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  • jacob-4511 December 2004
    I always find it strange that people think a comedy should have you rolling in your chair… not so! There are movies that one gets a warm, funny feeling inside and that one appreciates the subtleties of the acting and set ups. Often a laugh a minute movie is forgotten quickly, but those movies that simmer and let the humor seep out slowly often linger in the mind.

    The Party is a movie shot in the sixties with all the hang-ups and social undertones that were abundant then. I laughed myself silly then and today I still laugh with the benefit of hindsight and years of social and cultural change.

    Peter Sellers' performance is on a level par with Chaplin; a rare achievement for any actor.
  • What can you say about Peter Sellers? From the Goon Show, through the Ealing comedies, the Pink Panther films, up to Being There, he was consistently brilliant! Kubrick knew it, Blake Edwards knew it, and this movie does a lot to prove it to everyone else. Instead of making his stereotype just a vehicle for laughs, he brings out the pathos and beauty inherent in alienation..instead of using scripted antique gags as an invitation to walk through the role, he transcends each tired joke with impeccable timing and facial expressions. Even the silly sixties situations don't ruin the comedy here, as they did in Alice B. Toklas. In my opinion, this one is timeless, and should be seen by anyone who has a sense of humor.
  • Dan1498 June 2020
    Seeing all the recent bad and negative reviews, I couldn't help but write this. The film is great, and whoever thinks that it has a shred of racism in it is part of the problem and needs to reevaluate the way he/she watches films.

    Do give this a try and be - as many neo-liberals like to say, but never are - OPEN MINDED.
  • This film has to be regarded as a hilarious one-man-act by Peter Sellers. I saw it on its first run UK cinema release in 1969 and I've seen it at least a dozen times since. I would gladly watch it another dozen times; it always makes me laugh. The supporting cast perform adequately but Peter Sellers does all the work. He is simply one of the all-time greatest masters of great comedy timing. I was surprised to read so many negative comments on this site in association with this film. I can only surmise that they have come from a younger generation who have had their sense of humour surgically removed due to a force fed diet of unamusing US sitcoms. If you can't laugh at this film you must be birdie-num-num!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Party offers a remarkably skillful blend of humor and critique. I'd like to offer a somewhat serious but very informal observation of this very clever, funny movie. We've got a non-Westerner (Hrundi Bakshi, played by Peter Sellers) trying desperately to fit into American culture. We've also got a young French woman (Michele Monet, played by Claudine Longet), who is also trying to fit in. Neither of them like or understand what they see. Hrundi seems incompetent, but when he's not bending to American society we recognize that he's really intelligent, intuitive, funny, and caring.

    As Hrundi wends his way through the hosts' gigantic house, he observes the pitfalls of the American way: drugs, alcoholism, greed, deceit, vanity, materialism, sexism, and racism, to name a few. He also observes societal constraints. Michele sees these things too, and she is also the target of sexism and even, perhaps, of misogyny (her date tries to force himself on her and, later, demands that she leave with him or lose any chance of a film career). They interact with people who think they know who they are but, as Hrundi infers, don't really know who they are.

    The climax occurs when Hrundi demands that the hosts' daughter and her friends wash an elephant they have ignominiously painted (a representation of ideological protest gone wrong, since it's more for entertainment than for anything else). When they start washing, the party turns into a real party. Social lines are blurred as people in different social levels are equalized, for example, when some of the housekeeping staff joins the party. Constraints and boundaries are laid aside and forgotten. The American guests, a group of Russian entertainers, Hrundi, and Michele all join in and have fun together. Not everyone joins the party; the older Americans refuse to participate. But we get the idea that they and their ideals have been vanquished.

    In the end of the movie, we get a strong and uplifting suggestion that Hrundi and Michele are going to be spending more time together.

    Subtle humor, clever slapstick, romance, and serious issues -- The Party has them all in good abundance. The best aspect of this movie, however, is that it examines serious themes through masterful,unrelenting humor.
  • Is there a more iconic comedic prologue than The Party's, with Hrundi Bakshi (Peter Sellers, priceless), a bumbling actor involuntarily, repeatedly sabotaging some kind of schlocky adventure / period piece first by refusing to die, then by showing his wholly anachronistic watch and finally by blowing up the set while trying to tie his shoelaces? Because if there is, I can't think of one at the moment.

