The Love-Ins

The Love-Ins is a 1967 exploitation film about LSD that was directed by Arthur Dreifuss.[1]

The Love-Ins
Promotional poster
Directed byArthur Dreifuss
Produced bySam Katzman
Written byHal Collins
Arthur Dreifuss
StarringRichard Todd
James MacArthur
Susan Oliver
Mark Goddard
Four-Leaf Productions
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • July 26, 1967 (1967-07-26)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States

The film is loosely based on the 1960s American figure Timothy Leary and represents the 1960s San Francisco scene, particularly the Haight-Ashbury district.[2] The plot basically centers on a Timothy Leary-type figure becoming the head of a cult-like following of hippies who all enjoy the effects of LSD. The production seems to be a typical representation of the producer Sam Katzman's work.[2] The film featured a number of different musical acts popular at the time. The themes dealt with drug use and martyrdom. The film was generally poorly received with a few exceptions.[2]


Patricia Cross and her boyfriend Larry Osborne, two students in a San Francisco school, become expelled for the publication of an off-campus underground paper. As a result, a philosophy professor, Dr. Jonathon Barnett, resigns his teaching position and decides to become an advocate for the counterculture youth movement and specifically the use of LSD. The hippies of the Haight-Ashbury district (including Larry and Patricia) first see him as a hero and then as something more. Dr. Barnett makes an appearance on the Joe Pyne TV show to exppress his support of the hippie community and the use of LSD.

One scheming young man sees the opportunity to build Dr. Barnett as the head of a cult centered on the use of LSD. He hopes to earn profit from the users, Dr. Barnett's speeches known as "happenings," and their lifestyles. At a massive LSD-fueled dance, Patricia begins to have a bad trip which leads to an argument between her and Larry, ultimately splitting up the couple.

After Patricia realizes that she's pregnant, Dr. Barnett advises her to have an abortion, ultimately leading to Patricia's attempting suicide. However, Larry saves her and makes the destruction of Dr. Barnett's cult his primary objective. Larry shoots Dr. Barnett from the crowd at one of his massive speeches. As another hippie in attendance calms the audience and Elliot sees his new leader for their cult-like organization, Larry realizes that his assassination of Dr. Barnett simply made him a martyr for the hippie movement.[3]


The cast incorporated a number of current musical acts, real-life news figure Joe Pyne, actors, as well as extras who were from the Haight-Ashbury district at the time.[2]


Actress Susan Oliver, who portrays the main character Patricia Cross, was disillusioned by the film due to its serious subject manner and the exploitation style in which it would be produced. She said, "I'd turned it down flat at first, since the script was a trivialization of the whole Timothy Leary, flower-child, hippie scene then going on." However, producers and friends involved in the picture promised her that the topic would be done tastefully. Later, she realized it was just an exploitation and cried at the wrap party.[2]


Columbia Pictures released the film in 1967. Sam Katzman produced the film. According to Jeff Stafford, Katzman had made a name of making cheap exploitations films in either popular genres or in relation to popular fads of the time.[2]

The term "Love-Ins"

"Love-in" is a name given to a gathering in the promotion of love for the enjoyment of participants either personally or in relation to social activism.[5] In the context of the title, it refers to the psychedelic and social activism conducted by Timothy Leary who in the film is represented by the character Dr. Barnett whose philosophy is "Be more. Sense More. Love more."


The film featured a number of psychedelic rock bands at the time. The garage band The Chocolate Watch Band made an appearance in the film as well as contributing music. The film also featured 1960s bands, such as The UFO's, Donnie Brooks and the New Age Group.[2] Hollywood music director and composer Fred Karger also contributed original music for the film.[4]

Although not a musical, the film does feature a large musical sequence in which a main character, Patricia Cross, has a bad LSD trip and goes into an Alice in Wonderland-themed sequence. Cross imagines that she's Alice and meets men dressed in White Rabbit costumes as well as other representations of characters from Lewis Carroll's story over the course of a lengthy, free-form, disco musical sequence.[2]


The film deals with many themes in tune with 1960s counterculture. One theme throughout the film deals with the aspect of the Haight-Ashbury district and its drug counterculture, with Dr. Barnett as the film's representation of Timothy Leary. Like Leary, Barnett endorses an LSD lifestyle. As Barnett says in the film, "LSD opens up new vistas and experiences to those that take it. I believe that every healthy person should try it. This is a way of life: Be more. Sense more. Love more." [6] The film also showed the downfall of certain individuals as the result of such a lifestyle, in particular with the film's treatment of its protagonists Larry and Patricia.

Other themes include the creation of martyrs, reflected through the final act, in which Larry thinks he has destroyed the head of this cult-like following only to find a ready replacement in another hippie from the organization.


Many critics dismissed the film as "a typical exploitation film." However, a few notable exceptions exist. Variety magazine called it a "good exploitation film of San Francisco’s hippie movement…a solid, if standard story, fringed in fine style with love-ins and hippie happenings…art direction is slick and colorful."[2]

See also


  1. Katzman's The Love-Ins' Screens in Citywide Run, Champlin, Charles. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 08 Sep 1967: c14.
  2. Jeff Stafford (2009). "The Love-Ins". Turner Classic Movies. Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  3. "The Love-Ins". Movie Tome Beta. CBS Interactive Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  4. "Full Cast and Crew for The Love-Ins (1967)". The International Movie Database., Inc. 1990–2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  5. "love-in, definition". The Free Dictionary. Farlex, Inc. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
  6. "Love-Ins, The 1967". The Video Beat!. The Video Beat!. 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-05.
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