Tonight at the NEW BEVERLY - Peter Sellers in THE PARTY
THE PARTY - Starring Peter Sellers , Claudine Longet, Gavin Macleod, J. Edward McKinley, Denny Miller, and Steve Franken - Directed by Blake Edwards; screenplay by Blake Edwards & Tom Waldman and Frank Waldman; Music by Henry Mancini
The film opens in the desert, and it is revealed that a film crew is filming an ambush scene for a costume epic similar to Gunga Din. Unknown Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi (Sellers) has a small role in which he sounds a bugle to start the attack. Ignoring directions, he continues to play even after being shot dozens of times, and he does not stop even after the director (Herbert Ellis) yells cut. Bakshi continues to hamper the filming, until he accidentally blows up an enormous set, a fort rigged with explosives for an upcoming scene depicting its attack. The director fires Bakshi immediately and calls the studio head, General Fred Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley), about the mishap. Clutterbuck writes down Bakshi's name in order to blacklist him, but he inadvertently writes Bakshi's name on the guest list of his upcoming dinner party.
During the opening credits, Bakshi receives his invitation in the mail and drives to the party at Clutterbuck's home. Upon arrival at the party, Bakshi tries to rinse dirt off his shoe in a large fountain that flows through the house, but he loses his shoe. He spends about five minutes trying to retrieve it as it floats through the house and gets launched onto a serving platter.
Bakshi has awkward interactions with everyone at the party, including Clutterbuck's dog Cookie. He meets famous Western movie actor "Wyoming Bill" Kelso (Denny Miller), who gives Bakshi an autograph. Bakshi later accidentally shoots Kelso with a toy gun, but Kelso does not see who did it. Bakshi tries to feed a caged macaw some bird food from a container marked "Birdie Num Num." He ends up dumping the food everywhere as two guests stare. Bakshi then accidentally activates a panel of electronics that control the intercom, a fountain (soaking a guest), and a retractable bar (which Bakshi closes while Clutterbuck is sitting at it). After Kelso hurts Bakshi's hand while shaking it, Bakshi sticks his hand into a bowl of crushed ice containing caviar. While waiting to wash his hand in the bathroom, he meets aspiring actress Michèle Monet (Longet), who came with producer C.S. Divot (Gavin McLeod). Bakshi shakes Divot's hand, and Divot then shakes hands with other guests, passing around the fishy odor, even back to Bakshi after he has washed his hand.
Dinner is served, but at Bakshi's place setting right by the kitchen door, his chair is missing. He gets a very low chair that puts his chin near the table. Several mishaps occur while an increasingly drunk waiter named Levinson (Steven Franken) tries to serve dinner and fights with the other staff. During the main course, Bakshi's roast Cornish game hen accidentally catapults off his fork and becomes impaled on a guest's tiara. Bakshi asks Levinson to retrieve his meal, but the woman's wig comes off along with her tiara, as she obliviously engages in conversation. Levinson ends up brawling with other waitstaff, and dinner is disrupted.
Bakshi apologizes to his hosts, then needs to go to the bathroom. He wanders through the house, opening doors and barging in on various servants and guests in embarrassing situations. He ends up in the back yard, where he accidentally sets off the sprinklers. At Divot's insistence, Monet gives an impromptu guitar performance of "Nothing to Lose," to impress the guests. Bakshi ends up upstairs, where he takes a toy gun from Clutterbuck's young son. He then uses it to save Monet from Divot's unwanted sexual advances by dislodging Divot's toupee with the gun. Bakshi finally finds a bathroom, but he breaks the toilet, drops a painting in it, gets toilet paper everywhere, and floods the bathroom. To avoid getting caught, Bakshi sneaks out on the roof and falls into the pool. Monet leaps in to save him, and they force him to drink alcohol to warm up. Bakshi has never had alcohol before, and he struggles to put on a dry red terry cloth jumpsuit. He finds Monet crying in the next room and consoles her. Divot bursts in and demands Monet leave with him. Monet says no, and Divot cancels her screen test for him the next day. Bakshi convinces her to stay and have a good time with him. They return to the party in borrowed clothes as a Russian dance troupe arrives. The party gets wilder, and Bakshi offers to retract the bar to make room for dancing. He accidentally opens a retractable floor with a pool underneath, causing guests to fall in the pool. Levinson makes more floors retract, and more guests fall in. Clutterbuck's daughter arrives with friends and a baby elephant painted with hippie slogans. Bakshi takes offense and asks them to wash the elephant. The entire house is soon filled with soap bubbles from the cleaning.
Back at his home, Divot suddenly realizes that Bakshi is the fired actor who blew up the set, and he races back to the party. As the band plays on, Clutterbuck tries to save his suds-covered fine art paintings. The air conditioning blows suds everywhere as the guests dance to hippie music, and Clutterbuck's distraught wife falls into the pool twice. Divot pulls up as police and fire department personnel work to resolve everything. Bakshi apologizes one last time to Clutterbuck as Divot reveals who Bakshi is, but Clutterbuck accidentally chokes a waiter instead of Bakshi. Kelso gives Bakshi an autographed photo and Stetson hat as Bakshi and Monet leave in Bakshi's Morgan three-wheeler car. Outside her apartment, Bakshi and Monet appear on the verge of admitting that they love each other, but agree to meet the next week. Bakshi gives Monet the hat, and she says he can come get it any time. Bakshi then drives off as his car backfires.
1968, USA, 35mm, 99 minutes
B/W - I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
Directed by Hy Averback; Screenplay by Paul Mazursky & Larry Tucker; Starring Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joyce Van Patten, David Arkin; Music by Elmer Bernstein -
1968, USA, 35mm, 92 minutes