“You have made it publicly obvious that you have only one concept of love: a vile and sinful one,” says Mrs. Gerald Hayden. Valerie Hayden Miller replies, “When you’re dying of thirst, you drink from a mudhole.” Mrs. Hayden responds, “You have devoted your life to mud and filth.” Valerie replies, “Only to get even with you.”
Best-selling author Harold Robbins published a novel in 1962 called Where Love Has Gone. Although Robbins denied it, the novel seemed to have been inspired by Cheryl Crane, the daughter of Lana Turner who killed her mother’s boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, in 1958 (Crane claimed that she had been defending her mother). Regardless of the novel’s true inspiration, it made for a very interesting story and the book would soon be adapted into a film from Paramount Pictures. The film had been low on my radar when going over the filmography of Edward Dmytryk, but a screening of the film as part of the Chelsea Classics film series hosted by Hedda Lettuce at the Chelsea Cinemas in New York City last year made me aware of the film (and where I subsequently saw it on the big screen). It was an interesting experience and, overall, an enjoyable melodrama. This review of Where Love Has Gone is my entry in the Bette Davis Blogathon hosted by In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood.
1964’s Where Love Has Gone follows a successful architect whose marriage falls apart thanks to his ever-scheming mother-in-law, whose claws in the family also threaten the lives of her daughter and granddaughter. Dmytryk gathered together an excellent ensemble that includes Susan Hayward (as Valerie Hayden Miller), Bette Davis (as Mrs. Gerald Hayden), Mike Connors (as Major Luke Miller), Joey Heatherton (as Danielle Valerie Miller), Jane Greer (as Marian Spicer), DeForest Kelley (as Sam Corwin), George Macready (as Gordon Harris), Anne Seymour (as Dr. Sally Jennings), and Willis Bouchey (as Judge Murphy). Hayward is terrific as an artist under the control of her domineering mother who descends into alcohol and promiscuity after the collapse of her marriage (a collapse engineered by her mother). Davis is Oscar-worthy as the domineering Mrs. Hayden, scheming and manipulating until she gets her way. Davis is strong yet cruel in a stunning performance that was ultimately overshadowed by the much more popular films she did that year (Dead Ringer, Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte). Connors shines as the Air Force hero who was unfortunate enough to have even met the Haydens (let alone marry into the family), and Kelley (just two years away from Star Trek immortality) is a welcome presence as Valerie’s agent and former suitor.
The screenplay by John Michael Hayes is a good adaptation of Robbins’ novel, and Joseph MacDonald’s cinematography is crisp. The production design by Hal Pereira and Walter H. Tyler is top-notch (especially Valerie’s sculptures), and the title song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn rightfully earned its Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song. Where Love Has Gone is actually the second Dmytryk film of 1964; the team of director Dmytryk, screenwriter Hayes, and producer Joseph E. Levine also made The Carpetbaggers (which, too, is a film adaptation of a Harold Robbins novel) earlier in the year. Where Love Has Gone is the better film of the two, and is an entertaining, Oscar-nominated melodrama with standout performances (especially from Hayward and Davis).
(Unfortunately, there are currently no trailers for the film available online.)