11 June 2021

Love is a Long Shot on the Nose

The Calgary Herald, 29 September 1978

This weekend the 29th Toronto Jewish Film Festival presents Love on the Nose.

Do you know it?

I didn't before being contacted by the Toronto Jewish Film Foundation. A made-for-TV movie, Love on the Nose, aired on the CBC in September 1978... and then never again. The screenplay, credited to  "John Smith" (read: Ted Allan), tells the story of David (Saul Rubinek), a young Trotskyite who, thanks to his uncle (Paul Soles), lands a job at Keller's cigar store in Depression-era Montreal. The establishment is a front for a bookie joint, which allows David a good amount of time for on-the-job studies of Karl Marx.

Love on the Nose received glowing reviews; I've yet to find a critic who said a bad word. Much of the praise landed on Saul Rubinek. He played a character a decade younger than himself, though you'd never know it. Al Waxman was singled out for playing a crime boss, a character so very different than the Larry King we'd come to love on The King of Kensington. Reading the reviews, it's clear that to that point the critics hadn't recognized the actor's range.

Months later, the Windsor Star was still going on about it.

The Windsor Star, 9 January 1979

I was contacted by the Festival because of my writing on Allan this blog, in Canadian Notes & Queries, and in my most recent book. It was my pleasure to provide a short video postscript to the film in which I discuss Love on the Nose, its relationship to Allan's 1949 pulp Love is a Long Shot, and the lighter 1984 version published by McClelland & Stewart.

What I didn't mention – but should've – is that Love on the Nose is the best of the three.

Tickets for Love on the Nose can be purchased through this link.

You will not be disappointed.

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  1. Just ordered my ticket and looking forward to this!

    1. Great! Given that I'd never so much as heard of it, I expected to be disappointed. I wasn't!

      I'll be interested to hear what you think, Tony.

    2. I'm an idiot! (Although I'm not Jewish, I could probably be called a "schlemiel".) I was so busy with other things over the weekend that I completely forgot to watch the show and only realized it shortly after midnight Sunday as I was heading to bed. I feel like kicking myself for not putting a reminder on my phone. Oy vey!