    The movie belongs to veteran comedy director Blake Edwards and especially to Sellers, who provides an hilarious turn as Bakshi, a sweet, meek individual so clumsy and inclined to disaster, he is essentially the human version of a tornado. Material is droll, but at times so thin that with a lesser lead it would have collapsed - Sellers being who he is, the mere sight of him staring with awkward alarm at a toilet which refuses to stop flushing provokes laughter.

    8,5/10
  • The movie is still fresh after all these years. It's an homage to the slapstick comedy, an homage to the Laurel & Hardy films, and to Chaplin movies as well.

    "The party" is the finest achievement of Sellers & Edwards, the film is far superior to the "Pink Panther" series. Why? The story is absolutely simple: by mistake an Indian actor goes to a party in a Hollywood villa. End of the story.

    Mr. Hrundi V. Bakshi (the name of the main character) is the kindest and most awkward person you can meet... The film is just made by a group of gags -many are improvised-.

    We can see that Peter Sellers, a terrific actor, is also a mime -he can do whatever with the expressions of his face and his body-. For doing such film you have to have a very intelligent and patient director, who knows all the comedy's tricks and let actors play with a total freedom... Blake Edwards is an eclectic director who allows that. Working with Peter Sellers (as Edwards says) was not easy -he had a very difficult personality, either he was the funniest man in the world or he was the most unbearable person. But he was a genius, he let many many gems.

    "The Party" is one of them. Brilliant and moving.
  • `The Party' is one of the few comedies that I can watch repeatedly and still enjoy, to a great extent due to the charm of the character Peter Sellers creates. Hrundi V. Bakshi urgently needs to be appropriate and polite (he absolutely CANNOT be impolite), but his natural curiosity and unfamiliarity with his surroundings wreak havoc. He's really quite an admirable fellow, though. He's unfailingly considerate and reasonable, but brave and resourceful when coming to the aid of another, as in the case of producer C.S. Divot's (Gavin MacLeod) exploitation of Michelle Monet (Claudine Longet). I find it hard to accept the notion that the characterization is racist, as some contend, unless you consider the very act of a white person playing an Indian in dark makeup racist. It can't be denied that many westerners find the accent amusing (see Baboo in `Seinfeld,' or Apu in `The Simpsons'). Still, Sellers' characterization of Bakshi is no stereotype, and I don't feel that his portrayal brings discredit to anyone.

    That aside, this is one damned funny film! As `anonymous' from Chicago has pointed out below, there are interesting aspects there for your consideration, if you choose to look for them. More than just a series of pratfalls and sight gags, `The Party' is a multi-faceted creation, as is its central character. If you haven't seen it, pour yourself a heaping bowl of birdie num-nums and give it a look. It's on DVD now, collectors.

    I need only add that I am not your sugar.
  • Sellers is great, this film is great and honestly all the recent bad reviewers need to rewatch this, and maybe then they will change their mind about it.
  • I really wish to have been invited. The film is great, and Sellers delivers a charming performance.
  • penderowskia27 June 2020
    I have just seen this film, and it is really funny. I am new to Mr. Sellers' filmography, and he's very funny and talented.
  • When I was working for the Museum of Modern Art, we had a small retrospective for Blake Edwards, and he selected "The Party" as the movie he wanted to open with: he felt it was his "purest" film comedy. After the opening sequence with the Peter Sellers character wrecking a movie set, the bulk of the film takes place during the night of a big Hollywood party (which the Sellers character is inadvertently invited to). In this, the film is as rigorous as Antonioni's "La Notte" (also set during the events of one day and night), and the sight gags build and accumulate in a manner that is reminiscent of Jacques Tati (with the same melancholic humor prevading the slapstick). The film is utterly charming, with some acerbic touches pricking the hypocrisies of Hollywood, and the film takes the time to let the characters (especially the two principals, played by Sellers and Claudine Longet in her only major film role) develop. It may not be as manic as parts of "The Pink Panther" but it's very funny in an even and sustained way.
  • I'm sorry, but if you don't laugh, until you cry or your sides ache, at something, hell, at everything in this movie then you'd better check yourself for a pulse. The first four or five times I viewed The Party, I did just that. This is a gut aching, side splitting, fall on the floor, laugh a minute comedy, from start to finish! The scene where the Cornish game hen 'flies' across the dinner table and lands on the tiara of one of the party 'goers' is literally one of the funniest scenes of all time. And it's not just the outrageously funny bumbling physical comedy of Peter Sellers. There is also a subtleness with which Sellers portrays his Indian character that is very visible in his many facial expressions as well as with the 'body language' he uses, that's just as funny. If you even like comedy just a little, you'll love this movie. I give it 4 stars, to infinity!
  • Blackballed bit-actor in Hollywood is mistakenly invited to a Tinsel Town party hosted by the same studio chief who wants him dead. Unusual comedy with little dialogue, lots of terrific visual gags and Peter Sellers at his peak (he's very low-keyed here, and immensely charming). Director Blake Edwards loses his footing in the final 15 minutes when the gathering gets out of hand (I can't recall one movie wherein a wild party sequence managed to be hilarious). Despite this, there's a lovely concluding scene between Sellers and a breathtaking Claudine Longet (who looks like a delicate flower), capped with Henry Mancini's wonderful score. "The Party" isn't full of dumb shtick. The slapstick is sometimes very smart, and Edwards doesn't condescend to the audience. Good fun! *** out of ****
  • Legendary Peter Sellers improvised his role using only Director Blake Edwards' 50 page film outline with no set scripted dialogue. Sellers is left to devise and improvise each scene.

