July 10, 2010

The Party (1968) by Blake Edwards

Director: Blake Edwards
Cast: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion
Blake Edwards (screenplay) & Tom Waldman (screenplay) and Frank Waldman (screenplay) Blake Edwards (story)
Photography: Lucien Ballard
Henry Mancini
Production: 1968, USA
Runtime: 99 minutes

The Party is an excellent movie that has little diffusion over my local TV network (I live in Argentina by the way) because of the lack of distribution and many other reasons I decided to review this classic comedy. During this 21st century we suffer a massive wave of comedies (mainly from the USA, sorry), which were fun when I was a teenager but now they are getting worst and worst. Those bad movies quickly became profitable and what came next was the worst side of comedy. We have the endless saga of Scary Movie & American Pie comedy style that for the first movies seemed fun and even amusing but that after the fourth movie they became a washout of the original one. Moreover, the new ones are filled with cheap comedy going on and on about flatulence and fat jokes. Recently there is a tendency to produce movies that parody other movies, this is the case of Superhero Movie, Disaster Movie and Meet the Spartans, in which bad acting mixed with cheap jokes results in some dollars for the production companies, but luckily we have the good old classics that erase that bad images of modern comedies.

Personally, always I they liked the comedians that know to use the body as an instrument to cause to laugh this is the case of Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), Michael Richards (Cosmo Kramer) and so many other. However, the one actor that made an unforgettable party and that is, Peter Seller, the actor that interpreted Insp. Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther movie. At that time, I was unfamiliar with Sellers but after seen the Pink Panther and The Party he became one of my favorite’s comedian. The Party is a movie that has been an inspiration to many comedians nowadays (If not should be). Yes, you can say that The Party used many basic gags and its sounds a little naïf compared to modern “comedies” but hey, I like movies that just make me laugh.

The history begins when some movie producer decides to bring to Hollywood a famous Indian actor called Hrundi V. Bakshi (interpreted by Sellers) to give a more authenticity to his film "The son of Gunga Din".  But all results in failure when they discover that Bakshi is a disaster in every sense, he complete ruins scenes, even destroys the most important and expensive scene destroying  the film completely, is for this reason that the producer, Fred Clutterbuck, decides to fired Bakshi of the movie. Fred think we will never have to see Bakshi again in his life but things take a turn and Bakshi is accidentally invited to a private party in Fred´s house. Is at this moment that the fun begins.

Although the character of Peter Sellers does not have many lines in the movie, he does an excellent work with his the body. The character of Bakshi is very similar to Raj (The Big Bang Theory). Bakshi is a foreign naïf shy (but well manner) that stays more in the shadows. Even secondary personages are great such as the butler, who manages to entertain us. There is an interesting aspect of the movie every time you watch it again you can discover different things to look up this is because there are a lot of actors in the same shot and they have different personalities. As the movie progress Bakshi falls in love with Michele Monet (interpreted by Claudine Longet), an actress/singer that is entering in the world of film industry. The movie continues with a plot full of amusing accidents that start to escalade until it reaches a culminate point. What begins as a private party too formal finishes in a party that nobody will forget.

As anecdotal data the movie was an improvisation of a script that was 56 pages long almost nothing in film industry, a quarter of the movie does not have dialogue and each scene was shot in sequence (something that is not usual in movies). After shooting a scene the director would meet with the writers and with the actors as well they would decided how to construct the next scene this was done thanks to the use of an extra camera. They had on the set a TV so they could see the recorded scene helping to the actors and crew to build the next scene. I could text for hours about this movie but I believe the movie "speaks" for itself. If I ever have, the money to build a house like that with all the gadgets you are all invited. As usual if you have any comment, just do it. Have a good weekend...

By Sebastian Nadilo

Trailer: The Party
Scene to see: Claudine Longet sings "Nothing to lose"

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