thanks for another an entertaining, informative (and very funny) look at a movie that, even after all these years, keeps paying bad-taste dividends.

Joe Kenney said...

What a great's obvious how much work you put into this. I really enjoyed the screengrabs and the behind-the-scenes photos, which I'm betting were not easy to find.

I bought the Love Machine MOD DVD the other year; luckily it's been released on disc, but as one of those overpriced made on demand deals. However the picture quality is good, though of course it lacks any special features.

You summed it up best with "TV movie." Watching it that one time a few years ago, all I could think was that it looked just like a TV movie of the era, only with a little more nudity and cursing. I keep meaning to rewatch it. I for one really enjoyed the mod '70s fashions...and I loved the little psychedelic TV fashion commercial featured early in the film.

And that finale does need to be seen to be believed. In fact I described the finale the exact same way when describing it to a friend. I have to say, Dyan Cannon really holds her own in that catfight! (And yes, I too enjoyed her in The Anderson Tapes, which I think is one of the best forgotten movies of the '70s...and luckily it's available on Blu-Ray.)

Also appreciated your references to Susann's source novel. I have a copy of it but haven't read it. I have read that the majority of the salacious stuff was removed for the film version, however the template was still there...nothing like the film adaptation of Harold Robbins's The Adventurers, which despite the "nothing has been removed" advertising taglines, was nothing like the source material, even taking place in an entirely different era.

So far I've only read one Susann novel, Once Is Not Enough. Not to plug my own blog, but I reviewed it last year, if you are interested:

It would be great if someday we could see Susann's original sci-fi finale for that novel. At any rate, this great post of yours now has me determined to rewatch The Love Machine. Oh, and count me a fan of John Philip Law as well...I think if anything, poor choices ruined his career...I mean by the '80s he was starring in completely horrible crap like Space Mutiny, which was lampooned so capably in an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Gingerguy said...

As a kid in the NY/NJ area we had "Jacqueline Susann week" on the 4:30 movie. It would be a whole week of heavily edited tawdriness (for us boys who weren't outside playing baseball). "Valley" was shown in two parts and the rest of the week filled in with "The Love Machine" and "Once Is Not Enough". I loved Dyan Cannon in this, "Doctor's Wives" had been my first movie ever, at a Drive-in. I watched it in pajamas from the back seat. She is a pint sized, fierce bitch in this. I got this on a bootleg dvd a few years ago, and now the homophobia really sticks out, as well as just plain meanness. But...awesome clothes and the always welcome fashion sequence make it a worthwhile viewing. Thanks for the posting Poseiden!

normadesmond said...

1. who knew shecky was still alive.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, what a fabulous name
for a network!
3. kudos on that great plug in liz smith's column!
you must be on cloud 10!

rico said...

I always felt the same way about Moss Mabry's latter day venture in film costuming as Travilla: WTF?

Both were fun and fab in their respective studio design days...but their attempts at being "with it" in the late '60s were totally "out of it"!

But still crazily fascinating!

"Love" this post!

Ken Anderson said...

Me again...
An earlier commenter mentioned you got a plug in Liz Smith's column and I just had to check it out.
What a terrific rave!!
She is, of course correct in calling attention to your blog's great images, informativeness and laugh-out-loud humor, and I'm just thrilled to have it acknowledged in such a glam/high-profile way. Congrats! And keep up the good work!

Donna Lethal said...

Oh, this is one of my favorite bad movies. Ankh power!

Poseidon3 said...

Hello, my loves! So sorry I haven't been able to come back and address your comments until now.

VanceMan - Thank you very much for the insight into the name change for Dionne. It seemed inconceivable that a "mistake" could carry through the film credits to the album, etc... Your answer makes sense! (For the confusing situation, not Ms. W!)

Ken - If you (or anyone else) happened to have looked at the photo of Brian and David more than once and thought something odd was going on, here is what happened. I looked at the picture, saw that the ankh was on Brian's right pinky and thought, "Oh, this negative's been reversed" as often occurred back in the day. (JPL had the ring on his left pinky.) So I "corrected" it. Then I realized that David's hair part was all wrong!! So I reverted it back! I guess the men just wore the ring on different hands from one another...

Joe Kenney - Thanks so much for your insightful comments, compliments, etc... I have visited your blog before (and recently.) I think we had a connection at some point over "The Adventurers" which is a splendiferously bad movie I adore. You definitely need to read the novel The Love Machine. Susann is very readable IMHO. I haven't read the book myself in probably 15 or more years and am considering doing so again soon! As for JPL, I often wondered if somehow his role in "The Sergeant" didn't also help taint his career. Many actors who played in movies about homosexuality wound up slipping through the cracks soon after (and Rod Steiger was firmly established enough - a Brando was in "Reflections" - not to bear any of the fallout.)

Gingerguy - I have immense trouble watching "Doctor's Wives" because of that heart surgery scene which keeps popping onto the screen for what seems like an eternity. I would love it if not for that (but still will watch it again through semi-closed fingers!) I'm a wimp when it comes to that stuff...

Norma - Always great to see you and read your witty, concise remarks!! :-) Um, regarding #3 I am still rather agog...

Rico - Do you recall when Travilla took over the clothing on "Dallas" and made Victoria Principal and Linda Gray look preposterous more than a few times?? LOL Poor Linda seemed to suffer the most (and Susan Howard too!)

Donna - Again, great to see you wading into The Underworld again! The hair and clothing in this movie are so much fun... Soon, the more flat and dreary type of '70s looks would be in vogue, but there was still a bit of '60s fun hanging around at this juncture.

There are more looks in the movie than I was able to capture in this (long!) post for anyone who wants to check it out.

Ken - I have tried to contact Ms. Smith to thank her, but so far don't seem to have gotten through. I tried a different e-mail account (from work!) on Friday, so maybe Monday I will have had success when I go in. I can tell you that she is 90 years old and still sharp as a tack (and working!) and it thrills me no end that she would bother coming here when there are so many places to surf the web... Thanks so much for your endorsements, too!

fandex said...

Just a little more on Ms. Warwick, an astrologer told her that she had 13 letters in her name, and that was bad luck. She added the "e" to make it 14. Ironically, after she added the extra letter, her hits seemed to dry up. She wisely went back to the original spelling.

fandanzi said...

I love your posts! That said, it is true that John Phillip Law's acting was like a wooden stick (apologies to wooden sticks). He was incredibly handsome, but that does not make a actor. His best role was as the angel in Barbarella--all he had to do was look good and hang on tight to Jane Fonda!

Tom Murray said...

Jodi Wexler married an advertising executive and moved home to Oklahoma. She died in 2013. She was still beautiful and never regretted never acting again.