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8/10
It's Easy to Fall in Love, isn't it?
Bogmeister24 July 2005
I first saw this over twenty years ago and it stayed in my mind ever since; they never seemed to play this film on TV in my area and a VHS tape was difficult to find. I finally got one on E-Bay a year ago. I've always been a science fiction fan and my favorite sub-genre was parallel worlds. The original writer (Wyndham) and screenwriters got all the basics correct - certain events in the past transpired differently on this parallel Earth, resulting in a very similar, yet strikingly different world. But what caught me off guard was the romance attached to the story; I don't know, maybe the British storytellers just know how to do this sort of stuff better, but the tale taps into the soul of anyone with just a bit of the romantic in them. I never got that sense of romance, in such a strong dose, in any other film; the similar "Somewhere in Time" with Chris Reeve comes to mind, but it's not even a contest. When Joan Collins first walks into the room, I don't think you even need to be a heterosexual male - you are just swept away on the spot. Tom Bell is also very good as the hero; he sort of stumbles along on this fantastic journey he's been flung into and he soon embraces the entire cosmic appeal of what fate has given to him - a rare gift, as it turns out.
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8/10
A favorite semi-guilty pleasure
Bob Stout23 February 2004
The genre of SF romances is pretty slim, and well done ones even slimmer still. The only two that leap immediately to mind are "Quest For Love" and "Late For Dinner". They both rank among my favorite films. For the romantically inclined, both are also worth at least two hankies (one reason I never watch either with anyone other than my wife).

Joan Collins looks superb (as usual) and gives an excellent, understated performance (hardly usual!) Rather than her typical shrew or strumpet (I'm trying hard to avoid adjectives that would violate the guidelines), she is a genuinely warm and sympathetic character. Aside from the voodoo that transports the protagonist into a parallel universe, the SF aspects are well constructed and don't overwhelm what is, at its core, a touching love story. The parallel universe plot is a much more effective metaphor in this case than the typical time travel gimmick common to most "what if" films such as this.

The pacing could be better and the script could have benefitted from one more revision, but it's still quite satisfying overall.

P.S. Apparently, like "Late For Dinner", "Quest For Love" is currently out of print on home video. I therefore feel fortunate to have both (QFL on Beta and LFD on VHS), so there are real official copies in existence which a diligent search might turn up.
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A modest but entertaining romance set in a parallel world.
Infofreak27 February 2004
'Quest For Love' is an interesting oddity - a romance set in a parallel world. I haven't read the Wyndham story it's based on so I don't know how faithful it is, but it's an entertaining little movie with some nice performances. Tom Bell plays a physicist who suddenly finds himself in an alternate England after a scientific experiment. He learns that WW2 never happened, man never landed on the moon,etc. but the differences in this other England are never explored and mean little to plot. The focus is on Bell's relationship with Joan Collins. In his own world Bell is single and a scientist, in this other world he is a successful writer and married to Collins who despises him. Bell immediately falls in love with his "wife" and tries to convince her that he isn't who she thinks he is. Both Bell and Collins give good performances, and Collins looks absolutely lovely. Denholm Elliott appears in both worlds, one as his friend, in the other he loathes him. I assume the budget of this movie was modest. There are no special effects and it's almost like an episode of TV fantasy anthology. Even so I enjoyed it for what it was. If you want to watch a slightly earlier British movie with a similar premise try and see 'Journey To The Far Side Of The Sun' a.k.a. 'Doppelganger'. It however isn't a romance and is much bleaker. It's the stronger of the two movies but 'Quest For Love' is still worth watching, especially if you're a romantic.
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9/10
Fascinating
fletch519 February 2003
I caught this on a local movie channel thinking it would be pretty hokey, but I found myself completely captivated to this fascinating science fiction romance. Joan Collins gives an unexpectedly delicate performance devoid of her usually campy mannerisms, and competent actors like Denholm Elliott appear in supporting roles. Although the ending does seem a bit abrupt, it's not bad enough to leave a negative impression.
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10/10
Counterfactual history and unanswered questions
JekyllBoote-128 January 2003
To my considerable annoyance, every time this movie has been shown on TV I haven't had my VCR ready to record. I've probably seen it about three or four times, on the proverbial rainy afternoons when little-regarded films are broadcast. It's been described by other IMDb reviewers as a sci-fi love story, and it certainly is that. But it's also a rare foray for a mainstream movie into counterfactual history. (In this respect it resembles novels such as Kingsley Amis's "The Alteration", Keith Roberts' "Pavane" and Robert Harris's "Fatherland" more than it resembles other movies.) Colin Bell, a physicist, finds himself in a parallel version of our world after an experiment that goes wrong. The Second World War has not happened, and in all kinds of subtle and intriguing ways society is less advanced. The course of his own life has been drastically different as well: he is a playwright and novelist, not a physicist; he attended Oxford (arts and humanities-based) not Cambridge (science-based); his best friend (played by Denholm Elliot) has not lost his arm in WW2; most significantly, while single in OUR world, he discovers that he is, albeit unfaithfully, married in this one.

