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The Love Machine

The Love Machine – 1971
Jack Haley Jr.

Jacqueline Susann  – novel
Samuel A. Taylor – screenplay

John Phillip Law
Dyan Cannon
Robert Ryan


Review by Wayne Malin

Terrible but somewhat interesting,

Movie based on Jacqueline Susann’s best-selling novel. It’s about Robin Stone (John Phillip Law) a ruthless TV anchorman who claws his way to the top. It details his love life concentrating on Amanda (Jodi Wexler) and Judith (Dyan Cannon). It also shows his total inability to commit to anyone and instead sleeps with any woman he can get.

The novel is no work of art (it’s not even good literature) but it’s a quick, silly, trashy read. But this movie makes it seem like “Gone With the Wind”! This is a textbook example of how NOT to do a movie adaptation. First they condense the novel terribly. In the book Stone’s inability to commit is dealt with and it’s revealed why. Here it’s brought up…and ignored. Also there’s a truly revolting scene in which a woman is brutally beaten. It’s in the book–but there IS a reason totally left out of the movie. And the book dealt with three women–not two. Don’t even get me started on the homophobia.

Adaptation aside the acting is pretty terrible. Law is just horrendous as Stone–VERY wooden and boring–you seriously wonder why all these women are after him. To be fair to Law–another actor was cast but had a very bad accident before shooting began and Law stepped in at the last minute. Wexler is terrible as Amanda; Maureen Arthur is truly astoundingly bad as Ethel Evans; Shecky Greene is unbearable as Christie Lane. Only three performances stand out: David Hemmings (having a GREAT time) camps it up as a gay photographer; Cannon is actually very good and Robert Ryan is just great. Also Dionne Warwick sings the catchy opening song (“He’s Moving On”).

It IS bad but I watched the whole thing and it is (in a silly sort of way) a lot of fun. I’m giving it a 3.

Also Jacqueline Susann has a cameo as a newscaster.

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70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

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