    This required assembling a highly competent ensemble of supporting actors capable of keeping up with Peter, and they pulled it off very well. Larry David uses this same approach in his 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' in case you did not know.

    The film's scenes were largely shot in sequence to preserve the comic flow, allowing Sellers to figure out what astoundingly destructive comic mess his character Hrundi Bakshi (the character being an actor brought in from India to lend authenticity to a period film) would innocently create next for his Hollywood producer boss while shooting the film on location, and the "big man" president of the studio, whose Beverly Hills VIP party Bakshi inadvertent gets an invite.

    Truly hilarious deadpanned slapstick scenes abound - one of the most memorable being the "Birdie Num Nums" bit.

    This movie has captured an ever growing number of fans over the years, myself included.

    One may be offended by the cliche' India culture stereotyping Sellers applies via his character's mannerisms and accent, but If you want to be compelled to laugh out-loud, this may be just the ticket.
  • blakemanrich3 July 2020
    10/10
    Great!
    This is simply great. I'm a huge fan of Peter Sellers and this film is one of his bests.
  • I love this movie! Peter Sellers plays a bumbling Indian movie extra who, after prematurely blowing up a very expensive fort (which was meant to be destroyed in the big finale of the war movie he was cast in), is earmarked for blacklisting so he will 'never work in movies again'. His name inadvertently ends up on an exclusive guest list to a Hollywood party at the residence of the bigwig producer who tried to sack him. Many laughs follow as Sellers (lacking in social skills) fumbles his way around the party, bringing misadventure to all those he meets. The visual gags are cheap but effective and his Indian accent is to die for! This is a side-splitter - definitely check it out! I gave it an 8 out of 10.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The Party begins with a kind of lame parody of Gunga Din's final scene (I guess you might consider it a SPOILER to Gunga Din, so consider that before you check this one out). Hrundi Bakshi (Sellers) is playing the main character of the new film production Son of Gunga Din, but he's little more than a series of accidents waiting to happen. He ends up ruining a set piece, which gets him fired. The producer of that film tells a studio exec to blacklist him. That exec accidentally adds Hrundi's name to the bottom of a party list. He goes, and, as you might expect, ends up destroying everything around him like a small tornado. Most of the film takes place at this party (and the film only really gets funny when Hrundi gets to the party), where we meet various Hollywood phonies and stars who are full of themselves, as well as a few innocent newcomers being beckoned to the infamous casting couch. All these people react in different ways to Hrundi, but most like him and see him as a nice guy who probably doesn't belong there anyway. He becomes enraptured by a young French newcomer named Michelle (Claudine Longet).

    Peter Sellers made a lot of films, and I have to admit that I haven't seen many. What I particularly like about The Party is the character of Hrundi and Sellers' performance. Sellers' films are usually very funny, but the characters are often just caricatures. I really like Hrundi. He could have easily been a gross stereotype. Sellers wears dark makeup to appear Indian, and he speaks in an accent. But Hrundi is not just a stereotype. He is a genuinely lovable person. He does some stupid things, but he always means well. I actually think the character would have been worth sequels.

