The Party: Special Edition (1968)

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Released 22-Aug-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Inside The Party
Featurette-The Party Revolution: A NewTechnology
Featurette-Filmmaker Profiles
Interviews-Cast-Vintage Interviews With Peter Sellers
TV Spots-Barclays Bank Commercials
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1968
Running Time 94:50 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:23)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Blake Edwards
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Peter Sellers
Claudine Longet
Natalia Borisova
Jean Carson
Marge Champion
Al Checco
Corinne Cole
Dick Crockett
Frances Davis
Danielle De Metz
Herbert Ellis
Paul Ferrara
Steve Franken
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Greek
Turkish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I am a big fan of the work of Peter Sellers, from the Goon Show to Inspector Clouseau, Dr Strangelove and many more, however I can safely say that this is my favourite of his movies. To my mind, this is one of the funniest, if not the funniest film I have ever seen. The only ones I can think of which come close are Sleeper by Woody Allen and The Life of Brian. This is brilliant comedy from start to finish, all based on the fantastic skill of Sellers and Blake Edwards who wrote and directed this film. As you will learn in the extras, a lot of the comedy was improvised during the making of this film and they actually set out to make a silent film, but Sellers felt it was too hard after one day's shooting. Accordingly there are long stretches in the film without dialogue and most of the humour relies upon the physical humour of Sellers and Steve Franken as a drunk waiter. Having said that, there are also some great lines such as the very famous 'birdie num num'.

    The plot of The Party is very simple and it is basically a fish-out-of-water comedy. An Indian actor, Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) is brought out from India to Los Angeles to star in a Hollywood film. In a brilliant opening sequence he single-handedly tries to destroy the production, its sets and the fragile mind of its director. After throwing Bakshi off the set, the director rings the head of his studio to let him know what has occurred. The studio head accidentally writes Bakshi's names on the bottom of a piece of paper containing a list of celebrities to be invited to a party his wife is organising. On this basis, the studio head's secretary sends an invitation to Bakshi. He turns up at the party and causes complete havoc. Most of the film's running time is the party itself which includes many fantastic sequences including the aforementioned 'birdie num num' sequence, his meeting with Wyoming Bill Kelso (Denny Miller), the drunk waiter, various mishaps involving water, an incredibly funny sequence at the dinner table, a foam filled swimming pool and a painted baby elephant. Along the way he also manages to find the time to meet and get involved with a pretty young actress by the name of Michelle Monet (Claudine Longet).

    As I have said this is an extremely funny film, especially if you enjoy physical comedy and sight gags, however some may find its central character being an Indian offensive and racist. Personally, I do not as I do not think much of the humour is really based on him being Indian, more that he just does not fit in with the Hollywood crowd which is exacerbated by him being from a very different country. The end of the party also gets a little silly but you find yourself laughing anyway.

    Relax, enjoy and have a great laugh. Comedy does not get much better than this!

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good with only a few minor issues. Considering the age of the film, it looks great.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail does not really come into it as most of the film is brightly lit. When needed occasionally it is very good. The bitrate is uniformly very high. There was some very light grain visible from time to time, probably film rather than MPEG grain.

    The colour was wonderful, rich and solid throughout.

    Artefacts were mild in nature and included some slight jumps between scenes such as at 31:30, some aliasing such as on a picture frame at 43:14 and a cupboard at 59:29, one spot at 53:14 and a little mild edge enhancement. Generally, considering the age this is a nice clean print with little in the way of annoying artefacts.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired and 10 other languages. The English subtitles were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

    The layer change occurs at 51:23 and caused a noticeable pause. However, it was well placed at the end of a scene.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains five audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s and the same in German, French, Italian and Spanish. Some may be annoyed by the fact that the original mono mix is not present but this does not bother me personally. The new mix is fairly sympathetic, although some louder party scenes noticeably use all the speakers making you feel like you are part of the scene.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Henry Mancini is a groovy, 60's light jazzy pop soundtrack which suits the film very well and reminds me of Austin Powers.

    The surround speakers added some directional effects such as party noises and gunfire during the opening sequence. Some may find the use of the surrounds during the party sequences slightly overdone, but it did not bother me.

     The subwoofer was used for the explosion early in the film and mostly to add bass to the music. This is not the sort of film which you would expect to have a booming LFE track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There are copious extras, all on the second disc. A commentary by Blake Edwards may have been a nice edition but what is included is generally of high quality. Subtitles are available for the extras.

Menu

    The menus are very groovy and in keeping with the tone of the movie, featuring elephant noises and other sound effects.

Disc 2

Inside the Party (23:59)

    An excellent making-of documentary featuring new interviews with Blake Edwards, Associate Producer Ken Wales, Producer Walter Mirisch and cast members Denny Miller and Steve Franken. Topics covered include the relationship between Edwards and Sellers, how the project developed, the very short script, the on-set atmosphere and safety problems with the foam. Some interesting anecdotes are also told. Very interesting and well worth your time. Presented at 4x3 and made in 2004.

The Party Revolution : A New Technology (16:30)

    Another fascinating documentary this time covering a technical innovation made for and first used on this film, Video Referencing. Basically this system allowed the director to see what the camera had just recorded without having to wait for the next day's screening of dailies. This was done by incorporating a video camera on the body of the film camera and shooting with both at the same time. The program covers how this has been developed since then into the fully digital systems in use today. Very interesting. Made in 2004.

Filmmaker Profiles

Vintage Interviews with Peter Sellers (20:40 in total)

    This is a whole section of various interview segments with Peter Sellers recorded for Irish television. It is actually one interview cut into little pieces. The whole interview is included as an extra on another recent Peter Sellers release, The Peter Sellers Story...as he filmed it which I recently reviewed. Regardless, the material is mostly included here (less about 6 minutes) and is very interesting whether watched as one whole interview or in segments. It does not directly relate to this film.

Barclays Bank Commercials (3:06 in total)

    A set of three commercials which Sellers made for Barclays Bank appearing as a scammer and spiv called Monty Casino. Quite amusing.

Original Theatrical Trailer (1:54)

    A dumb trailer which focuses on the film being about a 'wild and crazy' party rather than focusing on the great comedy.

Photo Gallery (2:24 in total)

    Despite the use of the singular, this is actually two photo galleries, one called The Party Invitations which include promotional art and posters and the second called A Party including behind the scenes shots. Both are quite interesting.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Our local release is the same as the recent Region 2 release and significantly better than the Region 1 release. The differences are as follows.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    Our local release is obviously much better than the Region 1.

Summary

    A classic comedy starring the talents of Peter Sellers.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The 2 disc set has a large collection of extras, mostly of excellent quality. A commentary is the only thing you could really say was missing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
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