Monday, February 5, 2024

Not the song from Urban Cowboy

Hollywood's always had a thing for singers and has tried to turn them into actors or actresses. Some have been quite good; others, not so much. I couldn't help but think about all of this as I watched singer Connie Francis in her movie Looking for Love.

The opening credits are over Francis' character, Libby Caruso, singing the title song for music producer Tiger Shay. Libby isn't a bad singer, although the music she's singing is a bit bland and dated for the time the movie came out, which is 1964, a few years after Connie Francis' heyday. Libby announces that if she can't get a break to be any sort of performer in Hollywood -- and she's been there a whole month for heaven's sake -- she's never going to get a break. She decides to give up on Hollywood and focus on finding a husband to start a family with.

The opening scene shows us how flighty and naïve Libby is, and when she goes to the employment agency, she announces that she's not competent at anything but singing. Indeed, she doesn't even seem to be competent enough to get herself dressed in the morning without making such a ruckus that she wakes up her roommate Jan (Susan Oliver). It's to the point that you wonder why Jan would keep such a roommate in the first place.

Libby decides that she's going to create a "lady valet", some sort of device that she can hang her clothes on overnight so that she can just take them off the valet first thing in the morning and save herself time. Looking for a broom hand to jerry-rig into the valet, she keeps knocking down grocery store worker Cuz (Joby Baker). Also at the grocery store, she and Jan see one of Jan's co-workers, Paul Davis (Jim Hutton), who works in promotions in the same office where Jan works. Jan tells Libby that Paul is never going to go with her, because he wants taller women.

Still, Libby is insistent on pursuing Paul, inviting him to a party she's throwing at her house. Paul is more interested in the lady valet than her, thinking it's an idea that might actually have some financial merit. He being in promotions, he's able to book a spot for Libby on The Tonight Show when Johnny Carson is coming out to Los Angeles to do a special week of episodes (Johnny didn't leave New York for LA until 1972). The appearance doesn't go well, at least not until Libby tells Johnny that she first came out to Los Angeles to try to become a singer. So Johnny has her sing a song, and this starts her on the road to music stardom.

But there's still all the romantic angles to solve, as everybody goes back and forth trying to figure out who's most appropriate for them romantically, interspersed with a bunch of cameos of Libby trying to advance her musical career.

Supposedly, Johnny Carson would joke about Looking for Love on The Tonight Show and how terrible it was. It's not hard to see why Carson would joke about it, the way he would tease his stage director Fred de Cordova about Bedtime for Bonzo. Francis isn't a very good actress in this one, and the plot is so inane it beggars belief. The music isn't that much better. The stars try, but I can't see any way they could save this one.

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