I'll concede that the conclusion of the movie IS rushed, but the rest of it is so superbly executed that I'm prepared to overlook this. Of course not all of the implications of this bizarre scenario are investigated; how could they be in a 90-minute movie? I'd agree with the other IMDb reviewer, who remarked that OUR world is limned far less vividly than its doppelganger. But this is surely as it should be; after all, we KNOW our world.

The unanswered question that has nagged me every time I have seen the movie is: Where is the other Colin Trafford? Surely the arrogant, womanising drunk isn't on the loose in our world, wreaking havoc in the the domain of research physics? (I think we're meant to assume that he's temporarily inhabiting his double's comatose body in hospital.) What is highly ingenious, and could pass unnoticed, such is the subtlety of its handling, is the way in which, although we never actually see him, we infer from people's reactions exactly what sort of person the other Colin Trafford was. (I'm reminded of the scene in the original "Nutty Professor" in which Buddy Love is introduced; we see him, at first, entirely in terms of other people's reactions.)

We still seem to be too near to the 60s and 70s (psychologically if not chronologically) for people to overlook the now-quaint fashions. Come on, though! Even the 70s are thirty years ago now. We're not surprised to see people in Edwardian times, or the 1930s, dressed in radically different clothes. Why should it strike as odd (and funny) that people more than a generation ago inhabited a universe more different from ours than the one that physicist Colin Trafford finds himself in? Every time I read someone dismiss a movie because the fashions are dated I want to scream! Such a lack of historical perspective means that there's a very real danger that anyone much under 40 or so will not be able to observe the subtle, but very real, contrast between the "real" world in "Quest For Love", and its slightly more old-fashioned twin, and will thus miss out on an important layer of the movie's meaning.
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7/10
Tear-jerker masquerading as Sci-Fi soap
James Byrne16 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
After an explosion during an experiment, Colin Trafford, a young physicist, finds himself transported into a parallel world where he is a successful playwrite with an unhappy marriage. In this world, Kennedy wasn't assassinated, Leslie Howerd is still alive and making movies and the Vietnam war never happened. Trafford discovers that he is a philanderer and he is unable to convince his 'wife' Ottelie of the validity of his strange behaviour and amnesic tendencies. Eventually she believes him after Sir Henry Lanstein explains the whole experiment to her. There happiness is short lived however, for Ottelie then dies. The shock of her death returns Trafford to his own world, where he searches for and finds her equivalent (working as an air hostess) and saves her life. QUEST FOR LOVE is a love story masquerading as Sci-Fi soap, Joan Collins has never looked more ravishing or given a better performance. The most powerful scene in the movie is Tom Bell's explosive outburst when giving a speech at the First Night party to all the luvvies. They all think he's drunk ... but we share in his bewilderment. QUEST FOR LOVE is highly recommended viewing, any British film that has the great Sam Kydd as a cab driver cannot be missed.
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10/10
Intriguing sci-fi love story
devalier13 May 1999
Intriguing sci-fi love story about a physicist (Tom Bell) who ends up in a parallel universe after a scientific experiment goes awry. At first, the film is a wonderful fish-out-of-water tale as Bell slowly realizes his predicament and reluctantly assumes the identity of his parallel counterpart Colin Trafford (an arrogant, much-maligned playwright). However, the tale gets even more complicated when Bell falls in love with Trafford's flamboyantly unhappy wife Ottile (Joan Collins in a surprisingly subtle performance).

