Love Has Many Faces (1965)

As the movie’s title suggests, love does indeed have many faces. There is its morose face, which Pete unceasingly displays throughout the film, whether he is trading nasty barbs with his ice queen rich wife, romancing his dead friend’s old girlfriend, or engaging in surly tough guy talk with Hank, another beach stud who is openly trying to steal his old lady.

Then you have love’s smarmy, douche-like face which Hank wears like a Congressional Medal of Honor for Service to Desperate Vacationing Broads Who Have No Self Respect during all the gigaloing he does, when he’s not making a play for Pete’s wife, Kit Jordan.

You also can’t avoid love’s drunk face either, since Hank, Pete, and especially Kit spend every moment they aren’t spitting out ridiculous dialogue at each other drinking down glasses of hard liquor.

Love’s most magnificent face though has to be the one that Kit has during what laughingly passes for a climax during the film. This is of course the “I’ve just been gored in the guts by a big ass bull” face!

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It all begins innocently enough (and it is innocent because nothing much ever comes of it) when the body of a beach stud who hung around Pete and Hank washes up on the shores of Acapulco. The only clue to his mysterious demise is the bracelet he was wearing inscribed with the phrase “love is thin ice.” The dead guy had been involved with Kit, so Pete is a suspect, but Mexican law enforcement being what it is, the investigation never amounts to much more than the occasional chat between Pete and the barely interested detective, Riccardo.

The dead guy’s ex-girlfriend Carol comes down to Mexico to find out what happened to him, but she spends most of the time mooning over Pete and by the time it comes out that the dead guy apparently sent her a suicide note, the main consequence of his death is that that chintzy bracelet with the cheesy inscription has been used by both Kit and Carol to zing each other in their low wattage squabble over Pete.

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The casual viewer can be excused for suffering through the first 90 minutes of the movie wondering just what the hell the point is of watching this group of unlikable characters drinking and bickering amongst one another. Kit is a dour lush who delights in humiliating both herself and Pete whenever she can like when she tells Carol at a party that she and Pete met at the hospital where she was recovering from another of her (no doubt drunken ) car wrecks and he was there selling his blood!

For his part, Pete is even more pathetic because he is completely cognizant of just how pathetic his existence is. He insults Kit about all her money, while living the easy life off it, but somehow at the same time, not really caring about the money at all. Perhaps his dalliance with Carol (who he believes is a good-hearted small town gal) is his attempt to escape and reclaim a bit of his lost humanity. But Carol sort of turns out to be just as willing to sink to Kit’s level in going after Pete, except that she’s no where in Kit’s league in doing so.

Every broken down dude who’s ever sold his blood and by extension his soul in order to hook up with a blonde bombshell with lots of dough knows you don’t get redeemed by walking away from that payday though! Redemption can come only from out-studding the stud who’s trying to take your mealticket, I mean, your soulmate!

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So it is that Pete finds himself caught up in not one, but two towering throwdowns involving both man and beast! Following the nonsensical field trip that all these people who hate each take together to a bullfighting farm, Kit gets into the expected bullfighting accident causing Pete to have to unleash all his matador skills to keep his gored gal from getting stampeded! As magnificently masculine it is that he fended off man’s deadliest enemy to save his lady, what follows is even more macho: Pete vs. Hank. In a hospital parking lot!

Two tanned gods slugging and hugging, all for the right to hold Kit’s head out of the toilet during one of her inevitable drunken pukefests!

By the time Hank throws in the towel, it seems so obvious that the only way Pete could regain a bit of self-respect is to fight over an alcoholic chick with a male whore in front of the hospital where said alcoholic chick is recovering from being punctured by a large bovine. It’s in all the reputable self help books.

Lots of quotably bad lines, Hanks lame blackmail attempt of some old broad he’s banging, and Kit’s sordid past that wasn’t even interesting enough to compel the maid who was listening to it to stick around for the end of the story, all only add to a languidly bad film that constantly threatens to boil over into hilarious territory, but never quite makes it due to an appalling lack of anything much happening. Love Has Many Faces leaves the audience with yet one more face – abject apathy tinged with minor humorous disbelief at what is being seen and said throughout.

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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