    I am sure that Sellers and Blake Edwards were studying the French comedic filmmaker Jacques Tati when they were making this film. There are several scenes very, very reminiscent of M. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, and Playtime. Hrundi seems to be clearly based on M. Hulot. Of course, I am not accusing The Party of stealing or anything. I'm just happy that someone in Hollywood was a fan of Tati's films, and felt that his formulae would work in an American film. I wonder how well this film did financially. It's not well known at all today.

    One more note: my Lord, Claudine Longet may be the single cutest girl I've ever seen! I don't know if I've seen her elsewhere. I can see why she didn't become a huge star. She's not imposing like others. Nor, truth be told, is she a great actress. But wowza! I think my heart just stopped!
  • This one of my favourite Peter Sellers films. But as funny as his character (Hrundi V. Bakshi) is, the drunk waiter and the head waiter are just as "laugh out loud" hilarious. The confrontations between the two waiters are definitely some of the funniest scenes in this movie.
  • It was well known that Blake Edwards was an enormous Laurel and Hardy fan. You can see it in the Pink Panther films. And no where in his work is that more evident than in The Party. The L & H influences and touches are everywhere. The running gag of the drunken waiter who speaks only one or two words in the entire film. The careful building of gag upon gag, each one funnier than the one before it. The reaction shots that top all the gags. The comedy of embarrassment. (Babe Hardy would be proud!) There are some funny lines for sure but the biggest laughs come from moments that feature no dialog at all. There is very little slapstick until the end. But the humor is visual and based on character just as the best stuff in Laurel and Hardy was. In my opinion the boys invented situation comedy. Television comedy owes a big debt to Laurel and Hardy. They probably don't even know it.
  • angieporizkova4 July 2020
    How can you not like this film, it's so funny. Sellers is just superb.
  • Finally, after months of searching, I find a copy of the DVD and I realize how truly worthwhile this search was! This film is hysterical! I've read that The Great Race is supposed to be Blake Edwards' tribute to Laurel & Hardy, but Hrundi V. Bakshi is Stan Laurel's hindustani soul mate. Probably Peter Sellers' single funniest performance ever! He's always well meaning and gracious, but just naive enough to cause chaos everywhere he goes. Much of the business about the wait staff is also straight out of the L&H book of comic situations. Though the ending involving a baby elephant looks to me as if they simply ran out of ideas, the rest of this movie more than makes up for it. Have another "Birdy Num Num".
  • What I love about this movie is how it's so thoroughly devoid of plot. And that's a good thing. It's perfect as a fun poke at "the establishment" of the 60's. Peter Sellers is wonderful, as always. He even manages to play an Indian (not American) without any racist overtones. (Could you say that of Ben Kingsley, the imperialist, portraying Gandhi?)

    Here's what happens. Sellers plays a two-bit extra in a Hollywood war epic. He manages to piss the fatcat producer off by over-dramatizing his dying scene, blatting a trumpet incessantly. The producer fires him, but Sellers manages to find out about a party being thrown at his house. He shows up, wackiness ensues, tripped-out pre-hippy teenagers show up with a painted elephant, the house is trashed. That's it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is a little uneven, but if you stick to it you end up liking this warm and fuzzy little film, the only Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers comedy without Chief Inspector Jacques Clousseau.

    Sellers had played an Indian before. In THE MILLIONAIRESS (1960) he was an Indian doctor working for the poor in London who attracts the world's richest woman (Sophia Loren). That film has it's moments (when the original George Bernard Shaw play creeps out) but this improvised film of 1968 is far better.

    Sellers is an Indian film actor who somehow was signed up to do a lead part in a Hollywood production called SON OF GUNGA DIN. Sellers' actor is playing this supposed fictional character (really fictional, as Kipling never wrote about his brave water carrier having a family). In the opening fifteen minutes Sellers demonstrates the wisdom of being hired by refusing to die properly (or is he trying to stretch out his deathbed sequence for the screen?). He is shot (while badly wounded) blowing a bugle call to the British troops about to be entrapped by the Indian "rebels". Instead of falling down dead he keeps beeping his bugle again and again and again until the director tells him to stop it. Later he ruins a shot where he kills an enemy picket by forgetting that the movie is set in 1878, and Sellers is still wearing his waterproof wristwatch! Finally (I think Stan Laurel would have appreciated this) he ruins the one-chance-only destruction of the fort by explosives simply by tying his shoe on the plunger.

