Jacqueline Susann’s The Love Machine (1971)

Jacqueline Susann's The Love Machine (1971)

Synopsis:

John Phillip Law (Barbarella) plays an ambitious TV personality (nicknamed “the love machine”), who beds his way to the top. The TV star eventually finds out that fame and fortune is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Oh, Jacquie! You did it again. If you are forty-years-old or older you’ll remember the Jacqueline Susann craze of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Not unlike today’s E. L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey, Susann wrote trash that the ravenous masses devoured with glee. The film adaptations of her books were trash too.

The Love Machine, written by playwright Samuel A. Taylor (Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Topaz), and directed by Jack Haley Jr. (Norwood), is based on Susann’s second book of the same name. I quickly filed it under the “so-bad-it’s-good” category. I knew it was bad, but I just couldn’t make myself look away.

The Love Machine is essentially a hit piece on the TV industry, and its ardent fans. It plays like a camp version of Paddy Chayefsky’s 1976 classic Network. Taylor, who is better known for his play Sabrina Fair, wrote a mindbogglingly inept script. Dialogue provokes unintended laughs. The situations are not believable. Were we supposed to take the film seriously or not? It’s never clear.

The acting is terrible too. Law’s god-awful performance will leave you speechless. David Hemmings’s nasty gay photographer must be seen to be believed. Hemmings (Blow-Up) has a memorable “cat fight” with Dyan Cannon (Heaven Can Wait), who plays a sex-starved socialite. That scene alone is worth sitting through the movie. Robert Ryan (Crossfire) somewhat manages to come out of it unscathed.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

The Love Machine is hilariously bad from start to finish, and yes, fun in a weird kind of way. A must for fans of bad cinema. With Jackie Cooper (Superman), Sharon Farrell (Night of the Comet), Leigh Christian (The World’s Greatest Athlete), and Gayle Hunnicutt (The Legend of Hell House). Color, 105 minutes, Rated R.

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