Although the film's narrative often seems like a discarded plot from the daytime soap Dark Shadows, this is an inventive, well-written and (more importantly) splendidly acted drama. It's definitely worth a look if you happen to come across it.
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7/10
A+ for Concept, C+ for Execution
Bob-4515 July 1999
An English Physicist (Tom Bell), testing an experimental nuclear accelerator, is transported across a parallel universe into a more peaceful but less technically advanced world. The staid physicist discovers that, in this world, he is a morally decadent playwright; and, more importantly, the physicist meets the woman of his dreams: his wife! (Joan Collins) The physicist immediately sets out to win back the affections of his wife; and, when he returns to our universe, to locate her again.

The performances are uniformly excellent. Joan Collins is one of the few actresses who plays "saints" and "vixens" with equal aplomb. Special kudos to Tom Bell for being convincingly "smitten" without being sappy.

Ironically, the film is least convincing in "our universe." The initial exposition is hurried, as are the closing sequences of the film. Considering the largely excellent writing (story credited to John Wyndham), the most likely explanation is a rushed shooting schedule, due to budget constraints. This is also apparent with the music, which seems to belong in a different movie.

The lack of special effects actually embellishes the story, until the physicist's "return." This occurs with no forshadowing, and seems more a plot device than an integral part of the tale. Effects would have gone a long way toward covering the holes in the story. (i.e., Why is a scientist so convinced what happened to him was real? Since HE was so different in the parallel world, why doesn't he fear SHE will be different?)

Still, with the imaginative writing and excellent performances make this worthy viewing, IF you can find it.
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6/10
Still hoping to see it again
jonmeta19 January 2006
"Quest for love" came on local late night TV in Chicago a couple times in about 1977 and I've been looking for it ever since. Science fiction is far down the list of what I normally like but this one was special, probably because it was a relationship story that used a nearly believable SF conceit (parallel worlds) to create an absorbing dilemma. No aliens or spaceships, just an ordinary life that turns increasingly odd: a friend whose missing limb suddenly returns, a newspaper headline that says, "Kennedy elected to second term", and so on. It was intriguing for at least two reasons. One was Joan Collins, who is, well, stunning. Why anyone would cheat on her character is perhaps the film's greatest mystery. The other was that the parallel worlds idea takes a while to develop fully, and it drew me into the puzzle. I've not seen a parallel realities film since that I've liked as much. (By the way, I could swear there's a scene in "Back to the Future 2" where Doc is using a blackboard to explain this very concept to Marty, which is a lift from QFL.) In the end it's a film about a decent guy and his relationship problems; only, in his case, he's inherited them from his drunken, loutish other self.
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10/10
refreshing and though-provoking
sanasinger10 December 2006
What a powerful and thought-provoking movie. It was refreshing to see Joan Collins in such a different role! She plays such a sweet and gentle person! The whole idea of the movie, alternate realities, is a subject I think many people are intrigued with. I know I feel it is entirely possible - or rather, I am HOPING it is!!! Also, it was done so well, the switching back and forth between the two worlds, that it felt seamless. The intensity builds as the scientist's learns of problems he alone can remedy with this switching of realities. It's a race in time. I saw this film in the 80's. I had turned on the TV one night, very late, and it was just starting. For years now, I have been trying to find it, to watch again. It left me with such a dreamy, anything-is-possible type of feeling!
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9/10
Married to Joan Collins in her prime - in an alternate reality
karlpov7 September 2001
This is one of those really great little pieces of science fiction that 1) are based on an actual print story (a short piece by John Wyndham, better known for The Midwich Cuckoos/Village of the Damned, and Day of the Triffids) and 2) have practically nothing in the way of special effects to detract from the plot and the characters, which are the important part of every good story.
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A wonderful, understated sci-fi love story
GusF12 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Based on the 1954 short story "Random Quest" by John Wyndham, this is one of the few screen adaptations which I thought was better than the original work. The short story and the film follow the same basic storyline: due to a failed experiment, a physicist named Colin Trafford is sent to a parallel universe where World War II never happened and his counterpart is a successful author and complete bastard with a beautiful wife named Ottilie Harsham, with whom he falls in love almost immediately. "Random Quest" is a good story and has some fascinating ideas but, at 43 pages, it was too short to fully explore the potential of the material. Wyndham could have easily gotten a full novel out of the idea. Ottilie only makes a brief appearance in the story, meaning that it is hard to get involved with Colin's search for her once he returns to his own universe. The film, however, rectifies these problems.

