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The Love Machine
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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Terrible but somewhat interesting

Author: preppy-3 from United States
7 August 2004

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. However, compared to this movie, it seems like a masterpiece of fiction! 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. Characters from the book are either totally left out or changed completely. One of them (Maggie) pops up for two pointless scenes and then disappears completely! 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. The movie is almost worth sitting through for a no holds barred fight at the end between Law, Cannon and David Hemmings.

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"). Also Jacqueline Susann has a cameo as a newscaster.

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.

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14 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

John Phillip Law IS a machine all, I don't know

Author: Kenneth Anderson ( from Los Angeles
3 December 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember when "The Love Machine" was first released to theaters. I was a mere 13 years old, too young to see the much-ballyhooed motion picture release, but not too old to take my Mom's paperback copy of the Jacqueline Susann novel to school and pore over the 'naughty bits' with my schoolmates.

Though I'm not sure what my problem was at such an early age, but I was very much into the book. I bought and wore an "ankh" ring just like on the paperback cover, and I remember the ads for the perfume, "Xanadu" that was cross-promoted and featured clumsily in the film. Despite such an interest I didn't actually see the film until several years later. I should have left things as they were.

"The Love Machine" is hands down the worst of the many bad films adapted from Susann's novels...which of course makes it the most fun to watch. Its faults are many: from its hopscotching script that jumps choppily from one incident to another with nary a connecting thread; its dated, horny (brass instruments, I mean) music score of ersatz Bacharach; the flat, first-take performances; the boring sexuality -I've never seen bathrobes featured so prominently in a movie before. It's like a fetish! Whenever sex, nudity or something sleazy is called for, out pops somebody in a blue robe! Very odd, that; and most certainly, the circus train of awful 70's fashions that are on endless display. Poor Dyan Cannon's performance (which is no great shakes anyway, but heads over the rest of the cast) is consistently undermined by the jaw-dropping get ups she's called upon to wear. However, the film's chief liability is the stoic, stone-like John Philip Law as (appropriately enough) Robin Stone, the object of every girl's (and one over–the-top flaming male photographer's) affection.

Law is just awful and performs as if he were pulled off the street, handed the pages of the script in hurry and told to give a cold reading on the spot. Just lifeless! Not only that, but he appears in desperate need of a blood transfusion or something. He looks wan and sickly throughout and is several pounds smaller than most of his female costars. Robin Stone should be a hunk, not a hankie.

For anyone finding the film hard going (it's rather slow by today's standards) I beg you to stick around for the climactic "fight scene." Here Ms. Cannon (balancing 23 pounds of teased hair) finally abandons her heretofore starchy acting style and lets loose with that infectiously raucous laugh of hers, setting in motion a truly memorable free for all that should have become a cinema clip highlight by now. Trying to rival "Valley of the Dolls"'s infamous wig-down-the-toilet scene, "The Love Machine" finally does something right.

Jacqueline Susann's unique brand of trash is sorely missed. Perhaps someone out there owns the rights to Rona Barrett's "The Lovomaniacs" and will revive the genre.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"That Robin Stone...he's movin' on"

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
3 April 2001

The network TV news business as a sleazy cesspool, with John Phillip Law as the titular news-anchor who sleeps his way to the top. Nice idea to have Dionne Warwicke do the song vocals for this movie-adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's bestseller (a la "Valley Of The Dolls")...though it's really too bad this sudser doesn't have Patty Duke's Neely O'Hara to spike the story. "The Love Machine" is unrelievedly dull. Even the final brawl (with an Academy Award as a fight prop!) can't save it. Dyan Cannon seems embalmed in her heavy pancake make-up and cumbersome fall (although her tiny, suntanned figure is a beauty to behold), Law is a handsome block of wood, while David Hemmings is embarrassing in gay-mode as a flamboyant photographer. And where is Robin Stone walking to at the end? Is he trekking out to the waterfront to pick up some sailors? After Cannon has deflated his masculinity, it would be a safe bet. In that case, "Love Machine--The Final Episode" might have been a more interesting flick. Certainly better than this yawn-inducing snooze-opera. *1/2 from ****

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

You got to be in the mood for this one

Author: steven-87
28 April 2009

Well, where to start? I stumbled across this one in 1993 and just hit "record" on the VCR out of habit, more than anything else. "Citizen Kane" it sure isn't...but if you've had a bad day and are in the mood for crashing out in front of something not too intellectually stimulating, then I tentatively suggest this might just be your "thing".

