SHORT STORIES OF LOVE (1974)
aka Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love
Article 3655 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 8-2-2011
Posting Date: 8-17-2011
Directed by John Badham, Arnold Laven, and Jeannot Szwarc
Featuring Rex Harrison, Bill Bixby, Lloyd Bochner
What it is: Anthology series pilot
Rex Harrison presents three short story adaptations on the subject of love. The first involves a shy computer programmer who discovers that the supercomputer he has been working on can write love poetry, and he uses the poems to woo a female co-worker. The second involves a man from the air force who meets and falls in love with a movie usherette, unaware that the woman has a secret. The third involves a French shopkeeper who agrees to help an American painter who loves the shopkeeper’s daughter to sell his paintings… especially when he sees the painter has made a stunning copy of a Watteau.
I always feel a bit antsy when I’m watching a movie anthology that isn’t specifically geared to the genres; I’m always a little afraid that it will turn out to be a false lead and have no fantastic content. However, in this one, two of the stories do hinge on the genres. The first one features Bill Bixby, and is based on the Kurt Vonnegut Jr. short story EPICAC, and is clearly science fiction; despite a rather far-fetched premise, it’s rather endearing and even moving towards the end. The second is based on a Daphne Du Maurier story called KISS ME AGAIN STRANGER, and given that radio announces early on that a serial killer is on the loose who preys on men from the air force, it’s clear that the second one has some horror touches as well. This one features Leonard Nimoy and Juliet Mills; both do quite well, though Nimoy can’t quite hold on to his British accent. The third (Somerset Maugham’s THE FORTUNATE PAINTER) is likable enough and has some fun performances in it from Lorne Greene, Agnes Moorehead and Alan Hale Jr., but it has no fantastic content, and it is also the one that least fits in with the others, as the theme of love seems more of a side issue than the main focus of the story. Still, overall it’s an interesting combination of stories, and it might have been interesting to see what the series would have been like had the pilot sold.