Review for The Party
The Party is possibly the closest you could get to a film that is simply "about nothing". Hrundi V. Bakshi, an actor who was fired for destroying the set of a film, is accidentally invited to an exclusive Hollywood party. Upon arriving, he bumbles around creating havoc and mayhem with everyone he meets. Nothing else happens. Don't get me wrong, lots of things happen, but not in the conventional sense of a film about something and you will probably leave the film thinking that they forgot to tell you a story. Instead they just spent the entire time trying and succeeding to make you laugh.
When BBC recently released their Top 100 Comedies of all time this film was named Number 23 and after watching I can't argue with that as I found myself genuinely laughing at this film. Peter Sellers is fantastic as always and though we could argue that him acting like an Indian in full "Blackface" could never be done today in the context of the time I can forgive it simply because of how funny it was. Following on from their work together in The Pink Panther and A Shot in the Dark this is the third time Blake Edwards had worked with Peter Sellers and it is clear that when they do work together it is just gold.
The film is filled with moments of comic genius not just by Sellars, but also by Steve Franken as a marvellously drunk waiter. Some of the pieces could work today and I wouldn't be surprised if something like Mr Bean were inspired by the setups shown in this film. Sellers' attempts to go to the toilet is some of the funniest things I have seen and his antics with the house's controls is even better.
Two documentaries are included The Party Revolution which is a look at how the film was made and the use of tape recording while filming which allowed the Director to have instant playback of scenes and helped with the improvisational nature of the film. This is interesting at times and if you are a fan of the history of filmmaking or interested in how films have evolved over the years then this will certainly be worth a watch. If not, you might find this a little too technical to enjoy.
Inside The Party is a retrospective look back at the film and its making. The relationship between Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers is discussed and you hear how when they had worked together before both had clashed and declared they would never work with each other again. This happened a number of times throughout their career together. The script is discussed in which a lot of improvisation was done and there was a lot of silent, physical comedy included. It is a nice look back at the film and clearly everyone enjoyed working on it.
There are a number of Profiles for some key people who worked on the film. These are really just quick interviews with them and the oddest part is that none of the three profiles actually refer back to this film? These are Producer Walter Mirisch who won an Oscar for In The Heat of the Night. He has some nice insight into the film business, though oddly does not talk about this film so makes me question why it is here. Associate Producer Ken Wales talks about his early career and association with Blake Edwards, but again does not talk about the making of this film? The profile of Director is fine but again does not discuss The Party and so with all of these I do not understand why they are here?
Finally, they include the original trailer which is so bizarre and the way it is cut and presented as a mix of a crazy madcap comedy but with a "slasher horror" style voice over?
The Party is certainly a product of its time and you could never get away with this film today. However, this is a great comedy and one of the best collaborations between Sellers and Edwards. I found myself enjoying the comedy which is neither crude or childish, but just the right levels throughout. It is a party of a film that I will enjoy to relive again.