Don Knotts stars in this 1960s sexual satire as mild-mannered bird watcher Abner Peacock, whose birding magazine is rapidly going out of business. When he takes on some new partners to revitalise the magazine, he is shocked to discover that they have an agenda of their own - to turn 'The Peacock' into a top 'gentleman's magazine'. When the next issue goes on to sell millions of copies, Abner soon finds himself in the position of defending his First Ammendment right to free speech and being seduced into a swinging bachelor world.
I was so surprised while watching this film by its extraordinary modernity, its relevance to our consumer packaged 21st century life styles Its humour is gentle and the sexual innuendo ~ well it does deal with porn magazines ~ would not make a maiden aunt blush. For me the big surprise was to see Darlene Love performing with The Blossoms during a party scene. It was worth it for that alone.
The Love God is not only hilarious, it's a bit of an eye-opener, as well. I was perplexed when I saw the PG-13 rating attached to the film just before it began. For one thing, you don't expect a classic Don Knotts movie to be PG-13 material; for another thing, I don't remember ever seeing an old movie retroactively being given a PG-13 rating. Don't get me wrong here. The Love God is quite tame by today's standards, but it deals with sexuality and censorship in a surprisingly upfront way. I was amazed just to hear the word sex repeated multiple times throughout the film - obviously, the sexual revolution of the 60s was in full swing by 1969, but it's almost surreal to see a Don Knotts film that is ostensibly about that very subject. I should make it clear that this film, while taking some amazing detours through the free and sexually conscious streets of town, does find its way back home to small-town America and its traditional values. Virtue and honor are put to the test here, but they prove equal to the task in the end. Poor Abner Peacock (Don Knotts) is the fourth-generation publisher of the Peacock, a magazine devoted to birds. We see Peacock show off his personal bird-calling skills at the beginning of the movie, but he can't whistle up the tens of thousands of dollars he needs to save his magazine. Enter one Osborn Tremaine (Edmond O'Brien), notorious peddler of smutty magazines; his investment saves the magazine, and in a matter of hours Peacock is happily on his way to the jungles of Brazil to try to get the first photograph ever of the world's most elusive bird. Tremaine, in Abner's convenient absence, quickly changes the Peacock into a girlie magazine; when the authorities come calling with an indictment for peddling smut, it is poor, ignorant Abner who finds himself on trial. His arrest sparks waves of protest all over the world, and the trial is transformed into a fight over freedom of speech. The end result of it all is to make Abner Peacock the most famous swinger of his day; he's got more mojo working than Austin Powers, despite the fact that poor Abner is still the same old shy, regular little guy with a sweet and innocent girl waiting for him back in Peacock City. Knowing the next issue of the Peacock is going to sell like hotcakes thanks to all the publicity, Tremaine is forced to bring in an outside investor by the name of J. Charles Twilight (better known as "Icepick" Charlie). He also hires publicity-craving Lisa LaMonica (Anne Francis) to be the new editor. So many powerful forces working in tandem compel Peacock to hang around a while, and he settles into the life of a famous playboy. It is hilarious to watch the progression of shy Abner into the world's most famous swinger - and those outfits! Dear, sweet Rosa Ellen still waits for him back at home, but Peacock seems unable to leave his lavish new lifestyle; indeed, his business partners are pretty darn determined that he not leave because it would mean the end of the fortune they are making off his image. I think the movie ends wonderfully; you pretty much know how things are going to turn out in the end, but The Love God has a pretty effective way of taking you to your expected destination. This has to be one of the first movies to satirize the hot-button issues of morality and censorship. The very premise of the film speaks directly to the audiences of today. You won't find the sort of behavior, nudity, and language of today's films here, but The Love God really was ahead of its time in terms of the issues it addressed. I assume the nature of the discussion accounts for the PG-13 rating attached to it now, but rest assured you or your kids won't see a single thing here that they haven't seen long, long ago - probably on network television. This isn't Don Knotts' best film, but it gives you Don Knotts as you've probably never seen him before - and the film is very, very funny.Read more ›