Lana Turner proved the impossible—becoming an increasingly worse actress in just about every succeeding picture. In Love Has Many Faces, she’s right on schedule to display the zilch until she bottomed-out in Madame X. (She made several more movies but they don’t count because no one saw them.) Just what did Hollywood think it had with this boob-deficient wonder who used every can of hair spray on the studio lot? Actors kissing her endangered their health by having to inhale the fluorocarbons. Her glamour image is Max Factor petrifaction—you’re afraid to touch any part of her for fear she’ll crack open and ooze taxidermy goo. No one argues she isn’t her own shrine to whorishness, which is the greater of low pleasures she brought audiences, and there’s no argument here in Love she’s not the over-dressed symbol of the kind of rich bitch who once invaded Acapulco to relax supinely (which she does a lot of) when not slugging down the tequila or sampling the meaty enchiladas in her swankienda. It may be a simple yet very depressing conclusion Lana never enjoyed being what we enjoyed about her. (A respite in Bob Hope’s Bachelor in Paradise, in which her smiles suggest she might be having a little fun. And in a 9 minute musical number filmed for The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1954, and airs sporadically on TCM and available at youtube, Lana appears to be having a good time doing a ditty entitled “The Safety Pin,” surrounded by Edmund Purdom, Richard Anderson, Steve Forrest and John Ericson.) But, but...Love has its goodies: Cliff Robertson and Hugh O’Brian are imported studs duelling for Lana’s trust fund, and Ruth Roman, looking a bit like a brunette Susan Hayward having packed on several pounds too many, waiting to use her checkbook. She asks Hugh, “What do I like about you?” and his response guarantees him an eternal spot in the annals of Bad Movies We Love. While Hugh looks pretty tasty, he seems to want to keep using his arms to cover up his bare-chestedness. This really is a disguised gayfest about the worship of bikini-clad beach bums, the kind cruising the resort in two-seater Thunderbirds and drag as matadors, and with Edith Head getting into the spirit by designing a reported $1,000,000 (not pesos but dollars) worth of pre-Divine ensembles for Lana. A Roy Thinnes twin named Ron Husmann as O’Brian’s roomie who doesn’t seem too interested in or up to the task of servicing pathetic Virginia Grey. The early 60s Acapulco is nostalgically uncrowded, if brown from seasonal rainlessness, with waiters in jackets and ties serving the boozers under palapas. Directed by Alexander Singer; Nancy Wilson sings the title song.



Text COPYRIGHT © 2005 RALPH BENNER  All Rights Reserved.