The lead roles are played by Tom Bell and Joan Collins. As the initially mystified Colin, Bell gives an excellent, understated performance. He is occasionally prone to angry outbursts but he is a good and decent man whom you care about more and more as the film progresses. Joan Collins is simply marvellous as Ottilie, playing the role of a neglected, emotionally abused woman to perfection. When she realises that Colin is not her husband, Ottilie experiences true happiness for the first time since her marriage and Collins is wonderful in these scenes as well. I have never seen her give a better performance. The film has two extremely strong supporting cast members in Denholm Elliott and Laurence Naismith and it also features nice but fairly small appearances from Ray McAnally, Juliet Harmer, Simon Ward, Sam Kydd and Bernard Horsfall.

The screenplay is written by Terence Feely, who is probably best known for his work on numerous cult TV series of the 1960s and 1970s. As he wrote two of my favourite episodes of "The Prisoner" ("The Schizoid Man" and "The Girl Who Was Death"), my hopes were high and the film did not disappoint. He was able to flesh out Wyndham's characters considerably. Colin and Ottilie feel like real people throughout. Colin's characterisation is particularly good as the differences and similarities between him and his unseen counterpart are well illustrated. Giving Ottilie a fatal heart condition was a brilliant idea on Feely's part as it gave Colin's search for her counterpart in his own universe a greater sense of urgency and a greater moral dimension than existed in the short story. It also served to make her even more unattainable and eliminated the problem of her once again being the victim of her husband's emotional abuse once the two Colins switched back, something which undermined the short story's happy ending. All of these changes are to the benefit of the film.

On the sci-fi side, Feely not only incorporated some of Wyndham's ideas about the differences between the two universes such as nuclear fission being still only theoretical and the League of Nations still existing but included some of his own such as JFK being alive and the new Secretary-General of the League of Nations, heart transplants being unknown to medical science, abortion still being illegal throughout the UK, televisions being more primitive, Mount Everest still being unconquered and - my personal favourite - Leslie Howard still being alive and still acting into his old age. These are fascinating little touches, many of which are Feely's subtle way of acknowledging the technological and social progress which followed World War II in reality. Furthermore, the film is extremely well directed by Ralph Thomas, the elder brother of "Carry On" director Gerald Thomas.

Overall, this is a wonderful, understated sci-fi love story which reminded me of "Somewhere in Time", my tenth favourite film of all time.
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10/10
Random Quest
Mark-12927 June 2010
Considering the budget, Quest for Love is a remarkable accomplishment. Based on the SF short story "Random Quest" the story follows nuclear physicist Colin Trafford, who is thrust into an alternate reality during a scientific experiment. Trafford finds he has stepped into a world where his counterpart has taken a different path in life and is a respected playwright with a myriad of problems including drinking and womanizing. The scientist, who has led a solitary life is shocked to discover he now has a wife, Ottilie, played by a very effective Joan Collins (who made a very wise decision to accept this role). Their rocky relationship is at the heart of this film. Does Trafford really want to return to his world...or must he? One of the interesting things is there appears to be some sort of edit done about two thirds through that makes a certain transition event confusing, but in no way effects the story. It's just, I would love to see the screenwriter's full intentions for this scene. Quest for Love benefits from fine performances by Colins and Tom Bell as Colin Trafford with good support from Denholm Elliott. Several well known performers, early in their careers, turn up in party scenes. Also of note is the wonderful musical score by Eric Rogers and especially the haunting 'Ottilie' theme by Peter Rogers. If it's on, don't miss it. You won't be sorry! 10/10
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7/10
Longest movie ever :-)
ybeer8 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Sweet movie involving love and time travel (or a parallel universe created by time travel. Joan Collins sort of reprises her Edith Keeler role (Star Trek's acclaimed The City on Edge of Forever episode), and once again must die (though not to save history - it's just her sad lot). In this story, however, there is a consolation prize for the hero (and vicariously for the viewers) in that her other-world (our world) version is just as sweet and, thanks to our hero, does not have to suffer the same fate.

