When one thinks of the greatest performances of the brilliant Peter Sellers they are a list of usual suspects: his three-character tour-de-force in DR. STRANGELOVE, his numerous appearances as the iconic Jacques Clouseau in THE PINK PANTHER films and his dramatic turn in Hal Ashby’s BEING THERE. One performance, however, that gets lost in the shuffle is Sellers’ hilarious portrayal of inept but kind Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi in THE PARTY, which will be screening next week at The Ritz with themed cocktails designed by Alamo beverage director Bill Norris.
The film has a very simple setup that allows for high comedic potential, especially with an actor like Sellers. The story begins with a misunderstanding that puts Bakshi on an exclusive guest list for a dinner party hosted by Hollywood studio honcho Fred Clutterbuck. From the moment Bakshi enters the house, to a disastrous dinner, to an impromptu elephant cleaning and hippie dance party THE PARTY is filled with amazingly over-the-top scenarios all brought together by Sellers, who is working at the very top of his comedic form as Bakshi.
Writer/director Blake Edwards, who also worked with Sellers on THE PINK PANTHER series during this time, infuses satire with slapstick to make a great send-up of many social group including Hollywood elites and1960s flower power children. The loose structure (the script was only said to be around 63 pages long) allows for so many comedic ideas to be fully realized and executed and gives Sellers the freedom to be at his very best, which he most definitely is from first frame to last.
While encompassing all of these elements the film has a gentle heart, much like the aloof and lovable Bakshi. Today’s comedies get bogged down in gross-out, ugly humor that relies more on shock then genuine comedy. THE PARTY is the antithesis of this: it’s simple, funny and sweet. So come have a few drinks and a guaranteed good time with Blake Edwards's THE PARTY. (R.J. LaForce)
Here is a list of the special cocktails that will be available for your drinking pleasure:
Birdy Num Num
This fruity gin connection, with orange, pineapple, grapefruit and a hint of apricot brandy and grenadine will have you flapping your wings at the bars to your cage.
Dark and Stormy
A terrific taste of British colonialism with black seal rum, ginger beer and a slice of lime. Looks just like Peter Seller's "brown face."
The Stork Club Cocktail
No swinging 60s party would have been complete without this mix of gin, orange liqueur, orange juice, lime and bitters. Elegant and refined.