Cast & Crew
Hrundi V. Bakshi, an actor on the New Delhi stage, is brought to Hollywood to play the title role in Son of Gunga Din. Bakshi is a bungler, however, and before long he has accidentally blown up the picture's most expensive location set. The enraged studio head, Fred Clutterbuck, vows that the Indian will never work in Hollywood again and writes his name on a slip of paper. Clutterbuck's secretary, however, misinterprets the memo and adds Bakshi's name to the guest list for a lavish party her boss is giving at his home. Once at the party, Bakshi stumbles into the producer's flower bed, loses his muddy shoe in the hors d'oeuvres, knocks a servant through a plate glass window, inadvertently turns on the lawn sprinklers, and slides off the roof into the pool. Then Clutterbuck's daughter Molly arrives with some of her college friends and a baby elephant painted in psychedelic colors. Shocked that one of India's revered beasts should be treated with such disrespect, Bakshi talks Molly and her fellow students into washing the elephant in one of the indoor pools. As some of the other guests join in, the house and lawn become engulfed in mountains of soapsuds, and before the party finally ends, the driveway is jammed with fire engines, police cars, an ambulance, and an SPCA truck. Clutterbuck eventually recognizes Bakshi and tries to strangle him, but the Indian manages to escape with a pretty starlet, Michele Monet.
J. Edward Mckinley
Danielle De Metz
Patrick J. Palmer
Allen K. Wood
Essentially a string of jokes and sight gags inspired by Peter Sellers' gift for mimicry, The Party (1968) is one of Blake Edwards' most unconventional films. The script, barely sixty-five pages, was about half the length of the normal Hollywood screenplay and at least a fourth of the film had no dialogue, just sound effects and incidental music. Truly a concept film, The Party bears favorable comparison to the comedies of Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy in the way that Bakshi retains his innocence and naiveté in the face of recurring disaster. There are also similarities to the films of French comedian Jacques Tati and his fascination with gadgets and inanimate objects. This is particularly true of the scenes at the movie executive's home where Bakshi manages to turn a fountain into a geyser, a roast chicken into a woman's headwear, and a public address system into an ear-splitting broadcast of muzak.
Curiously enough, Sellers was no stranger to playing docile Indians. In The Millionairess (1960), opposite Sophia Loren, he played Dr. Ahmed el Kabir, a general practitioner with a slum-district office. He also turned up in a cameo appearance as yet another Indian doctor in The Road to Hong Kong (1962), the last of the Bing Crosby-Bob Hope 'road' comedies. In fact, internationally acclaimed director Satyajit Ray of The Apu Trilogy was so impressed by Sellers' impersonation in The Millionairess that he wrote a screenplay specifically for him entitled The Alien. In it, Sellers' character was a self-promoting businessman who tries to exploit his association with a space visitor and claim credit for the latter's miraculous deeds. Either Sellers was put off by the unflattering portrayal or he was more interested in playing romantic comedy leads in films like The Bobo (1967) because he abandoned the project. Nevertheless, Ray came to visit Sellers on the set of The Party but felt that the actor's impersonation of a New Delhi native was evolving into a course caricature. Some critics agreed as well but many also admired Edwards' homage to the silent slapstick comedies, including Film Comment writer Richard Combs who called The Party "both classic farce and trenchant satire, a self-sufficient fantasy about the fantasy of Hollywood life."
Director/Producer: Blake Edwards
Screenplay: Blake Edwards, Frank Waldman, Tom Waldman
Cinematography: Lucien Ballard
Editor: Ralph E. Winters
Production Design: Fernando Carrere
Music: Henry Mancini
Cast: Peter Sellers (Hrundi V. Bakshi), Claudine Longet (Michelle Monet), Marge Champion (Rosalind Dunphy), J. Edward McKinley (Fred Clutterbuck), Buddy Lester (Davey Kane), Gavin MacLeod (C. S. Divot), Jean Carson (Nanny).
by Jeff Stafford
Birdie Num Num- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Wisdom is the province of the aged, but the heart of a child is pure.- Hrundi Bakshi
Me?- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Yes, you. Get off of my set, and out of my picture. Off, off! You're washed up, you're finished! I'll see to it that you never make another movie again!- Director
Does that include television, sir?- Hrundi V. Bakshi
We have a saying in India...- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Yes?- Michelle Monet
Yes.- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Well?- Michelle Monet
Well what?- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Hrundi V. Bakshi.- Hrundi V. Bakshi
Pardon?- Michelle Monet
That is what my name is called.- Hrundi V. Bakshi
You mashuga!- C. S. Divot
I am not your sugar.- Hrundi V. Bakshi
"The Party" was improvised from a 40-page outline. Each scene was shot in sequence, and built upon the previous scene. To aid in this experiment, the film's producers had a video-camera tube attached to the Panavision camera and connected to an Ampex studio videotape machine - allowing the actors and crew to review what they had just filmed. Thus, "The Party" was the first movie ever shot with the now-standard "video assist" system.
The only Blake Edwards -Peter Sellers collaboration that was not a Pink Panther film.
The unusual red sculpture on the wall behind the dining room table is a Mexican "arbol de la vida" (tree of life). They are still manufactured today.
Released in United States October 1998
Released in United States Spring April 1968
Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Special Screening) in East Hampton, New York October 14-18, 1998.
Released in United States Spring April 1968
Released in United States October 1998 (Shown at Hamptons International Film Festival (Special Screening) in East Hampton, New York October 14-18, 1998.)