Love Is a Splendid Illusion (1970)

R   |    |  Drama, Romance

Love Is a Splendid Illusion (1970) Poster

A young London couple who have trouble remaining faithful to each other visit Italy, where the husband's cheating ways come to a head when the secret lover of his equally cheating wife turns out to be a potential business partner.


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2 February 2010 | lazarillo
Strange British sex comedy that's really neither fish nor fowl
This is another film by the makers of "Loving Feeling", but with director Tom Clegg replacing Norman J. Warren (the latter of whom went on to make somewhat of a splash in the horror genre). It's not necessarily a bad film per se, but it is an unusual one. The Brits are mostly known for silly sex comedies focusing on the exploits of working-class stiffs (like the "Confessions of" series), but this tries to be more of a sophisticated continental bedroom farce, which was much more the forte of the French or the Italians. It's even set largely in Italy, but it still doesn't manage to overcome its inherent British-ness (and "sophisticated British comedy" is definitely a contradiction in terms). On the other hand, it's not nearly as funny as the more unabashedly British sex comedies, and the successful, beautiful people in this movie (kind of the English version of the "la dolce vita" set) don't make for nearly as sympathetic of protagonists as the oversexed working-class stiffs later played by people like Robin Askwith in the much more silly (and much more British) "Confessions of"-type sex comedies. Basically, the Brit filmmakers are simply out of their element here.

A London businessman ( Simon Brent also in "Loving Feeling") has a pretty girlfriend (Lisa Collings), who he freely cheats on, although he doesn't realize she is cheating on him as well. It all comes to a head when they go on vacation together to Italy. He is tempted both by a German prostitute (Anne Matisse) and by the French wife (Andree Flamand )of another elderly British tourist. Meanwhile, his girlfriend's lover from London (Mark Kingston) also shows up by coincidence and turns out to be an important potential business contact for the man, so he tries to use her to get to him, not realizing the pair are already involved. This is obviously the set-up for a typical continental sex comedy of the era. And while the guys are appropriately handsome and the girls are appropriately beautiful, in the end the film doesn't work as continental bedroom farce because it is simply too British (although I did find it a slight improvement over "Loving Feeling" at least).

On the other hand, it isn't really all that British either, so the movie really ends up being neither fish nor fowl. You're probably better off watching either an actual continental sex comedy or a silly British "Confessions of" movie rather than this one. But I supposed it is a kind of interesting failure.

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Release Date:

3 September 1970



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