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Friday, December 29, 2017

Love For Sale in Acapulco


Love Has Many (Familiar) Faces (1965)  


Lana Turner, stood against a process screen, is gored by a bull. This may be your idea of unforgettable. It is certainly mine. At left is an ad I clipped from The Charlotte Observer in 1965. Something told me even then that this was not a sort of picture they would be making much longer. Lana Turner in a swimsuit and drawing on a cigarette put me on notice that here was adult entertainment. There was also the little box at lower right about Lana's "Million Dollar Wardrobe By Edith Head," this back when fashion in films still meant something. Women not working outside the home would attend matinees of Love Has Many Faces, sometimes in groups, this occasional relief from bridge parties or garden clubs. Most of that would crash down by decade finish, as did themes like Love Has Many Faces explored. It was shot in Acapulco and Mexico City, those aspects sold hard. Men and women of the cast had to buff up for abbreviated attire issued them on location. Middle-age-by-then Cliff Robertson (42) and Hugh O'Brian (40) likely spent weeks in gyms or steam room before depart (way) south. Lana Turner would later admit, "I really should have taken a few weeks of training for the role." She is at least caressed with Doris Day-ish filters to make her early 40's seem not so much. As for Edith Head's wardrobe, however, I wouldn't hang most of it on a draft horse.






Heiress LT has a tragic secret that makes her drink too much and be mean to "bought" husband Robertson. She is also horned by that bull after gigolo O'Brian tries a same maneuver in her own marital bed. There was still a Code in 1965, but Love Has Many Faces pushes it all which ways. Pic scribe Marguerite Roberts was lately off HUAC shite-list, gave Love good moments, later would roar back with True Grit and further assignments from Hal Wallis. Director Alexander Singer did few features, mostly TV, as in tons of TV. Supporting cougars-on-prowl (not a known term then) are Ruth Roman and Virginia Grey, their stud hunt ensnaring Hugh and a comparative youth (Ron Husmann) he's tutored to fleece tourists. O'Brian had been Wyatt Earp on television, but was more believable when shifty. He had a face like that, with teeth that could read sharkish (in fact, he wears a shark tooth necklace in LHMF). There was actually a countrywide "Hugh O'Brian Friend Club," chapters in most states (but not North Carolina, which I guess was just us behind the curve again). O'Brian was an interesting guy who gave time to charities and was tireless for visiting troops in Viet Nam. There was also time clocked with pal Hugh Hefner at peak of Playboy debauches (the 70's).






You can get eye-burn just watching Love Has Many Faces (last call for those Riviera Sunglasses!). It especially blisters on HD like TCM ran for their just-ending Lana month. There is fascination in these dinosaurs making 60's way toward extinction. Sobering is virtually all of a cast, so bronzed and healthy then, being gone now. Made me wonder how much longer I get to stay bronzed and healthy. Stephanie Powers is the only one left (oh wait, so is Ron Husmann). There is a weird scene where Powers and Turner face other and strip down, a sort of Here's what I can offer your husband by Steph, and Here's what I've still got to give him, by Lana. LT had to be nervous going into that contest (Powers her junior by almost two decades). I babble on about age because that is what Love Has Many Faces is about. Women fret over how much longer men can be lured, as gigolos ponder their own sell-by date ... all to lovely scoring by David Raksin, which is mainly why I revisit Love Has Many Faces. Raksin got too little work in the 60's, a H'wood agent telling me once that truculence (DR's) was what formed the ice. Had I been a producer, he could have insulted me the live-long day and still scored all my movies.

4 Comments:

Blogger Reg Hartt said...

You are right on David Raksin. I have a series of dvds on film music. He features in many of them. Got THE REDEEMER because he created the score for it. https://books.google.com/books?id=ihaBCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA197&lpg=PA197&dq=david+raksin+mexican+film+on+christ&source=bl&ots=-LD02KV_5-&sig=21M0Xo8ZurorkTMOun1oENp7rDg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiVzaTijK_YAhUD8YMKHfNkBREQ6AEIVzAL#v=onepage&q=david%20raksin%20mexican%20film%20on%20christ&f=false

6:21 AM  
Blogger Joshua said...

While the Hugh O'Brian Friend Club is itself something hard to relate to in contemporary terms, its geographical organization was downright weird. I wonder how much a person in New Jersey could contribute to publicizing the film in Arkansas, Iowa, and Nevada, or how much a person in New York could contribute to publicizing the film in Florida and Missouri.

8:31 PM  
Blogger iarla said...

Its a beautiful looking flick, and a nice record of a lost time and place. Director Singer gave an interview, years later, discussing Lana Turner and the production headaches caused by her drinking. She lived this part. Raksin was a genius. Nancy Wilson, too.

6:49 AM  
Blogger JAMES COBB said...

Caught LHMF this week on TCM as you did. Never been a fan of Lana Turner... probably the worst actress among the stars of her era. But she did have quite a long career. I would agree that they were doing a dance around the production code throughout. This was near the end of an era where a character could be dying in a hospital after being gored or recover from "turistas" and still show up in bed perfectly coiffed and fully Max Factored. Definitely though a period piece.

11:42 PM  

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