The Love Machine (film)

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The Love Machine
The Love Machine.jpg
Film Poster by Howard Terpning
Directed by Jack Haley, Jr.
Produced by M.J. Frankovich
Written by Samuel Taylor
Starring Dyan Cannon
Robert Ryan
Jackie Cooper
David Hemmings
Shecky Greene
John Phillip Law
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
August 1971
Running time
108 minutes

The Love Machine is a 1971 film adaptation of Jacqueline Susann's best-selling 1969 novel of the same name. Directed by Jack Haley, Jr., the film stars Dyan Cannon, Robert Ryan, Jackie Cooper, David Hemmings, Shecky Greene, and John Phillip Law.

Plot[edit]

Robin Stone, a handsome, ambitious newsman for a New York television station, attracts the attention of Judith Austin, wife of Gregory Austin, the head of the IBC network. Concerned about ratings, Greg is encouraged by Judith to hire Robin as IBC's new anchorman. Although he opposes Greg's decision, Danton Miller, the head of programming, is unable to overrule his boss. Soon afterward, feeling threatened by Greg's support of Robin's plan to take his newscast to prime-time, Dan decides to build a variety show around second-rate comedian Christie Lane to prove that the audience prefers crass entertainment to more cerebral programming.

Christie is a hit in the ratings, and Jerry Nelson, a homosexual friend of Robin, arranges for the show's sponsor to hire Amanda, a fashion model and Robin's occasional girlfriend, as the on-air representative of its product. After her first spot airs, Amanda skips a celebratory party and goes to Robin. Shattered when she finds Robin with a nude woman, she attends the party alone. Christie Lane, smitten with Amanda, proposes marriage when a drunken Amanda agrees to go home with him.

Judith persuades Robin to have lunch with her, but they end up in bed instead. During their rendezvous, Greg suffers a severe heart attack. Judith, who holds Greg's power of attorney, appoints Robin to act as head of the network while she takes her husband to Switzerland to recuperate.

Soon afterward, having rejected Amanda yet again, Robin is shaken by the news of Amanda's suicide. He goes out for a walk. Propositioned by a prostitute, he accompanies her to his room, but then changes his mind, and beats up the hooker. He then confesses to Jerry, who agrees to provide an alibi for Robin. In return, Jerry asks for a slave bracelet engraved with Robin's name.

Judith returns to New York with Greg, now recovered. When Robin refuses to resume their affair, Judith convinces her husband to reclaim control of the network, thereby demoting Robin. In response, Robin threatens to quit entirely, a move which would result in problems between Greg and the shareholders.

When Robin visits Los Angeles, Jerry persuades him to attend a party at the home of the actor Alfie Knight, Jerry's new boyfriend. Robin, in turn, invites Judith who is also in the city. At the party, Robin is pleased to see aspiring actress Maggie Stewart, who rebuffs him. Judith, meanwhile, becomes annoyed when Robin neglects her for Jerry and Alfie.

After most of the guests have gone, Judith, still angry, finds Jerry's slave bracelet on the floor. Reading the inscription, she threatens to expose Robin. Jerry and Alfie try to retrieve the bracelet, which leads to a brawl. Soon the police arrive, and Robin explains the fight by claiming that he had instigated it by making a drunken pass at Judith. Later, as Robin leaves the police station, his reputation in ruins, Maggie Stewart pulls up in her car and asks him if he needs a ride. He declines.

Primary Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Jacqueline Susann received $1.5 million for the film rights to her best-selling book, a record sum for the time. She has a brief cameo in the film as a television newscaster.

Just prior to the start of filming, actor Brian Kelly, who had been cast as Robin Stone, was involved in a near-fatal motorcycle accident. He was replaced by John Phillip Law. Although significantly taller than Kelly, Law was compelled to wear costumes which had been designed for Kelly, with the result that the ill-fitting clothes are apparent in the finished film.

Reception[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]