Girls: Susan Oliver (1932–1990), Carol Booth (born 1941 UK), Janeé Michelle (born 1946)
Olds: Hortense Petra (1904–1982), Richard Todd (1919–2009)
A Melodrama About Hippies:’The Love-Ins’ Opens at Victoria Theater
By BOSLEY CROWTHER
The New York Times. Published: August 19, 1967
THE hippie couple who submitted to matrimony in the Victoria Theater yesterday morning before the opening of “The Love-Ins” (it was, as you may guess, a publicity stunt), were more fortunate than the gaggle of customers who astonishingly sat through this shrill and predictable Hollywood cop-out on the whole current hippie happening.
The couple didn’t stay for an inconclusive preachment that begins with Richard Todd’s resignation as a West Coast university professor out of protest against the expulsion of two pupils for publishing an underground newspaper. Mr. Todd goes to live with them in San Francisco and becomes a patronizing partisan of the Haight-Ashbury hippie crowd. In the end, Mr. Todd, robed and refulgent, a fanatical leader of a put-on hippie cult, is slain at a big hippie rally by the wised-up student whose freedom he espoused.
That might make “The Love-Ins” sound slightly critical of hippyism (or hippydom)—and it is, if one only sees and listens to the mild pokes and vague suggestions of criticism it contains. But for the most part, this lurid melodrama, which Sam Katzman has produced and Arthur Dreifuss directed, is a gaudy, gleeful glorification of the fun that hippies have at their jolly outdoor love-ins and on their phantasmagorical trips.
It pokes fun, by corny characterization, at the university president, the police, a bourgeois father who comes to look for his daughter in her Haight Street pad and even, to a certain extent, at James MacArthur as the student who gets wise and jumps the cult. His out—his way of showing his disfavor and taking vengeance on Mr. Todd for stealing his girl—is to shoot him and make a martyr of him. Some knock at hippyism this is!
Evidently Mr. Katzman wanted his picture to be both psychedelic and socially indignant. It is neither. It’s a very weak trip.