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  Love Has Many Faces La-La Land Lana
Year: 1965
Director: Alexander Singer
Stars: Lana Turner, Cliff Robertson, Hugh O'Brian, Ruth Roman, Stefanie Powers, Virginia Grey, Ron Husmann, Enrique Lucero, Carlos Montalbán, Jaime Bravo, Fanny Schiller, René Dupeyrón
Genre: Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Kit Jordon (Lana Turner) is a wealthy socialite who inherited her fortune, and her latest husband Pete (Cliff Robertson) is only too happy to help himself to it as long as she wants him around, needing his support. She needs it now more than ever when a body is washed up on the beach of the Acapulco resort where she has a beach property, and is identified as the gigolo Billy who she had been seeing until recently: he was wearing the bracelet she gave him, but refuses to say to the police whether she had anything to do with the death, which might well have been a suicide. Yet that has become a habit with Kit, leaving men in her wake like so much debris, always chasing happiness in vain...

Lana Turner was in her mid-forties when Love Has Many Faces was made, but still enjoying her second wind in a career that had been revitalised by the scandal of her daughter killing her abusive gangster boyfriend, leading a fresh group of fans to be fascinated by both her private life and the fictional ones, which usually contained hints of the heartache she had suffered in the personality makeup of the women she played. In truth, she was getting a little past it by the time she shot this, but still popular as the roles, if anything, grew camper and camper, naturally feeding into the kind of gay following that her contemporaries Joan Crawford and Bette Davis were enjoying, and lending her a cool by association with that variety of Hollywood chintz.

Whether she was much of an actress was never in doubt, she was not one of those stars who not only appeared glamorous but also could turn on the thespian power when it mattered, but she did have the celebrity good looks that lasted, whether that be good genes or simply a sympathetic team working with her to preserve that attractiveness - you'll notice here that every time she was awarded a closeup, they were in distinctly softer focus than anyone else's, though Ruth Roman did get a little Vaseline on the lens during her bedroom scene, so to speak. In this plot she was fought over by two leathery hunks of close to her own age, Robertson and Hugh O'Brian, both of whom making their entrance topless.

O'Brian was particularly amusing, palling around with his younger accomplice Ron Husmann (also topless) who he seems to be teaching the tricks of the gigolo trade to, though the occasional line and setup is notable for courting an ever so slightly homosexual angle to their relationship. All of which was lapped up by those who preferred their entertainment camp, if not fabulous, as the characters were so mired in misery that it was hard to see anybody especially enjoying themselves within the plot, which did after all start with someone's corpse being found by a bunch of Mexican children. As Billy's sister Carol, Stefanie Powers pouted and sulked like there was no tomorrow, prying Pete from Kit's grasp with her sullen demeanour that somehow appealed to him more than his wife's, er, sullen demeanour did.

The script was penned by Marguerite Roberts, by then a veteran screenwriter who liked her characters as tough as she was, though her style had matured into depicting the adults as the sixties were seeing them: jaded and cynical. This lot had seen it all before, and were only too keen to let you know it, yet of course the culture was about to change as the younger generation proved they were not as experienced as they believed, rendering the supposed diversion for grown-ups as past it as Lana would soon be. She had her attempt at appealing to the hippies with The Big Cube to come, a movie if anything even more over the top than this one, which considering Kit's eventual fate at the horns of a rampant (presumably moralist) bull was worth considering with some awe. This was life as lived by the filthy rich who we were intended to be reassured were having as difficult a time of it as we plebs, though at this stage they were leaving all semblance of connection to the real world as lived by the audience behind... television beckoned as the movies grew less comfortable with them. Music by David Raksin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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