(director: Edward Dmytryk; screenwriters: John Michael Hayes/from the book Where Love Has Gone by Harold Robbins; cinematographer: Joseph MacDonald; editor: Frank Bracht; music: Walter Scharf; cast: Susan Hayward (Valerie Hayden Miller), Bette Davis (Mrs. Gerald Hayden), Mike Connors (Major Luke Miller), Joey Heatherton (Danielle Valerie Miller), Jane Greer (Marian Spicer), DeForest Kelley (Sam Corwin), George Macready (Harris, Lawyer), Anthony Caruso (Rafael), Anne Seymour (Dr. Sally Jennings), Howard Wendell (Mr. Carruthers); Runtime: 111; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Joseph E. Levine; Paramount; 1964)

“Too bad this exploitative film couldn’t have starred Lana.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Edward Dmytryk (“Bluebeard”/”Murder, My Sweet”/”Mirage”) directs this raunchy, glossy, pulp fiction courtroom/family drama that’s based on the trashy sensational bestseller novel by Harold Robbins, one of his weaker squalid novels. Where Love Has Gone was loosely based on the 1958 Lana Turner/Johnny Stopanato murder case. Too bad this exploitative film couldn’t have starred Lana; it would have then hit the jackpot in tawdry tabloid filmmaking. It’s saddled with a pedestrian script by John Michael Hayes, some dismal acting by bitchy actress leads Susan Hayworth and Bette Davis, and lackluster directing by Dmytryk. The film honors the tradition of the bad Hollywood melodrama by being such sentimental schlock. It even won an Oscar for the trite title song warbled by Jack Jones, as written by songwriters Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen.

It opens with successful self-made middle-aged building contractor Luke Miller (Mike Connors) leaving an Arizona business meeting to go to San Francisco when he learns from the family lawyer, Harris (George Macready), that his 15-year-old daughter, Dani (Joey Heatherton), has been arrested for stabbing to death her mother’s live-in gigolo lover after witnessing them argue in her home. Valerie Hayden (Susan Hayward) is the sculptress ex-wife, who deprived Luke of visitation rights to his daughter. Harris now asks war hero Luke to stand by his daughter and allow the family to look wholesome in togetherness, as Dani goes before a juvenile court hearing. A flashback provides the sordid details of the marriage and the part played by the domineering and scheming wealthy Nob Hill mansion residing mother of Valerie’s, Mrs. Gerald Hayden (Bette Davis), to ruin their marriage. The bitter couple come together again in the hopes of saving their pouting and mixed-up daughter, but not without tragic consequences.

For those partial to the Hollywood brand of vulgar entertainment this mawkish phony tearjerker film, put together by the same grubby team that did “The Carpetbaggers,” should be salacious enough to sate their junk food taste buds.

Where Love Has Gone Poster