The movie runtime is under 1.5 hours, so why my summary Longest Movie ever? I saw this movie on TV I believe around 1989 or 1990. I liked it and wanted to show it to my wife and both our parents, so I set the VCR to record another showing of it which was set for 1:30am. When the opportunity arose, I sat them all to watch it when, about an hour into the movie it abruptly stopped - the recording had failed for some reason! I felt awful to subject them to that, leaving them in suspense / cliffhanger, so I promised to rerecord it and resume the showing ASAP.

Well, I was not able to find it on TV, movie rental stores, or (later) the internet - until this week. And so, yesterday, after 20 years, I sat down my wife and the surviving 3 parents to (watch it from the start and) finally conclude the movie.

What a relief!!
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7/10
Low key and oddly gripping British sci-fi drama
Leofwine_draca21 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
QUEST FOR LOVE is an unusual and oddly intense British science fiction drama, made on a low budget but none the worse for it. It's one of the few films in the genre to explore the idea of alternate realities, sending scientist protagonist Tom Bell to another world after an accident during a demonstration, a world where history has played out differently; JFK is still alive, for instance, and the Vietnam War never happened.

As such, the first half an hour of this film is very enjoyable, but after Bell figures out his predicament things change course quite considerably. He meets Joan Collins, who lights up the screen here and turns out to be his neglected wife; a romantic sub-plot of sorts then plays out. However, there's a tragic twist in the tale before things move back to our own world for an extended and thrilling race-against-time climax that had me on the edge of my seat. The cast give very good performances and if the hairstyles and fashions have dated somewhat in the intervening years, then that's no reason to dislike the movie.
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6/10
Parallel love
Prismark108 April 2017
Quest for Love is a science fiction romance set in an alternate world. Physicist Colin Trafford (Tom Bell) during an experiment is sent across an alternate Britain in the 1970s which has not gone through World War 2, there is no war in Vietnam, man has not gone to space or even conquered Everest.

Here Trafford is a noted but philandering playwright with a troubled marriage to former ballerina Ottilie (Joan Collins.) The new Trafford at first dazed and confused becomes immediately smitten with his wife and aims to woo her again but something is not right with her health. Trafford finds himself going back to his own world and tries to track down the same woman.

Tom Bell was known for playing intense even bitter characters, so it is nice to see him play tender and romantic, although we do get angry and perplexed in the early scenes. Bell is matched by Collins who plays the alluring wife married to a fickle man in a nicely understated but charming way.

The film loses a bit of impetus at the latter part of the film and also ends abruptly as if the budget ran out.
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8/10
a surprisingly good film
Brucey D23 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this film having stumbled upon it quite by accident in a late night TV broadcast. I was somewhat captivated. It is that rare thing, a Sci-Fi film which is based on a well-written short story, where the changes to the plot arguably improve the story in the film, and (tacky) special effects are largely absent.

One can only wonder if the 1970 film 'The Man Who Haunted Himself' spurred the makers of this film; parts of the plot have similar aspects; one can only imagine the discussions in script meetings as to whether the audience 'will get it' or not, with both films.

Good sci-fi (and indeed good film-making in general) requires a suspension of disbelief; special effects are not required for this to happen, and indeed things that are suggested but not seen on-screen overtly can be just as powerful in the mind of the viewer. In extremis, as one child reputedly put it; 'I love the radio, because the pictures are better'.

I think the makers of this film knew that and perhaps didn't have the budget to do otherwise. Anyway, the result is intriguing and rather good.

The 'alternate plane' is portrayed as a coherent and believable place, in which war has not forced the pace of technological development, and (in a note that must have chimed with those suffering raging inflation in the early 1970s), prices have not risen at high speed and we were still using pounds shillings and pence instead of decimal coinage.

