Whenever I feel like watching some delicious trash, I always want to include my partner in the ritual. Whether it’s a soap opera (DYNASTY nowadays mostly) or an over-the-top film (you name it, I’ve seen it) I always find the need, for some reason, to share my absolute love for this genre. Since he’s such a good sport about it, he’s always game in sitting through one, no matter how bad (or so he says) some turn out to be. The latest is none other than THE LOVE MACHINE, the 1971 epic—yes, epic—screen adaptation of the Jacqueline Susann best-seller. The reason for viewing this one with my honey is simple: John Philip Law. Always preferable to have a good-looking on-screen guy in your corner when viewing time beckons. It so sweetens the pill. And believe you me, this film needs all the sweetness it can handle.
As in the novel, three central women gravitate around Robin (besides the slew of wacky secondary characters), but for time-restricted reasons only two are really spotlighted. The last chick, Maggie, played by former THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS star Sharon Ferrel, is almost rendered to a walk-on as she adds absolutely nothing to the plot. One who does, however, is model of the moment Jodi Wexler (whatever happened to her?) who’s unable to keep her hands off of Stone during the film’s first half. She’s absolutely a sight for sore eyes but is built like a boy, meaning she has no tits. It’s all fine with Stone. “Anything you haven’t got, you don’t need”, he replies almost gleefully, adding another layer of innuendo regarding the character’s sexual preferences. Indeed, from his close relationship with gay photographer David Hemmings to his brutal beating of a tranny-like prostitute, the film makes you wonder if Robin isn’t really a closet homosexual after all—or bisexual at least. Since it’s 1971 and the subject matter has been taken as far as it can go, the director keeps mum about it. But does it really matter? Because whether the protagonist digs dames or dudes, whether he looses or keeps his high-paying job after that crazed but delightful survival of the fittest scene with la Cannon, songstress Dionne Warwick says it best in the end: he’s moving on; that’s Robin Stone.
THE LOVE MACHINE is now available on DVD from Sony Pictures. The disc holds no extra features but has a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer almost free of dust and debris. The sound quality is a pleasant 2.0 stereo. Go check it out and force a loved one to submit to it.