Quest for Love (1971 film)

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]

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


Physicist Colin Trafford stages a demonstration with 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 and Leslie Howard did not die in World War II because it never happened.

Trafford also discovers 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.

Eventually, 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 which is incurable in that world, and 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.



Joan Collins signed in November 1970. The film was originally called Quest.[2]

Critical reception

TV Guide noted, "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";[3] Time Out, however, called the film "puerile sci-fi romance";[4] 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."[5]


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.[6]


  1. QUEST FOR LOVE (1971), BFI
  2. MOVIE CALL SHEET: Raquel to Star in 'Nitro' Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Nov 1970: i12.
  3. "Quest For Love". TV Guide.
  4. "Quest for Love". Time Out London.
  5. "Quest For Love (1971)". DVD Talk.
  6. Interview with Joan Collins
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