    Fired after the last (he asks the director if he can still do television), Sellers should be seen no more. But the director and the film producer (Gavin McLeod - later of MCHALE'S NAVY, THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, and THE LOVE BOAT) call the studio President, Mr. Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley) and tell him about what has just happened to send the film's budget into the stratosphere. McKinley says he'll see the actor never works in the film industry again, and writes the name (Hrundi V. Bakshi) on a paper on his desk. Unfortunately, he did not realize it is a list of his guests for a fancy dinner party the next day. So Clutterbuck's secretary sends Bakshi/Sellers) an invitation).

    What follows is a disaster upon disaster improv. Unlike THE PINK PANTHER and A SHOT IN THE DARK, Edwards and Sellers approached THE PARTY as an experiment where they were creating escalating disasters at the dinner party that engulf all the guests. The escalating disasters is par and parcel for the work of Edwards' favorite comedians, Laurel & Hardy, for whom his slapstick comedy THE GREAT RACE (1965) was dedicated to.

    Sellers arrives at the party and quickly demonstrates the wisdom of inviting him. His shoe is muddy so he tries to "nonchallantly" clean it off in a pool (the clean water rapidly turns black) but the shoe floats away. Later, due to Sellers' ineptitude the shoe ends up on a tray of canapés being served. Still later, when he hurts his hand Sellers sticks it into a mound of ice on a table, only to find the caterer put beluga caviar within the "mountain" of ice.

    His real problem is he is a square peg in a round hole. He can't mingle and join the people at the party, many of whom have hostility towards him (Marge Champion, not dancing in this film, is the stiff wife of a Congressman who just never cottons to Sellers). He tries to laugh at jokes, not hearing them completely but laughing anyway, or laughing at anecdotes that aren't funny. In his curiosity he experiments with the pushbuttons of the living room, causing all kinds of odd, disruptive errors to occur. He even ends up feeding "Birdy num nums" to the host's pet parrot.

    Only one person is actually friendly to him at the start - a western film star, whom Sellers enjoys watching. They get on pretty well, except for one mishap with a toy dart gun (though Sellers isn't blamed for it). Then McLeod shows up with his latest protégé, Michelle Monet (Claudine Longet) and a second person turns out to be out-of-place at the party, only a French lady, not an Indian man.

    In the meantime the problems multiply during dinner, when besides Sellers the host and guests have to deal with a drunken waiter (Steve Franken - best recalled as Dobie Gillis' rich rival Chatsworth Osborne Jr.). The dinner reduced to a shambles between Sellers and Franken (including causing a squab to get twisted into a guests wig - don't ask), the guests do the best they can.

    I can't get into all the sequences - that spoils the fun here. One of the best deals with Sellers desperately trying to find a place to pee, and finding the bathrooms in use (once by Mrs. Champion), and finally using one in the master bedroom, that he causes a flood in, and even causes the band drummer to lose his drum (don't ask).

    However, one sequence actually shows that for all the confusion and destruction he causes, Sellers is actually pretty level headed. He confronts McLeod on the latter's miserable treatment of Longet, and shows up the former as a total creep. One recalls that with the other Edwards-Sellers stumble-bum, Clousseau, he is a walking disaster maker - but he is a first rate detective for all that.

    As I said, it is a little slow at points, and disjointed at times, but stick to THE PARTY. It is a worthy film for it's star and for it's cast.
  • maca2113 October 2002
    Many viewings of this great movie do not dull its comic genius. I have had the pleasure to introduce so many people to this movie. Sellers is magnificent. The movie itself pokes fun at the Hollywood establishment in a mild way.

    The famous " Birdie Num Num " is often heard in many forums. My as introduced a whole new generation to the delights of Hrundi V Bakshi as a bugle player genius and just a very humble guy who goes out of his way to please everyone, albeit in the most chaotic way possible,

    It reminds me very much of an aria from Mozart's The Marriage of Figgaro where more players keep getting added to the aria and it just keeps getting better.

    Bakshi Rules OK ( or for those with dyslexia Bakshi lures KO )
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