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The Love Machine

The Love Machine(1971)

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Robin Stone, a handsome, ambitious newscaster for a local New York television station, attracts the attention of Judith Austin, the wife of Gregory Austin, the head of the IBC network. Also entralled by Robin is Amanda, a model who believes she is in love with him. The network has been lagging behind in ratings, and consequently, urged on by Judith, Greg decides to hire Robin as IBC's new anchorman. Although Danton Miller, the head of programming, opposes Greg's decision, Dan lacks the power to countermand his boss. Proud of Robin's promotion, Amanda gives him an ankh ring as a symbol that she will love him forever, but Robin replies that nothing is forever. Amanda's intimate evening with Robin is interrupted by the arrival of Jerry Nelson, a homosexual fashion photographer who is a close friend of Robin. The next day, Judith meets Robin in her husband's office and begins to flirt with him. That night, after Robin has sex with Tina St. Claire, another one of his conquests, he discovers that the baby sparrow he rescued from his terrace has died and wraps its body in a napkin, along with Amanda's ankh ring. When Robin insists on expanding his newscast from fifteen to thirty minutes and scheduling it in prime time, Dan objects that sponsors will not invest their money in the news, but prodded by Judith, Greg argues that the network needs prestige more than sponsors. Angry that Robin is challenging his power, Dan decides to build a variety show around second-rate comedian Christie Lane to prove that audiences want crass entertainment, not enlightenment. Christie is a hit, and Jerry arranges for the show's sponsor, a perfume company, to hire Amanda to appear on the show as the embodiment of their product. After her perfume spot appears, Amanda spurns the celebratory party thrown by the network to visit Robin, who has been ignoring her. When she insists that he attend the party with her, he invites her to come inside, causing her to see Tina, who is still nude, after having had sex with Robin. Shattered, Amanda goes to the party and soon after, Robin comes in with Tina and cruelly flirts with Amanda. Christie, smitten with Amanda's beauty, tries to woo her, and when Amanda gets drunk and agrees to go home with him, he proposes to her. After flying to Hollywood to interview actor Alfie Knight, Robin returns to New York and squabbles with Dan over who is in charge. Afterward, Judith wheedles a lunch date with Robin, which they spend in Robin's bed. When Judith aggressively demands a key to Robin's apartment, however, he demurs. While Robin and Judith are enjoying their romantic interlude, Greg suffers a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital. Because Greg is incapacitated, Judith assumes his power of attorney and appoints Robin to act as head of the network while she takes her husband to Switzerland to recuperate. Still desperate to see Robin, Amanda comes to his office, where he declares he never wants to see her again. Hysterical, Amanda rushes into Robin's anteroom, where Christie is waiting for his meeting with Robin. When Christie approaches Amanda, she rebuffs him, humiliating Christie, who decides to fire her from his show. Christie then summons Ethel Evans, who works in network publicity, to disassociate his name from Amanda's. Ethel, who uses sex to get what she wants, recognizes a golden opportunity in Amanda's rejection of Christie and offers to be his "girl." Later, Jerry comes to Amanda's apartment and discovers she has committed suicide. Beside her body, Jerry finds a tape recording of Amanda pleading with Robin for one more chance, which he then pockets to save Robin's reputation. While watching the newscast that night, Robin is shaken to learn of Amanda's death and takes a long walk, during which he is propositioned by a prostitute. After following the woman to her room, Robin changes his mind, and when the woman calls him a "closet queen," he beats her up and leaves. Robin then notifies Jerry, who anonymously calls an ambulance for the battered woman and invites Robin to his apartment, where he conceals Robin's bruised hands with makeup and agrees to lie that Robin spent the night there. In return, Jerry asks for a gold "slave bracelet" engraved with Robin's name. Some time later, Dan, who has quit the network, offers Jerry $10,000 a week and paid trips to California to become his "silent partner" in a television show that he wants Jerry to sell to Robin. Upon returning to New York with the recovered Greg, Judith is disappointed that Robin has not come to welcome her back and insists that they resume their affair. When he stands her up and avoids her phone calls, she sneaks into his apartment. Seeing Robin cavorting in the shower with nude twins, Judith piles their clothes onto the bed and sets them on fire. That night's news features a prominent story of the embarrassed Robin and the twins, dressed only in raincoats, being interviewed about the fire. Upset, Judith runs back to her apartment where she manipulates her husband into resuming control of the network and demoting Robin. When Greg announces that he is taking over IBC, Robin threatens to quit, a move that would result in pitting Greg against the network's shareholders. When Cliff Dorne, Greg's attorney, suggests using a morals clause against Robin, who has been dubbed "The Love Machine" by the press because of his sexual exploits, Greg agrees to hire a detective to follow Robin and see if there is any truth to the rumor that Robin and Jerry are lovers. Meanwhile, Jerry convinces Robin to accept an invitation to a party that Alfie, now Jerry's boyfriend, is giving in Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, Robin runs into Judith at the Hotel Bel-Air and invites her to the party. Upon arriving at Alfie's house, Robin is pleased to see aspiring actress Maggie Stewart there, but Maggie rebuffs his advances. Judith becomes annoyed when Robin ignores her to spend time with Alfie and Jerry. Once all the guests have gone, Judith finds Jerry's slave bracelet on the floor and taunts Robin with it, calling him a "faggot". When Judith threatens to expose Robin and stuffs the bracelet into her bra, Jerry and Alfie wrestle her to retrieve it, but she hits Jerry on the head with Alfie's Oscar statuette. Her screams attract a passing police car, and as the police pound on the door, Robin rips the bracelet from Judith's bra. Upon opening the door, Robin lies to the officers that he got drunk and made a pass a Judith, and when Jerry and Alfie tried to intervene, a fight ensued. The police take them to the police station, and as Robin tries to leave the station, his reputation besmirched by the scandal, he is badgered by reporters. When Maggie pulls up in her car and asks if he needs a "lift," he replies "Not yet."