Peter Sellers' THE PARTY

I recently watched this movie (again) and laughed and laughed and laughed. I wonder, why isn’t this movie a Classic? Why wasn’t it one of the ATF’s 100 Funniest Movies? (y’know, it could have been, I only saw the special up to #60 or something…in that case, I’m lame…) But onward…

Is it because Sellers is in character as a Hindu, and that makes it akin to a Jolson type insult, especially because Hrundi is so hapless??

Is it because the movie isn’t widely known?

Is it…could it be…that it’s really not that funny and I’m just possessing a lame sense of humor?

I saw this movie a while ago and I also wondered why I’d never heard of it before (and only once or twice since). I think the ending is a bit dated, in a sort of late '60s, Laugh-In, chaotic farce kind of way. And the female lead, Claudine Longet, was involved in a controversy for shooting her lover, but that was a few years after the movie came out. Still, that was back in the days when controversy would actually hurt your career, so that may be part of it.

Just to clarify a bit, the 100 funniest movies list came from the AFI (American Film Institute, I believe), and The Party wasn’t anywhere in the top 60 either.

There must be a great trivia question in here somewhere about how many nationalities Peter Sellers has played. Off the top of my head I can think of English, French, German, American, Chinese and Indian.

And if a movie like The Party can fade into obscurity, how many great, old movies are out there that have slipped under our collective radar and just never come back to our attention?

Riiight, she killed an Olympic guy. A skier? Do you think that did it, or is it the Non PC ness of it?

Thanks for the clear up on the AFI, Robot Arm. Hey, I have the rest of it on tape, do they ever refer to The Stooges? I guess I should just watch it. The number one was Some Like It Hot, right?

I agree that the ending of The Party itself was a bit dated, but the sweet bit between Hrundi and the girl was sweet. “When could I call you to get my hat back?” And sweet-- IMHP–is timeless.

I wonder, too, about what we have missed. But I’ve seen R. Downey Jr.s CHAPLIN, and that stirred interest in silents. (Not a typo)

I think you have it sewn up on the nationalities, I can’t think of anymore.

“Birdie num-nums. Birdie num-nums. BIRDIE NUM-NUMS.”

Kills me every time.

I haven’t actually seen The Party but the list is here:

“This time, the 1,800 voters across the country - directors, screenwriters, actors, critics, historians and “cultural leaders” were asked to vote for what we thought were the 100 funniest movies of the past 100 years.”

But I’m guess the reason it’s not in the list is because they didn’t actually ask filmgoers. :slight_smile:

I think lots of those films were there just because they’re “classics”, not whether they’re funny or not.

They showed the Seven Year Itch recently on AMC and I could barely sit through it. Miss Monroe’s acting is horrid, but hey I guess we’ll never know if she coulda learned to act… The movie makes you wince because you know lines were written as gags and they’re just embarassing.

Chaplin’s films were great, enjoyable films, I didn’t find most of them actually funny. (There’s a scene in Empire Strikes Back taken from City Lights). And Young Frankenstein didn’t make the list? That’s the only Mel Brooks film I really liked.

Well screw the AFI (and the ATF while we’re at it. :slight_smile: ), they wouldn’t know a funny movie if it trotted up and bleeted at them.

Of course, we all know what the funniest movie of all time is…

Spider Sabitch was his name. I don’t know if he ever qualified for the Olympics, but he was a skier.

I really wish I knew. There are some movies that don’t get much attention when they come out, but somehow pick up a following in revival houses and on video (Wings of Desire and Blade Runner are good examples). I’m sure there are movies that pack the theaters for a few weeks and are forgotten (can’t think of any examples, I’ve forgotten them too).

The frustrating thing is that I have some huge favorites that almost no one else has heard of. They don’t play at revival theaters, they don’t get lots of extra goodies on DVD. And there must be more where they came from, movies I would love, but they’re so obscure I’ll never find them amid the background noise.

There might already be a thread about that list, if you want to check the archives. Some Like it Hot was number one, and I don’t remember the Stooges on the list. The rules might have excluded short films, and while everybody’s heard of them, who can name a particular title?

I read a review once (probably Roger Ebert) that said if you can remember a character’s name in a movie, it must have done something right. And how could I ever forget Hrundi V. Bakshi?

Go back to that era and movies aren’t just obscure, most of them don’t even exist anymore. But a lot of great ones do. I was happy to see The General make the list. And (again from Roger Ebert) silent movies were never silent, they just didn’t talk.

I’m glad to hear that someone else knows & loves this film.

Guess it’s time to dig it out and watch it again.

The business where the toilet paper just keeps unrolling and unrolling is hilarious. I have no idea why this movie is not considered one of the funniest ever.

