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Critics reviews
The Party
Blake Edwards United States, 1968
Unlike Zabriskie Point, another film/reflection dedicated to the 1968 revolt, Blake Edwards’ work seems to be looking ahead and beyond. The explosions of color and sound, even the revolts themselves, are just a prop, a way of masking the underlying solitude in every person: past or present, Indian or American. Because when you get down to it—as is revealed rather than concealed by the make-up—the two are none other than the same person.
December 16, 2016
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Adding just a dollop of absurdism to the mix, Edwards toys with the spatial properties of Holly’s one-bedroom apartment [in Breakfast at Tiffany’s], as the tight living space seems to expand and contort as the guests become drunker and, most amusingly, more rowdy. Edwards expands on this scene in his dizzying 1968 film The Party, with is more experimental in its aesthetic and comic brio.
October 05, 2014
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Sarris, who gave “The Party” one of its few sympathetic reviews, found it misconceived: “As with ‘The Great Race,’ Edwards has tried to resurrect a classical comedy tradition that never really existed as a tradition. Chaplin, Keaton and Lloyd were exceptions to the formula frenzies of their time.” But “The Party” is in the tradition of Keystone’s transgressive vulgarity. It’s the tension between Sellers’s inane tact and the general tastelessness of his surroundings that gives the movie its zing.
October 02, 2014
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Despite the slapstick, the sight gags, and the character humor, this is really a film about modernism and architecture — a runner up to that other mid-century comedic masterpiece about modernism and architecture, Jacques Tati’s PLAYTIME. Peter Sellers, in perhaps his sweetest role, is Hrundi V. Bakshi, an over-zealous actor from India imported to play in a Hollywood-shot British imperialist period epic.
December 20, 2013
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Edwards was growing more comfortable with wide, static frames and insinuating pans; at its best moments, the movie approximates the stupendously slow, boxy, time-and-space-flattening denouements of The Leopard, Playtime, even 2001. The party only reaches its apotheosis at the demolition of Hollywood “etiquette,” unshackled by expectations of dialogue or conventional narrative.
September 05, 2012
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The joke is that the party is the same one from La Notte, only with a decade’s alienation being allowed to spill over in a transcendent slapstick deluge… The precise and relaxed snowballing of silent-comedy idioms becomes, beautifully, what a ’68 uprising demands — the Age of Aquarius rides in on a painted elephant, strictures wash away in lyrical chaos.
December 07, 2008
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Blake Edwards effortlessly expands the style and format of a silent two-reel comedy into a feature-length celebration of the sight gag (1968), as Indian bit player Peter Sellers, who has just destroyed a remake of Gunga Din, finds himself at an exclusive party at the Hollywood home of his producer.
January 01, 1980
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Blake Edwards flexes his Jacques Tati muscles, spinning an elaborate garland of gags around one rather drawn-out situation as Sellers – seconded by a drunken waiter and a baby elephant – innocently reduces the party by degrees to an apocalyptic shambles and his hosts to gibbering wrecks. Quite a few very funny moments, but one doesn’t laugh so much as admire the ingenuity.
January 01, 1968
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