Air Date: Sept. 3, 1976 (ABC)
Production Companies: Spelling-Goldberg Productions
Running Time: 74 min.
Available on: YouTube
Written by: James Barnett
Directed by: E.W. Swackhamer
Cast: Robert Wagner, Kate Jackson, Sylvia Sidney, Marianna Hill, Joan Blondell, John Carradine, Dorothy Lamour, Billy Macy
Rating: 4 vintage televisions (out of 10)
Death at Love House (1976) reminds me of a previous 70’s TV movie that we’ve discussed here: The Dead Don’t Die (1975.) Unfortunately, one of the ways it reminds me is that I didn’t like it very much. Both deal with the golden age of Hollywood and feature glorified cameo appearances by show business legends (the common denominator being Joan Blondell.)
When movie star Lorna Love (Marianna Hill) dies, Joel (Robert Wagner) and Donna Gregory (Kate Jackson) move into her estate to write a book about her. Joel has a connection to her: his father was romantically involved and painted a lifelike portrait of her that soon becomes the object of Joel’s obsession.
There’s nothing scary about this movie and the worst thing that happens is a door closes behind Donna. I’m exaggerating. Someone turns on the gas in the bathroom while Donna’s taking a shower and locks her in, but that has nothing to do with the mystery, if you can even determine what the mystery is supposed to be.
The highlights are the interviews the couple conducts with former friends and colleagues of Lorna, some who loved her and some who despised her. Besides Blondell, there’s Dorothy Lamour and John Carradine. All three are in only one scene each and don’t provide any interesting information to add to the mystery (if you can determine what it is.)
Death at Love House isn’t necessarily boring. Wagner and Jackson are always good. It’s just that nothing really happens. It runs at a steady pace with no peaks and valleys. It was directed by E.W. Swackhamer, who made another film I enjoyed much more: Death Sentence (1974.) Considering the treasure trove of 70s TV movies, this one is decidedly below average.
Visit the TV Terror Guide: 70's TV Movies playlist at ClassicHorrors.Club TV on YouTube to watch Death at Love House as well as all the great movies from this series...