Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Sellers distracts audience from Longet's singing
THE PARTY (1968). Director: Blake Edwards.

"That was a short career, wasn't it?"

Hrundi V.Bakshi (Peter Sellers) is a transplanted-to-Hollywood Indian actor who completely messes up a film produced by Fred Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley), with the result that Clutterbuck wants the hapless thespian blacklisted. However, instead of being put on a blacklist, Bakshi winds up on the guest list to the Clutterbuck's latest A list party. While it's not quite true that Bakshi "destroys" the party -- he has help from a drunk waiter (Steve Franken), a group of teens who are friends of the Clutterbuck daughter, and a baby elephant -- Baksi does do his share of damage. The Party doesn't have nearly enough laugh-out-loud moments, but there's something amiable and pleasant about the picture, much like the lead character, well-played by Sellers, himself. Sellers' leading lady is Claudine Longet, who is also ... pleasant ... but the film's lowlight is her "singing" a song in her usual whispery non-musical style, pronouncing "dream" as "dWeam" and so on -- she's just awful, the Florence Foster Jenkins of pop. Once married to Andy Williams, who somehow managed to get her a singing career, Longet is most famous for shooting her lover, a ski champion!  Besides Franken, who is quite amusing as the half-shot waiter, there are notable turns from  Gavin MacLeod as a horny director, Fay McKenzie as Clutterbuck's wife, and Denny Miller as a handsome actor who gets a kick out of Bakshi's adoration. Carol Wayne is a party guest but has little to do.

Verdict: Basically a Blake Edwards home movie but not without its charms. ***.


angelman66 said...

Need to see this one again...but you are so right, sometimes Blake Edwards is so brilliant and other of his movies are kind of a mess, like this one and S.O.B. But fun things in both, and Sellers is undeniably hilarious in this one!
- C

William said...

I can't imagine what the movie would be like without him!