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Rich playgirl Kit Jordan (nee Katherine Lawson Chandler) is in Acapulco vacationing with her current husband, Pete Jordan, formerly an American beach boy working the Acapulco shores for rich women. Meanwhile, the body of one of Pete's fellow beach boys, Billy Andrews, washes to shore. On his wrist is a bracelet engraved with "Love is thin ice." The police investigate whether it was murder or suicide. Conflict arises when Billy's old girlfriend, Carol, makes a play for Pete, and beach boy Hank tries to score with Kit, and the stability of the marriage is put to the test. Written by
K. Jackson <email@example.com>
It May not always be "great," but it's beautiful entertainment
Much the truly best thing is still the credits with Nancy Wilson's superb performance of the Raksin-Davis title song. This is 60's "fashion sound," more like you'd expect for an Audrey Hepburn caper.
But this is pithier than the light charm of Audrey. This is more interesting than that could ever quite be. This is Lana Turner and that was always interesting, because of all major stars, she seemed most ultimately consumed by perdition. The movie often seems awful, but the relationships are so loose that the beginnings, middles and ending all seem at least possible, given all the elements of the milieu.
And Turner's wonderfully absurd costumes are thoroughly matched by an amazing performance of sustained pornography by Hugh O'Brien, as Hank, fantastically lascivious--with no more thought of giving it up to stay out of hell than Don Giovanni. And his wardrobe is almost as varied as hers is--there are several changes of beach boy bikini. It needs to be: He suggests nothing so much as Stompanato, and this is Turner's most interesting post-Stompanato picture besides 'Imitation of Life'. In both of these her burden of falseness is carried with as much courage as something that lonely must be--if we are to believe Eric Root in his 1996 book regarding her confession circa 1985 to him in New York while viewing a TV documentary or clip about the murder-how her career could not be interrupted by this moment of passionate horror; and how this may or may not have been the selfish decision to make when her daughter was involved. It may have made her a great actress from time to time; she certainly had never been more than very good before, and she was simply execrable occasionally, as in 'The Merry Widow'--an unspeakable performance, all stiffness and ignorance.
Harold Robbins's novel 'Where Love Has Gone' was based on the Stompanato-Turner affair and she wouldn't speak to him or shake his hand when once she was introduced to him.
But later, she would be cordial to him when a career move--that of 'The Survivors' for television by Robbins and co-starring George Hamilton--presented itself as expedient.
She settled rather as comfortably as possible into BEING "imitation of life"--and it was always fascinating.
Fidelity is a subject that comes up in the relationship of Kit (Turner) and Pete, her husband (Cliff Robertson) quite a lot in the movie; and thus it seems about as relative a value as possible given the circumstances, the setting (there are the well-known photographs of Lana and Stompanato in Acapulco). That makes it sad, because fidelity as something difficult is common enough (most of us have experienced its seeming near-impossibility), but here it seems as if, no matter how things appear briefly, it has ultimately vanished, is 100% inaccessible--in any arena of relationship. When Pete tells Kit after the bullfight that his new love interest,played by Stephanie Powers (there to investigate the death of a friend of hers, another lover of Kit's), "has something we all once had...a conscience," there is an interesting invective about "buying monogrammed hair shirts" that bursts from Turner's lips--the kind of line certain kinds of lazy money will definitely buy.
So that, in the title song are "play the field, I told my fickle heart"..and "I said love has many faces, and I mean to kiss every one.."And then there is "that's how it used to be, till you smiled at me, and then I knew, that not any of the many faces was love..till I looked at you.."
What one wished both.
Much of 'Love Has Many Faces' may seem trashy and campy soap opera, but it's actually tragic, it's about something that happened, even if they only halfway knew it,even if they were just trying to do something commercial.
She still looked lusciously beautiful at that age (about 45), and this age has a strange feel to it, as she goes about playing the playgirl seemingly endlessly, as if still an ingenue--reminding one of the story of the revered Bishop Nonnus of Antioch and Pelagia, the leading actress of the city, as recalled by the Desert Fathers; and when she first entered a chuch, and was overcome with the fear of God. Various "discoveries of God" happened to Lana in the last decade of her life (sometimes it was Shirley Maclaine, alas); she "surveyed the field" for God, too, it seems, and there you have it: one of the most authentic and inimitable lives of Hollywood history.
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