"No one will know, let's have a go,"
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 09/08/2005
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes the story of those involved behind a movie is more interesting that the movie itself...as is the case with The Love Pill (1971). The film was written and co-produced by John Lindsay, a native of Scotland who was responsible for an awful lot of Britain's `blue' films (films with very explicit, hardcore material) throughout the 70s, including such features as Nymphomania (1971), Jolly Hocky Sticks (1974), and Health Farm (1975) to name a few. This film, along with another entitled The Hot Girls (1974), marked his only forays into the world of softcore, and while I haven't seen the latter, I did get a chance to watch The Love Pill last night, and based on what I saw, it's understandable why he returned to the celluloid naughtiness he was more accustomed, as the film just wasn't very good, and probably not as profitable. Directed by Ken Turner, whose main claim to fame seems to be having directed on the Gerry Anderson televisions science fiction series "Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons", "Joe 90" and "UFO", all of which featured something called `Supermarionation' (highly articulate marionettes). The film features David Pugh (Naughty Girls On the Loose), Melinda Churcher (The Haunted House of Horror), Toni Sinclair (And Now the Screaming Starts!), and Henry Woolf (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash).
The movie opens with a comely woman walking along the English countryside, and not far behind her is a man, also walking along. The woman stops, pops a piece of candy in her mouth, gets a randy look in her eye, and begins chasing the man while stripping her clothes off..corr blimey! Soon afterwards we visit the local candy shoppe, located in the village of Bodley, run by a man and his son, named Alfred and Arnold (Pugh) Crudley, respectively, called Crudley's Sweet Shop. Seems Alfred has developed a sweetmeat whose popularity is tied to the fact that his secret ingredient not only acts like a contraceptive, but turns the women who consume the tasty sugar balls into raging nymphomaniacs, full of lusty, wanton tendencies....oh my! Anyway, word leaks out, probably because the village hasn't had a birth in like six years, and a lecherous, rhyming (no foolin') professor and his assistant named Linda (Churcher) arrive in Bodley to determine the aphrodisiacal ingredient, but Alfred suffers an untimely death, taking the secret with him to the grave, but leaving behind a few jugs of the stuff, prompting Linda to convince Arnold he should come to London and share his father's discovery with the world. Their intentions are altruistic, but they end up getting involved with a shady businessman named Libido (Woolf), who uses the formula to make pills, which end up becoming quite popular. Arnold begins to regret his decision to hook up with Libido, as it becomes apparent Libido's only interest is profit, even though he claimed to Arnold and Linda that all the monies made would go to charities, but all that may soon be moot, as the formula is running out, and Arnold has yet to determine father's secret ingredient...
I really had little idea what I was getting into with this film, but I do like to explore the cinematic rubbish bins, churning up curios like this...the movie plays like a Benny Hill skit, the difference being a Benny Hill Skit is much shorter and generally a lot funnier. The intentions seemed a bit fuzzy to me, as I perceived perhaps an inkling by the writer to twist commonly accepted social mores by transferring attributes normally associated with men to the female population. There's also a lot of unexplored territory tied to the whole notion of a pill that drives feminine empowerment due to both the contraceptive aspect and induced hedonistic behavior...imagine a world where women pursue men with lusty abandon, unfettered by inhibitions, both physical and psychological...there's also the question put forth by Arnold and Libido's detractors as to what kind of Bacchanalian society would evolve from its citizens participating in completely unrestrained hedonism, but the film merely touches on these aspects, preferring more so to show copious amounts female mellonage. I dunno, maybe I'm seeing more than there actually is, but I have to figure perhaps there came a point where Lindsay wanted to actually express something in one of his films, his artistic nature fighting his base, fiduciary desires. Well, regardless...the movie itself is pretty sleazy, lurid, and smutty, featuring a good amount of nekkidness mainly in the form of, but not limited to, topless women. The acting is rotten, the story relatively moronic and puerile, and the dialog and humor hokey as hell, full of obvious innuendoes...here's an example...while at a restaurant featuring topless waitresses (streuth!), one serving girl asks a man if he'd like a roll, to which the man replies "What, now?" Get it? Pardon me while I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes...Molière it ain't...and check out the names of some of the characters... Mary Tighthouse... Lady Feellitt...being a guy, I like to look at the female form as much as any of my peers, and there's something about seeing natural women baring all, prior to the now prevalent state of enhancement resulting from plastic surgery. Sure the women in this film have flaws, but that only serves to make them more human, fostering a sense of attainability within the viewer. All in all I do give the film points for what it is, a sleazy, psuedo comedic romp, but it left me wondering what could have been, in terms of a biting satirical, skewed view on non-martial coupling within an oppressive society.
The fullscreen picture on this Obsession DVD release looks very dingy, like someone dipped the negative in Coca-Cola prior to transferring it to DVD. The condition is most likely due to age and poor handling, and I doubt anyone would bother to put forth any efforts to clean it up, so this is probably the best we'll see. Perhaps there are videocassette copies out there with better quality, I don't know...the audio comes through well and fairly clear, much better than the picture. There are chapter stops, and included is a still gallery consisting of seemingly random, blurry still shots from the film, which seemed not worth the effort. I would have been inclined to go with three stars for the film (despite its negative aspects) primarily due to my perception of underlying themes seemingly introduced but never fully explored, but the picture quality is quite rotten, hence my overall rating of two stars.