"A blow for democracy"

Sophomoric take on celebrity politics

Published: Jan 10 2016, 01:01:am

Monday, March 17, 1975.
LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT. Written by Jack S. Margolis. Music by Big Mac & The Truckers. Directed by Claudio Guzman. Running time: 95 minutes. Restricted entertainment with the B.C. Classifier's warning: many scenes of nudity, suggestive scenes throughout.
FRIDAY EVENING, THE UNIVERSITY of B.C.'s medical students presented their annual Beer-and-Skits Night, a production that compared favourably to Linda Lovelace for President.
    The beer helped.
    Unfortunately, there's no help at all for Linda. This third feature suggests that Ms Lovelace's performing talents were fully exposed in her first feature, 1972's Deep Throat. (Needless to say, those much-discussed talents are not on display here.)
    In his spin-off novel (published as a Playboy Press paperback with a cover price of $1.75), screenwriter Jack Margolis develops a basic premise that contains the raw material for an irreverent burlesque of the American political process, a la Mel Brooks.
     In it, a collection of extremist minorities band  together and nominate the U.S. porn film industry's ranking queen for president, uniting under the slogan "a vote for Linda is a blow for democracy."
    The trouble is that director Claudio Guzman — no, I never heard of him either — exercises no control over what goes on in his film. The level of humour is not so much undergraduate as it is undernourished.
    Margolis's script, the story of the Up-Right People's Party, is made up of the kind of substandard material that overtired TV writers recognize as the first sign of nervous collapse. You know a movie is trying too hard when it opens with the witless warning that "this picture is intended to offend everybody regardless of race, creed or color."
    The plot, such as it is, follows the nominee on her campaign tour aboard a bus driven by Monkees lead singer Micky Dolenz (one among a number of minor celebrities seen in cameo roles). The film's large, and largely undisciplined, cast all give the impression that mental instability (rather than comic talent) was a condition of employment on the project.
    All, that is, except Lovelace herself. Since her last screen appearance, the softcore Deep Throat, Part II (1974), she has been taking poise lessons.
    Throughout the current film, she stands aloof from the main action, composed, self-confident and smiling vacantly. Somebody must have whispered to her that there was a disaster going on and, like a good politician, she knew enough not to get involved.

The above is a restored version of a Province review by Michael Walsh originally published in 1975. For additional information on this archived material, please visit my FAQ.

Afterword: At the time, I assumed that Claudio Guzman was a pseudonym for someone who did not want his real name on a movie called Linda Lovelace for President. I later learned that the Chilean-born Guzman had been a 1950s television art director who moved into series episode direction in the 1960s, specializing in such comedy shows as The Patty Duke Show and I Dream of Jeannie. During that time, he was married to the singer, actress and television pitchwoman Anna Maria Alberghetti. Guzman made his debut as a feature film director with an independently-financed black and white drama called The Runaway that was shot on location in Mexico. He tried again in 1973, travelling to Chile to film the comedy Antonio. Directing Linda Lovelace put paid to his big screen ambitions and he returned to television.
    It says something about the social climate of the 1970s that Linda Lovelace for President opened in Vancouver in the 2,872 seat Orpheum Theatre, then the Famous Players cinema chain's B.C. flagship house. Two weeks earlier, the popular culture phenomenon that was Linda Lovelace visited Vancouver to promote her new feature, and we sat down for an interview in her luxury hotel suite. Her turbulent, mostly unhappy life ended in 2002, the result of an auto accident. Today (January 10) would have been her 67th birthday.