Luv is a 1967 romantic slapstick comedy film starring Jack Lemmon, Peter Falk, Elaine May and Nina Wayne. It is based on the original Broadway production of Luv by Murray Schisgal, which opened at the Booth Theater in New York on 11 November 1964. The play ran for 901 performances and was nominated for the 1965 Tony Award for Best Play.
About to nervously jump off a bridge, scrawny Harry Berlin (Jack Lemmon) is a barely functional human being. Just as he attempts to leap off the bridge, he is distracted by Milt Manville (Peter Falk), an old friend from fifteen years ago. Harry doesn't really recognize him at first but there appears to be a contrast between the two of them with Milt boasting of how well he is doing in life while Harry tries to listen.
Milt takes Harry to his house to meet Ellen Manville (Elaine May), Milt's long-suffering wife. She is complaining that their sex life is non-existent but Milt has a secret lover in the form of beautiful blonde Linda (Nina Wayne). Milt convinces a barely-there Harry to make a go of things with Ellen so that she is not left lonely when he will divorce her for Linda. It takes a while but Harry and Ellen eventually fall in love. They marry and go to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon but this is when Ellen realizes that Harry is the world's worst roommate and childish at heart.
As Milt and Linda start to settle down as a couple, she quickly realizes that he has an addiction to selling household items and junk for a quick buck, something that she is strongly against. She immediately dumps him, which leads to Milt to want Ellen back when he realizes how much he loves her for real. She admits that she doesn't really love Harry as much as she thought, as his bizarre day-to-day activities get to her. Milt and Ellen plot to get back together and convince Harry to divorce her but he loves her and sets out to prove it by getting a job as an elevator operator in a shopping mall.
Milt and Ellen then get the idea of trying to make Harry fall in love with pretty blonde Linda. But as a last resort, they think of trying to convince Harry to commit suicide once again over the bridge. It is only when the four of them end up over the bridge that Harry finds love with a bikini-clad Linda.
- Jack Lemmon as Harry Berlin
- Peter Falk as Milt Manville
- Elaine May as Ellen Manville
- Nina Wayne as Linda
- Eddie Mayehoff as D.A. Goodhart
- Paul Hartman as Doyle
- Severn Darden as Vandergist
- Alan DeWitt as Dalrymple
- Terrayne Crawford as Woman on Playground (ucredited)
- Harrison Ford as Irate Motorist (uncredited)
- Cap Somers as Bartender (uncredited)
- For the film version, the role of Harry Berlin was originally offered to Eli Wallach, before the role was eventually taken by Jack Lemmon.
- Lemmon shed thirty pounds to play scrawny Harry Berlin. He went from his usual 168 to 138 pounds by eating 20-cent hamburgers.
The film was generally not received well by critics when it was released in 1967.
Variety wrote: "Clive Donner's direction fits the frantic overtones of unfoldment, but in this buildup occasionally goes overboard for effect. Jack Lemmon appears to over-characterize his role, a difficult one for exact shading. Peter Falk as a bright-eyed schemer scores decisively in a restrained comedy enactment for what may be regarded as the picture's top performance."
Bosley Crowther's review in The New York Times was particularly critical, ending the review with: "It goes around in circlesâ"but maybe going around in circles is your whim. If it is, "Luv" is the picture to make you dizzy doing so."
Luv was released to DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on January 3rd, 2012 as a Region 1 manufacture-on-demand DVD available through Amazon and from Mill Creek Entertainment on April 22nd, 2014 as a part of the Jack Lemmon Showcase Volume 1 with Luv on the fourth disc of a 4-disc set.
- Luv at the Internet Movie Database