Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 7th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1968
Director: Blake Edwards
Writers: Blake Edwards, Tom Waldman, Frank Waldman
Cast: Peter Sellers, Claudine Longet, Natalia Borisova, Jean Carson, Marge Champion, Al Checco, Corinne Cole, Danielle De Metz, Denny Miller, Steve Franken
BluRay released: October 16th, 2017
Approximate running time: 99 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Rating: PG (UK)
Sound: DTS-HD 5.1 English, LPCM Stereo English
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Eureka Video
Region Coding: Region B
Retail Price: £11.99 (UK)
“By a twist of fate, the clumsy but good-hearted, aspiring actor Hrundi V. is invited to attend Fred “General” Clutterbuck’s big party, after having utterly ruined the set of his latest feature film.” – Synopsis provided by the Distributor
The Party was co-written and directed by Blake Edwards whose other notable films include, Operation Petticoat, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Days of Wine and Roses. Key collaborators on The Party include cinematographer Lucien Ballard (The Killing, The Wild Bunch) and composer Henry Mancini (Charade, Two for The Road) who worked with Edward’s on more film’s than any other composer.
Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers would collaborator on six films. With their most known films being the iconic Pink Panther film series. The sixth film that rounds out their collaborations is The Party, a film that over that years has not garnered as much acclaim as the aforementioned Pink Panther films.
And yet then examined upon closer look, The Party has all the core ingredients that have since become synonymous with the Pink Panther films. Most notable Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers affection for psychical comedy.
Not to be overlooked, when discussing The Party, is its use of improvisation. And it is precisely this mode of creating that allows Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers to create a film unlike anything that has come before or since.
And though moments were allowed to evolve out the aforementioned improvising. The end result is a film appears to be more structured then it actually was. With this film’s anchor being Peter Sellers (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, After the Fox) madcap performance which effortlessly moves from one absurd moment to the next.
Other performances of note include, Denny Miller (“Wagon Train”) in the role of Wyoming Bill’ Kelso, an actor known for his roles in Westerns and Steve Franken in the role of drunken waiter named Levinson. He delivers a delirious performance that at times almost rivals Peter Sellers aforementioned performance.
Another strength of this film is how the visuals do a superb job framing the insanity that is unfolding onscreen. And standout moments visually include, a scene where Peter Sellers bumbling character Hrundi V. Bakshi accidently destroys a bathroom and a the film’s final where all hell breaks loose as the house where the party is being held is flooded with soapy water.
The Party comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Though this transfer appears to come from a dated master and this same master was also used for Kino Lorber’s Region A Blu-ray. The end result is easily the best the film has looked to date on home video. Details look generally look crisp, there are no issues with compression and grain looks natural.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD 5.1 mix in English and a LPCM stereo mix in English. Both audio mixes sound, clean, clear, balanced and robust when it needs too, especially Henry Mancini’s score. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles.
Extras for this release include, a trailer for the film (2 minutes 1 second), Ken Wales Profile (7 minutes 20 seconds), Walter Mirisch Profile (4 minutes 25 seconds), Blake Edwards profile (6 minutes), a featurette titled The Party Revolution (16 minutes 30 seconds) and a featurette titled Inside The Party (24 minutes).
Topics discussed by associate producer Ken Wales include, USC film school, how he got into the film industry as an actor, Glenn Ford, Experiment in Terror, Blake Edwards and how he became his assistant director.
Topics discussed by Blake Edwards include, his origins as a filmmaker, how he started his career as an actor, why he made the transition to screenwriting and his early days as a director.
Topics discussed in the extra titled The Party Revolution include, video assist and the role it plays in this film, Peter Sellers and how video assist changed how films are made.
Topics discussed in the extra titled Inside The Party include, the origins of the film, Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards collaborations, how The Party was an homage to the silent film era, improvising scenes, the cast, onset memories and their thoughts about the film.
Overall The Party gets a first rate release from Eureka Video.