The Party on DVD
Peter Sellers is Hrundi Bakshi, an Indian actor who gets fired from a
Hollywood costume drama as this Blake Edwards film opens.
His character is a kind of pre-Mister Bean, in that he wanders through
life a well-meaning soul, yet he leaves a track of destruction in his wake.
That's good; what isn't as good is that this is basically a one joke situation
stretched out to fill a feature length movie.
Too bad. There are some really funny moments in this flick, especially
the scene of Hrundi in the bathroom (and it isn't really what today we'd
consider "bathroom humor, either!) and quite a bit of the business going on in
the background, but a lot of it is predictable and some of it is just plain
Of course, we now live in a different age from when this film was made.
When we saw it many years ago we laughed a lot harder than we did with the DVD.
For one thing, Sellers' characterization, which is bang on as usual, would
probably get the theaters picketed by left wing whackos today.
Likewise, the running gag of the drunk waiter (Steve Franken) would
today elicit howls of "bad taste."
Not that this movie was intended to be in good taste anyway. Rather,
it's a classic "fish out of water" that also manages to poke some fun at the
Hollywood elite - and isn't that a worthwhile pastime?
The DVD is part of MGM's Avant-Garde Cinema series, but it isn't really
a great representative of the medium. The picture is too soft in most places,
though it works okay in close-ups, and the reds tend to be a tad bleary.
Fortunately, MGM Home Video has at least mastered it in anamorphic widescreen,
which is always a major plus for the increasing number of home theater lovers
who are converting to this far superior DVD viewing medium.
The audio in The Party is in Dolby Digital mono, directed as it should
be to the front center channel. The sound quality is okay for the most part,
but towards the end when general pandemonium is breaking out is becomes an
almost inaudible din of distortion. This is a shame, because there are a lot of
separate dialogs going on and it's hard to keep track of them.
In the end, the DVD of The Party is pretty much like the movie itself:
not the strongest effort on the part of the producers, but a reasonably
entertaining time in the home theater.
And it certainly is a good snapshot of the sixties!
The Party, from MGM Home Video
99 min. anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1, 16x9 TV compatible), Dolby Digital
Starring Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Marge Champion, Steve Franken
Written by Blake Edwards, Tom Waldman and Frank Waldman,
Produced and directed by Blake Edwards
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