Actually, YF did make the list, at #13. Here’s the complete list in order:

And for the record…

Worst Omission: Trouble in Paradise
Worst Inclusion: 9 to 5
Way too Low: Dinner at Eight
Way too High: When Harry Met Sally…

Thanks ArchiveGuy, the link I gave popped up in an annoying little Java box and did not have Young Frankenstein listed, or at least I couldn’t find it.

And … Fargo? I thought it was a wonderful picture but one of the 100 funniest films? And where’s The World According to Garp? (Unless it’s there and I didn’t see it).

Ugh, the AFI…Big, fer cryin’ out loud? They think The Graduate is a COMEDY? I mean, it had a few jokes, but, man oh man oh man…

Anyway, odd that this topic should come up, because a friend and I were talking about Peter Sellers just this afternoon. The Party was supposedly Elvis’s favorite film, at least according to a blurb in one of my Uncle John’s volumes somewhere. Haven’t seen the movie yet myself, but now I think I’ll have to.

Gotta agree here, though it offends me to do so. Cripes sakes, I’m from Minnesota for cryin out loud, and my maiden name is GUNDERSON! The clip on the AFI show, something about barf, sad choice. While I didn’t pee my pants like the CA pukes I hang with now did, it was funny enough. I did, however, get my laugher stuck when the poor wife fled from the shower and squealed as she pinballed down the stairs. Damn those Cohen boys can tickle the dark parts!!

And the business with the Beluga stink hand… too, too funny.

“Howdy Pardner. Hoooowdyy PAaaRDner. PARDNER!!”

I seriously do not understand why there are so people who know this flick! And the ones that do, dig it.

And Robot Arm, it IS sad when it’s hard to/rent/buy watch a not so old movie. Sometimes you need well worn, comfy laughs and anticipated gags–without commercials and bad edits. (USA network)

One of my bestest couch and blanket movies is Valley Girl.

I stand with chin raised in defiance to anyone that dares to berate me.

HIJACK…can I do that in my own OP?

I just read my prior postings…errors, typos…and it all looked JAKE to me when I clicked submit replay…see…rePLY!

I gotta go to bed. Small tyrants care not for a tired ass servant.

I just wanted to let this be known, though–I love the way this Thread is going. Positive responses; informative, and intelligently crafted. Cept mine, I sorta write like ai talhk. <<Yaaaaaawwwn>>

(scratches head, detaches brain from computer and goes the hell to bed…)

Humor is inherently subjective. Sure, there’s stuff that more people or fewer people laugh at, but ultimately what matters is whether you laugh at it. Author, Author with Al Pacino tops my list, but it’s not in the top 100, and I’m not surprised. Just because I still smile whenever I think of Dyan Cannon laying out three aspirin tablets in front of three champagne glasses doesn’t mean anyone else feels the same way.

Most of these compiled lists are going to have a “lowest common denominator” quality about them, and will include a lot of movies that people think are funny because they’ve always heard them referred to as funny movies. People who voted for The Graduate are probably remembering the single word “plastics”.

I recently read an article about how books come into and out of favor – some that were obscure when they were originally published suddenly become “hot” because of pop culture references or new appreciations. I’m sure the same is increasingly true of movies, especially in the age of VCR’s and DVD’s. As with all popular media, it helps to have a publicity machine behind you (witness Disney’s endless churning of their animated films, or the current re-release of Jaws). The Party may rise again.

Like this?

I too agree that this is a very good film.

I suppose the bypassing of this film was because of its datedness. So very many '60s things and comments that just look and sound silly these days.

My favorite scene is the bathroom scene, where he goes to tear off one sheet of toliet paper and the roll just unrolls and unrolls. In the theater this was a relatively long scene. When it was broadcast on television they shortened it rather markedly. But the build in laughter in the theater was fascinating to listen to. It began with a little laughter, then a little more. Then it died out. Then it built again and people were literally falling out of their seats by the end of the roll.

Then he stuffs all the paper in the toilet. It overflows and he goes out the window and he falls off the roof.

I also enjoyed the opening scene where they were filming a remake of Gunga Din and Sellers is looking for a place to tie his shoes.

Publicity machines can’t explain all of it. I read in a Boston guidebook that a local revival theater was largely responsible for rescuing Casablanca from obscurity. I don’t really see whose publicity machine could hope to drive something like that. Of course, that must have happened a couple of decades ago, so maybe things have changed since. But I also like to believe that we have taste and independence that will never be completely subverted by what other people tell us we should like.

i couldnt watch it, myself. peter sellers’ thing in that is so excruciating… it made me writhe in my seat. i can hardly bear to watch the king of comedy, just about my favorite movie, for the same reason. deniro and bernhard make me so… i guess, EMBARRASSED for them its hard to watch. slight hijack, my fave peter sellers movie is whats up pussycat, the one where he plays the sex-crazed german psychiatrist. woody allen’s first screen appearance is in this movie, as well. so funny!