I recently got the chance to review the Warner Archive DVD release of THE LOVE MACHINE (1971) based on Jacqueline “Valley of the Dolls” Susann’s book and naturally I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve mentioned the film at Cinebeats before during my farewell post to John Phillip Law, which was written after he passed away in 2008. I think it’s a great film so I went to bat for it at the Movie Morlocks this week. It’s not an easy movie to recommend. It’s been mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000, bashed by an endless parade of critics over the years and celebrated as a kitsch classic worthy of cult camp status and not much else, but I think it’s got more to offer than unintentional laughs. Few films feature three leading men that I absolutely love (John Phillip Law, Robert Ryan AND David Hemmings!) as well as Hammer glamour girls, Mary and Madeleine Collinson (TWINS OF EVIL), Anitra Ford (INVASION OF THE BEE GIRLS) and ’60s beauty icon Lynda Moran just to name a few of the lovely ladies in this film. THE LOVE MACHINE also contains lots of fabulous ’70s fashions, plus stylish decor by the likes of Burke and inspired by designer Eero Saarinen. Do I need to say anymore? If you’re a Cinebeats’ reader chances are you’re going to enjoy this film as much as I do. An excerpt from my post:
“Taken seriously, THE LOVE MACHINE could be seen as an interesting predecessor to NETWORK (1976), which depicted the drama unfolding in the boardrooms and backrooms of high-powered television networks. The film also smartly critiques our blind fascination with popular news personalities who often manipulate the public trust for their own gain. Like Mark Robson, who adapted VALLEY OF THE DOLLS, director Jack Haley Jr. was obviously inspired by filmmakers like John M. Stahl and Douglas Sirk who created shrewd and stylish melodramas in the 1940s and ‘50s such as MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN and ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. And although I wouldn’t categorize THE LOVE MACHINE as a “woman’s picture” it was based on a woman’s novel that appealed to a large female audience. As a period piece, THE LOVE MACHINE is an unusual time capsule. It’s of its time and yet totally outside it. But as pure entertainment I think it has lots of visual interest and an oddly involving (and at times convoluted) plot. However you decided to approach the film, I think it makes for some unforgettable viewing.”
You can find my full post about THE LOVE MACHINE at The Movie Morlocks:
– Jacqueline Susann’s The Love Machine @ TCM’s Classic Movie Blog
I also created a Flickr Gallery for THE LOVE MACHINE that you can view here.