We have the lot here - great title track, more stereotypes than you could shake a stick at, unconscious comedy, the bitchiest fight scene of all time and more, more, more! David Hemmings plays the diametric opposite of his role in the 60s classic "Blow Up" - still a photographer, still hormonally stimulated but not "quite" the same.

John Philip Law is easy to slam as an actor who makes a log appear unwooden but that wouldn;t be fair seeing as how he had about 5 minutes notice before accepting the role.

Wexler as "Amanda"? Suffice to say it was her one and ONLY film role! The real star of this movie, though, is Ethel Evans who plays a, shall we say secretary (?), with the morals of an alley cat and an ambition to match. The way she manages to reconcile her present life with that of a future with her comedian husband-to-be is actually quite touching in an earthy, gritty, what-is-to-be-will-be way.

I actually love this movie when I'm in the mood for it.......and wouldn't touch it with the proverbial bargepole when I'm not.

Kudos to the cast for keeping a (relatively) straight face when filming.

A "classic" in the Edward D Wood school of cinematic endeavours!

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

At least one good performance

Author: DepartmentStoreLover from Australia
15 October 2003

Even though this film was nothing special as such, I am drawn to comment on at least one factor that ruled in its favour - that of the lead female performer in the film, Dyan Cannon. In spite of the film's ridiculous storyline and what she goes through here, hers was the best acting job in the film, making the unbelievable seem more plausible. Her raucous scene with the gay photographer David Hemmings has to be seen to be believed. Good work, Dyan.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Bad film from a trashy novel

Author: rosscinema from United States
19 April 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Jacqueline Susann wrote several novels all involving sex and melodrama and a few of them actually were made into films including this effort and they all have the distinction of being some of the worst films ever made. Story here is about Robin Stone (John Phillip Law) and his rise to the top of television by being ruthless and calculating to everyone around him. He's a playboy of the worst sort using and then throwing away every woman he beds including the wife of the IBC network president.

*****SPOILER ALERT***** Greg Austin (Robert Ryan) is in charge of the television network IBC and when his younger wife Judith takes one look at Robin she wastes no time getting into bed with him. Greg falls ill and has to take some time off and this is where Robin steps in and starts trying to run the network but during all this a model named Amanda (Jodi Wexler) who is in love with him kills herself. When Greg returns to his job he tries to get rid of Robin by using the morals clause in his contract when rumors start flying about his relationship with Jerry Nelson (David Hemmings) who's a gay fashion photographer.

This was directed by Jack Haley Jr. who went on to be a very successful producer in both television and movies but this was only his second film as a director and the material he was forced to deal with seems way over his head! The script comes from Susann's novel and that would probably be why this resembles a cross between "Alfie" and "The Valley of the Dolls" and I think the reason why her books never could translate well onto film is because the filmmakers made the terrible mistake of taking her stories seriously instead of tongue in cheek. With that, the laughs that come from this are unintentional especially during that totally ridiculous fight towards the end of the film which starts when Cannon refuses to give back the slave bracelet to the gay characters! Hemmings was a very good actor but his role here is completely over the top and it has him wearing one of the worst beards in history and using the term "chic" in every other sentence. Law was not the original choice for the lead but another actor that was cast had a serious accident and Law stepped in and delivers one of the more wooden performances this side of Miles O'Keeffe. The film's script suffers in two different areas in that it's both completely silly and horribly dull and it will test a viewers patience if they choose to watch this. One has to wonder what would be the outcome if a director decided to film one of Susann's novels and not take it seriously because the attempt here is ponderous and ridiculous.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Slick and sleazy, but uneven and uneventful

Author: Vince-5 from northeastern PA
5 May 2001

Though I've only seen it cut for television and therefore may not be able to judge fairly, The Love Machine is a pretty dull ride. The talented, attractive cast seems completely lost. Despite several steamy sex scenes, this suffers from the same problem as Valley of the Dolls--namely, diluting the subject matter of Jacqueline Susann's great novel. A lot of Jackie's most powerful material is either watered down or omitted completely, reducing the proceedings to shallow soap-opera level. The ending is entirely inconclusive. And, unlike Valley of the Dolls, there isn't even that much unintended humor to punch things up. Interestingly, the outrageously gay David Hemmings character is a combination of about three or four characters from the book!

