“WHAT DO I LIKE ABOUT YOU?”
Lana Turner proved the impossible: that she really was an even worse actress in just about every succeeding picture. In Love Has Many Faces, she’s right on schedule to display her zilch talents at their next new low 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. She hit her apex in The Postman Always Rings Twice and went sliding down Sluts’ Row ever since, with only sporadic detours. No one argues that she isn’t her own shrine to whorishness, which is the greatest of low pleasures she brought audiences, and there’s no argument that here in Love she isn’t 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 local brandy or sampling the meaty enchiladas in her swankienda. It may be a simple yet very depressing fact that Lana never enjoyed being what we enjoyed about her. (A respite of limited sorts in Bob Hope’s Bachelor in Paradise, in which her smiles suggest she might be having some fun. And in a 9 minute musical number filmed for The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1954 that TCM broadcasts occasionally, 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 as 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. But she is the sudzer’s only real fun. 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 that cruise 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. There’s a Roy Thinnes twin named Ron Husmann as O’Brian’s roomie (more like bitch?) who doesn’t seem too interested in or up to the task of servicing pathetic Virginia Grey. The early 60s Acapulco where so much of the inaction takes place is nostalgically uncrowded, if brown from draught, with waiters in jackets and ties serving the boozers escaping their hangovers under palapas. Nancy Wilson sings the title song.
Text COPYRIGHT © 2005 RALPH BENNER All Rights Reserved.