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The Battle of Love's Return (1971) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • After a series of mishaps, a young man is fired from his job for failing to deliver a package. He goes on a journey to find himself, encountering various characters including a priest and the owner of a pornographic bookstore, who are seen in black and white interview segments.

  • Poor Abercrombie is the poster boy for nerdness. He doesn't relate well to people, others goof on him and make fun of him and he is, by and large, pretty beaten down by life. However, one day he comes across the girl of his dreams working in a donut shop, and determines to overcome his geekiness and get her.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Abcacrombie (Lloyd Kaufman) is a naïve, hapless loser who lives alone in a cramped basement apartment in New York City and works as a messenger for his tyrannical boss, Mr. Crumb (Stanley Kaufman). One night, Abacrombie dreams that he is unable to deliver an inordinately large package to a Mr. Feta at Tasty Body Inc. and worries that he will be fired for his failure.

    In the morning, Abacrombie dresses for cold weather, but finding a laborer frying an egg on the hot sidewalk, changes into short sleeves and sets out for work. A loafer (Andy Kay) sitting on the sidewalk then calls Abacrombie a "sucker" for working for a "master," but Abacrombie pays him little heed.

    Walking through his neighborhood, Abacrombie smiles and waves to shopkeepers and others, despite the fact that they ignore his friendly gestures. After stopping at a coffee shop window to gaze at his dream girl (Lynn Lowry), who works there as a waitress, Abacrombie attempts to help an old lady (Ida Goodcutt) across the street. When the woman misinterprets his bumbling offer, she beats him with her umbrella until a crowd forms. Forced to flee the crowd's verbal abuse, the accident-prone Abacrombie is then hit by a car while trying to cross an intersection.

    Subsequently accosted by the driver, a rabbi, Abacrombie, although innocent of any wrong-doing, is again harassed by a gathering crowd. When Abacrombie finally arrives at work, Mr. Crumb yells at him for being late while simultaneously accepting Cliff's (Oliver Stone), another worker, weak excuses for his own tardiness. Upon hearing that his first assignment is to deliver a package to Mr. Feta at Tasty Body Inc., Abacrombie fears the worst, but finds only a small box.

    As he tries to leave the building, though, Abacrombie is once again foiled by the elevators, which continually close just as he attempts to get on. When his dream girl, who is now working as Mr. Crumb's receptionist, loudly berates him for his clumsiness, Crumb promptly fires him.

    Soon after, Abacrombie gets a new job marking bridge poles with tape for painting, but a unruly young girl pulls each piece off just as Abacrombie's new boss (Jim Crispi) comes to inspect the job.

    Fired again, Abacrombie seeks help from a psychiatrist named Dr. Finger (Roderick Ghyka) who, despite promising to be non-judgmental, grows bored with Abacrombie's story and rudely orders him out of his office.

    On his way home, Abacrombie gets up the courage to buy coffee from his dream girl at the coffee shop, but she responds curtly to his longing gaze. Leaving the coffee shop, Abacrombie discovers the loafer and a group of young hippies rating each other to see who is "groovier" by the number of times they have been jailed. When Abacrombie admits he has only had a citation and chokes while sharing a marijuana cigarette, the group ridicule him for his naïveté. The police soon show up and arrest everyone, excluding Abacrombie, for smoking the drug.

    Disappointed, Abacrombie offers to become a religious follower to a street preacher (Robert S. Walker), but the man rejects him as well. Soon after, Abacrombie falls over a military enlistment sign, passes out and dreams that he has enlisted in the US Army and is shot while bravely confronting the enemy, finally dying in his dream girl's arms.

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