Those with an interest in that period will note the things that were chosen to draw contrast to the 'modern now' of our plane as opposed to the alternate plane; Tom Bell drives a Jag XJ6, and Joan Collins drives a mini Clubman; both recently launched models. Bell's flat is decorated in bright orange circular motifs (ah, the '70s !!!) and is littered with electrical gadgets; Joan Collin's house is all new in the 1970s style too! Joan Collins rated this film as one of the three best performances she ever gave and I think she was right; she is rather wonderful in this film, and elevates it above the mundane with her performance. However she counted 'Dynasty' in her top three, so I'd put this in her top two.
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5/10
A romantic change of pace for Joan Collins
kevin olzak29 July 2010
Based on the John Wyndham story "Random Quest," and being the third and last Wyndham adaptation, following 1960's "Village of the Damned" and 1962's "The Day of the Triffids," this feature apparently tries to downplay its sci-fi origins, as its new title is a more fitting description considering how it plays out. A parallel universe where World War 2 never happened, Leslie Howard still lived in 1971, and John F. Kennedy went from the Presidency to heading up the UN. My initial disappointment in Tom Bell was quashed by repeat viewings, definitely far superior to Christopher Reeve's curiously unmoving "Somewhere in Time" (1980), whose time travel hook was poorly executed and never credible. While I certainly adored Jane Seymour in that film, she never had a real character to portray, unlike Joan Collins, who here gets to play a soft, romantic woman, as she was quite busy doing horror films then that cast her in typical bitchy roles that predated DYNASTY. This proved to be a nice change of pace, a kind of Gene Tierney as Laura that one man becomes obsessed with, but in a much simpler, more acceptable way. Joan was also seen to great advantage in "Revenge" (1971), which saw release under several other titles, including "Behind the Cellar Door" and "Inn of the Frightened People" (this one aired twice on Pittsburgh's Chiller Theater).
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FILM IS GREAT ROMANTIC/SCIENCE FANTASY STORY!
russ2155122 January 2002
I saw this film many years ago on a rainy Saturday afternoon. JOAN COLLINS is wonderful if you liked the "CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER" episode of the original STAR TREK and don't need special effects to enjoy a great story you will like this film. Unfortunately I have not been able to find it on T.V. since. It is not available on video. If anyone out there has a copy they made from broadcast on T.V. or knows when it will be on again please e-mail me. I am also interested in any similar time travel/fantasy type movies and have a small collection I am willing to share. Thank you.
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Could have been better
mirwin877914 March 2001
This was a good story line with a lot of potential. I was sorry to see that this potential was not fully exploited. I thought that the ending to the film was weak and disappointing, it gave the impression that the budget for the film was rapidly running out and a quick ending was set. However, an excellent performance by Joan Collins as always.
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4/10
A romantic seventies sci-fi classic
dj_kennett7 June 2001
There is a man out there with dangerous sideburns, who can also travel across to a parallel universe. Sounds unlikely?

Quest for Love isn't such a bad movie, in the sense it could be far worse. It's the story of a physicist who develops the technology to travel to a parallel universe where the same characters exist, but they have different lives. He turns out to be a brilliant novelist but a right swine to Ottile, his wife.

The story is OK. But the clothes, cars and interior decor is great. And check out Heathrow airport in the mid 1970's. It looks empty.
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8/10
wow!
Stuart Whyte24 September 2014
Firstly, I applaud jekyll-booty1's review. Secondly this film, when watched as I did, mesmerised, from the first rather expositional minutes of set-up, is beautifully engaging to behold. The premise is so easy to go with, that the actual acting performances shine far beyond the mere scripting of character and circumstance would seem to allow. We want the alternative universe's possibility to live beyond the, somewhat jaded, actuality that provokes the sewer as the impossible, alternative, romance unfolds. Tom Bell does his profession justice. Joan Collins gets a bit of careful soft-focus allure but still runs well with the rather restrictive role the script provides her with (air hostess ?). A cracking TV film for an otherwise dreary mid-week slot, but so above the other too pedestrian fodder offered. Remarkable both for it's evergreen poignancy and it's disdainful yet life-affirming regard for one's world-weary, all-too-knowing, regrets and schadenfreude.
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10/10
. . . But I Like It, Too!
foreignfilmbuff11 June 2007
As a lifelong Tom Bell fan, I was drawn to this film but was mostly surprised by something you never, ever see: a SYMPATHETIC role for Joan Collins! And that lovely name--Ottilie (note spelling, everyone!). If only she had done more of this type of role instead of all the "Dynesty"-clone CRAP which ruined her career and her credibility as an actress of any merit. I also wish "Quest for Love" were available on VHS or DVD. (Apparently it was not released in theaters in the United States.) As for the story line, it is intriguing, and I think it's interesting that it is being classified as science fiction. It just goes to show that that genre comes in all shapes and sizes with, perhaps, something for everyone.
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