Still, the production looks good, and Dionne Warwicke's renditions of "He's Moving On (Theme from The Love Machine)" and "Amanda's Theme" are beautiful. The rest of the soundtrack is good, too, if you enjoy psychedelic lounge music. I am the proud owner of the LP on Sceptor Records. Worth seeing for fans of Dyan Cannon, John Phillip Law, and moderately sensationalistic trash. It's a harmless diversion, but I still have to agree with Jackie Susann, who was very disappointed with the finished film. It really could've been great.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: JasparLamarCrabb from Boston, MA
21 September 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A really bad movie even by bad movie standards. It almost transcends junk and become offensive by roping in really talented people like Robert Ryan, David Hemmings and Dyan Cannon. John Phillip Law, looking very uneasy, stars as a newscaster promoted to head of a TV network only to find himself in trouble with myriad women (ranging from a one-named model to his boss's swinging wife). Director Jack Haley Jr. skips character development in favor of a lousy song, played during the opening credits, informing us that Law's character is a self centered satyr. Based on the novel by Jacqueline Susann, it's difficult to believe that any of this was sourced from anything at all. Ryan looks craggy and beat, Hemmings is an embarrassment as a swishy photographer and Cannon, though top billed, is only in a few scenes. With Jackie Cooper, Alexandra Hay (as Tina St. Clair)and Sugar Ray Robinson(!). And WHY is Shecky Greene in here? He's wildly unfunny despite wearing outrageous leisure suits. The film has no ending; it just stops. Woebegone.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Another Jacqueline Susann novel turned into a movie...

Author: Blooeyz2001 from Florida
18 April 2002

When they made this movie they tried to duplicate the success of "Valley of The Dolls" by including a fight scene, mod fashions, & a theme song sung by Dionne Warwick, but it flopped big time. Dyan Cannon is miscast as the bosses wife. Her character was supposed to be an "older woman". John Phillip Law is stiff & boring as the leading man. Jacqueline Susann (author of the book) wanted Charlton Heston, after she saw his backside in "Planet of The Apes", but he declined (good thing for him). Shecky Greene is very irritating as a fat, stand-up comic schlub. This is a watered-down version of the book, but not as entertaining as the movie version of "Valley of The Dolls". They just kept getting worse & worse, "Once Is Not Enough" (another Susann novel) was filmed after this & it's far less entertaining than "The Love Machine" (if you could imagine that).

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

ghost in the machine

Author: nomorefog ( from Sydney, Australia
27 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This has to be up there on my list of the best lousy films of all time. It's based on a Jacqueline Sussann novel, one of the greatest of all trashy writers (well, girls, at least we can write good trash). As I understand it these 'kinds of books' (as my mother used to call them) had a lot of hot and heavy goings-on between the covers which as a youngster I was never allowed to read, as my parents had higher hopes for me.

'The Love Machine' would like to think of itself as a scathing behind- the- scenes expose but it becomes obvious that if one harks back to the source material, Ms Sussann is no female Paddy Chayevsky and she did not write another 'Network'. The story itself is clunky and impossible to follow, but is something to do with the rise and fall of a talking head news anchor who is making a name for himself at a (fictional) New York television station. (Primarily by sleeping with a lot of women and what this has to do with the job description I will never know). The film is unintentionally hilarious with ludicrous acting and a script that any respectable writer would be ashamed to take credit for.

David Hemmings does an annoying turn as an obnoxious hanger-on who is so over-the-top gay that you wonder what the real gay people must have thought of him. Dyan Cannon is the wife of the stations' president and seems to sleep with almost every male member of the cast (which must mean that they aren't gay), and John Philip Law as the so-called 'love machine' of the title is about as sexy as a cigar store Indian. To put it mildly, he's stiff. The sets look as if they're about to fall over and every cast member with a speaking part is wondering why they let themselves be talked into being in the movie at all, presumably afraid that the sets are going to fall on top of them. The only thing of the remotest interest in this film is the title song, written by Bacharach and David and sung by Dionne Warwicke, but because the film was such a flop when it came out, the song was not on the tip of everyone's tongue and seems to have disappeared without trace. There is a wonderful cat fight at the end as poor Dyan wreaks vengeance on the men who have supposedly taken advantage of her but the audience correctly suspects, there would be little chance of her being taken advantage of by anyone in this movie, since most of the male characters seem to be so useless and just plain dumb.

This is a must see for fans of camp classics and bad movies in general, as well as members of the Dyan Cannon fan club (of which I am a founding member). And don't forget that song.

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