Saturday Night Film ’67

In honor of my, ahem, upcoming TECHNICOLOR DREAMS: PSYCHEDELIC CINEMA 1959 – 1980 show (oh, you’ve heard?) at the glorious Hollywood Theatre in the green world of Portland, Oregon, here’s a flashback to the year when the whole world was erupting with Dionyssian change and exploitation maestros like Sam Katzman were cashing in on the flower children with films like THE LOVE-INS — a long unavailable psyche-relic now available from the cinematic saints at Warner Archive. Starring James MacArthur (two years before settling into HAWAII 5-0 square sidekick mode) as the least convincing student activist in movie history and LOST N SPACE’s Mark Goddard as a cynical promoter. Richard Todd plays an English Leary-like professor who offers the profoundly eternal wisdom, “Be more. Sense More. Love more.” All while turning a callous eye to the LSD Freak-Outs in the “Haight & Ashbury,” i.e., what looks exactly like the Columbia backlot. The Three Stooges once slapped each other silly on the same sidewalks; the times they were a’ changin’. Between director Arthur Dreifuss’s TV-level staging and his screenplay’s cultural misrepresentation (the hippies actually smoke banana peels and when old-school right-wing radio host Joe Pyne is your only “guest star”), THE LOVE-INS does feature cool cult psych bands of the day, the nifty all-girl UFO and of course, The Chocolate Watchband. The film’s literal highlight is Susan Oliver’s de rigeur Alice In Wonderland trip, which ranks up there with SKIDOO for surreal Hollywood happenings. Essential viewing for a Turned On Generation. “Be more. Sense More. Love more.”

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