‘Quest For Love’ starts off in a blur of 1971 type activity, all polo necks, suede jackets, casual racism and sexism and Denholm Elliot wearing a massive lopsided suit jacket to convince us he only has one arm. In a matter of minutes, bony physicist Tom Bell has had a mishap in the lab and been transported to a parallel timeline. It’s 1971 here, too, but little things are different: the economy is booming because World War Two never happened, Denholm Elliot has two arms, and Tom is a best selling author who is unhappily married to Joan Collins.
Of course, Tom is still a bony physicist in his own head, he has just apparently swapped places with an alternate self who is, presumably, out in the other 1971 fucking experiments up. Our Tom realises several things about the man he is supposed to be, not least the fact that he is a vain, selfish dickhead who treats his wife like rubbish. Our Tom loves her, however, and spends most of his time trying to convince her he is different. As soon as he does, and they fall in love, she dies, and the trauma projects him back to his own timeline. Realising that there must be a Joan equivalent in this 1971 as well, perhaps with the same heart complaint the other Joan had, he tries desperately to find her and save her - and get off with her – the quest for love of the title (although this bit only lasts about ten minutes).
If you forget all the quantum stuff and Denholm Elliot’s big, skewiff jacket, ‘Quest For Love’ is an entertaining film that reminds me a little of some of the more outré US soap operas (the ones with evil twins and flashbacks within flashbacks within comas). It’s particularly good in making two of the most unsympathetic leads of all time seem almost lovable: Tom Bell, who despite slightly resembling my Dad, is usually a sinister, sardonic presence and Joan Collins who is undeniably very attractive in physical terms, but always seems like a MASSIVE pain in the arse in almost every other respect.
A surprisingly commercial mix of sci fi and love story, ‘Quest For Love’ was based on a John Wyndham story called ‘Random Quest’, and was a non-portmanteau product of the wonderful Amicus studios. Watch it, you’ll enjoy it.