Lord Love a Duck is a comedy. A very dark comedy. It deals with two high school seniors, played by Roddy McDowell and Tuesday Weld. For some reason, his character is obsessed with her, and will do anything she wants. Oddly, she doesn’t abuse that ability. She’s a somewhat shallow — her ambition is simply to become famous. At any cost. But, in truth, she comes from a broken home. She’s a sympathetic character.
The movie itself is a spoof of a great many things, with many funny moments, including:
- The “new” education, where they teach biology anymore … It’s now the science of plants.
- The “new” church — where the Pastor (and his wife Butch) run a drive-in church service.
- “We don’t divorce our men in this family … we bury them.”
- Fame, movie making in general, and bikini movies in particular.
Cast of characters
- Roddy McDowall (Planet of the Apes, Fright Night) as Alan “Mollymauk” Musgrave. The very intelligent young man, who decides to make Barbara Ann’s dreams come true. He’s very intelligent, but marches to tthe beat of a different drummer. And, he doesn’t limit himself to societal restrictions. Even murder.
- Tuesday Weld (Soldier in the Rain) as Barbara Ann Greene. A beautiful young woman, from a broken home. Her father isn’t part of his life, doesn’t pay alimony.
- Lola Albright as Marie Greene. Barbara Ann’s mother. A fortyish woman, who can’t admit to herself that she’s growing older. A “cocktail waitress” who works at a bunny club. She feels guilt-ridden when she thinks she’s ruined Barbarba Ann’s engagement. And the sleeping pills are handy …
- Martin West as Bob Bernard. The young man, clearly pursuing Barbara Ann. When she asks Alan to help her get married to Bob, he does. Even though he considers Bob a hollow, empty person. When Barbara Ann wants out of the marriage, Alan’s recurring murder attempts are hilarious.
- Ruth Gordon as Stella Bernard. Bob’s mother. A hard woman, who clearly looks down on her son. But, she loves him anyway.
- Harvey Korman as Weldon Emmett. Principal of the school. A secondary character, but very funny in his role.
Editorial review of Lord Love a Duck, courtesy of Amazon.com
The term ‘cult movie’ might have been invented for this little-known satire. Lord Love a Duck was the directing debut of screenwriter George Axelrod, who wrote The Seven Year Itch and adapted Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He displays little feel for directing, and the movie’s ideas spray out in a dozen directions (academic absurdity, Drive-In Churches, psychoanalysis), yet the thing is so weird it becomes distinctive. Roddy McDowall and Tuesday Weld are the every-which-way nonconformists, and Weld leaves no doubt she was a movie star who understood exactly how silly movie stars were (maybe that’s why she never broke through).
Weld’s character has a scene modeling cashmere sweaters for her father that’s one of the loopiest Freudian pranks ever pulled in a movie. It never jells into something solid, but this film deserves a spot between The Loved One and The Knack on the shelf of 1960s pop satire. — Robert Horton
Product Description of Lord Love a Duck
Hilarious! A trunkful of laughs! Cue You can’t always get what you want unless of course you’ve got Alan Mollymauk Musgrave on your side! Featuring outstanding performances by Roddy McDowall Tuesday Weld. Featuring a supporting cast that includes Lola Albright Ruth Gordon and Harvey Korman. This hilarious (Variety) satire on teen excesses is superbly comic (Los Angeles Times)! With a special gift for manipulating the outcome of any situation high-minded high schooler Mollymauk (McDowall) sets out to help beautiful new girl on campus Barbara Anne (Weld). Trouble is Barbara Anne wants everything and Mollymauk’s help is making a mess out of everyone’s lives including hers!