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Quest for Love (1971 film)

Quest for Love
"Quest For Love" (1971).jpg
Directed byRalph Thomas
Written byTerence Feely
Based on"Random Quest" by John Wyndham
Produced byPeter Eton
Peter Rogers
StarringJoan Collins
Tom Bell
Denholm Elliott
Laurence Naismith
CinematographyErnest Steward
Edited byRoy Watts
Music byEric Rogers
Peter Rogers Productions
Distributed byJ. Arthur Rank Film Distributors
Release date
9 September 1971 (London) (UK)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Quest for Love is a 1971 British romantic science fiction drama film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Joan Collins, Tom Bell and Denholm Elliott. It is based on the 1954 short story "Random Quest" by John Wyndham.[1]


A physicist, Colin Trafford, stages a demonstration of a particle accelerator to a number of people, including Sir Henry Larnstein and Trafford's long-time friend Tom Lewis. The demonstration goes wrong and Trafford, with his same memories, finds himself in a parallel universe with significant differences from our own: John F. Kennedy is Secretary General of a still-existent League of Nations, Leslie Howard did not die in the Second World War because it never happened, and no one ever succeeded in climbing to the peak of Mount Everest. Trafford also discovers that he is a famous author, an alcoholic, and a womaniser with a beautiful wife, Ottilie. Trafford instantly falls in love with Ottilie, whereas his parallel self was constantly unfaithful to her and she is on the brink of divorcing him.

With the help of Sir Henry and the physical evidence of the absence of a childhood scar, Ottilie accepts that this 'new' Trafford is not the same man she had originally fallen in love with and married. The couple fall in love once again, but Trafford then discovers that Ottilie has a terminal heart condition that is incurable in that world. Very soon she dies in Trafford's arms. At that instant he regains consciousness in a hospital bed in his original reality, where he has been for three weeks since the accident. He determines to track down Ottilie's alter ego and finds her just in time to get her to hospital for treatment of her ailment. As she recovers, Trafford goes to visit her with a bunch of her favourite flowers and introduces himself.



John Wyndham's story had been adapted on television on BBC2 as an episode of Out of the Unknown in 1969. It starred Keith Barron and Tracy Reed.

Film rights went to Peter Rodgers, who produced the Carry On series for the Rank Organisation and made an arrangement to produce other films for them "thrillers and romantic subjects".[2]

Filming took place starting October 1970 under the title Quest. It was shot at Pinewood Studios and on location in Buckinghamshire.[3]


Critical reception

The Guardian called it "not much good... though far from objectionable."[4] Evening Standard called it "blethering romantic rubbish."[5]

TV Guide called the film "an unusual science fiction tale that doesn't completely work but does hold interest...The story gets complicated, but the direction juggles the separate worlds without much trouble. Bell's performance makes this project work. He's believable and earnest, and brings it off with a guiding clarity";[6] Time Out, however, called the film "puerile sci-fi romance";[7] but DVD Talk wrote, "a surprisingly effective romance with just the barest sci-fi succeeds in large part due to the two leads' believable underplaying. Bell is on the right note from the beginning of the film, never overplaying his hand...Collins, whom too many people know only from TV's Dynasty, is simply wonderful here, creating a fully-dimensional character."[8]


Joan Collins later said that, out of her entire career, she was proudest of her performances in the TV series Dynasty, and the films Decadence and Quest for Love.[9]


  1. ^ QUEST FOR LOVE (1971), BFI
  2. ^ "Assault". Variety's film reviews. Bowker. 1983. p. 28.
  3. ^ Martin, Betty (4 November 1970). "MOVIE CALL SHEET: Raquel to Star in 'Nitro'". Los Angeles Times. p. i12.
  4. ^ Mackay, Michael (9 September 1971). "All go on the eastern front". The Guardian. p. 10.
  5. ^ Walker, Alexander (9 September 1971). "Such a well bred ghoul...". Evening Standard. p. 21.
  6. ^ "Quest For Love". TV Guide.
  7. ^ "Quest for Love". Time Out London.
  8. ^ "Quest For Love (1971)". DVD Talk.
  9. ^ Interview with Joan Collins
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Quest for Love (1971 film)
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