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MGM Studios DVD presents
The Party (1968)

Director: You're through! You're finished! I'll see to it you never make another movie again!
Hrundi V. Bakshi: Does that include television, sir?

- Herbert Ellis, Peter Sellers

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 29, 2001

Stars: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion
Other Stars: Steve Franken, Fay McKenzie, J. Edward McKinley, Gavin McLeod, Carol Wayne
Director: Blake Edwards

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (mild comic violence)
Run Time: 01h:38m:46s
Release Date: December 11, 2001
UPC: 027616869340
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+B+B D+

DVD Review

Peter Sellers was of course one of the geniuses of comedy in the 1960s, and many of his best movies were done with Blake Edwards. Often Edwards would just let Sellers improvise, to good effect. Such was the case with The Party, which had precious little script and was structured primarily around Sellers' comic talents.

Hapless Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi (Sellers) is incredibly accident-prone, and manages to singlehandedly destroy the movie he's starring in for producer Fred Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley). When Bakshi is blacklisted, his name accidentally gets written on a list of invitees to a party being thrown by Mrs. Clutterbuck. Bakshi shows up at the black-tie affair and the havoc quickly begins. Toilet humor, drunk waiters and even an elephant are thrown out as part of the scheme to see what might stick.

Sellers obviously carries the picture; in the last third of the movie, when he starts getting involved in a romance story, things become tedious rapidly. Edwards tries desperately to force the humor at that point, resulting in avalanches of lather erupting from the pool, but the climax pretty much falls flat. The first hour, however, has plenty of comic goodness, with notable supporting performances from Denny Miller as self-obsessed cowboy star Wyoming Bill Kelso, and Mary Tyler Moore costar Gavin McLeod as lecherous studio executive Charles Divot. Claudine Longet as love interest Michelle Monet (complete with an Elmer Fuddlike speech defect, which makes her rendition of a Henry Mancini song cringingly funny).

The film is very much an artifact of the 1960s. The concluding segment with Clutterbuck daughter Molly and friends staging a love-in will of course mystify most viewers under 40, and Sellers' portrayal of an Indian is most certainly politically incorrect. However, the slapstick humor keeps things moving at an adequate pace. The two Henry Mancini songs do make everything come to a great grinding halt, which is unfortunate. But beyond that, this is a quite entertaining little comedy.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic widescreen picture looks very good. Colors are generally excellent, though some of the early sequences at the film set look a trifle washed out. Black levels are generally very good, and detail is fine. At the reel changes, there are a great many dirt specks, but most of the movie runs without significant damage or anomalies.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoEnglish, French, Spanish, Portugueseyes

Audio Transfer Review: The 2.0 mono sounds fine. Dialogue is clear and the music comes through without significant distortion. Range is good, with some healthy bass lows for a mono track. Some minor background hiss and noise are audible, but they're not at distracting levels. In addition to the English, French and Spanish tracks advertised on the keepcase, there is also a Portuguese audio track for our Brazilian friends.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Other than an anamorphic 2.35:1 trailer, there's not much here. An unadvertised Portuguese subtitle track is included. Chaptering is adequate.

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

Peter Sellers at his comic heights, wreaking havoc at a fancy dinner party, works most of the way. The transfer isn't bad at all, considering the age of the picture. Worth a rental at least.


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