The Party (1968)

Peter Sellers and director Blake Edwards paid tribute to the days of silent slapstick and the films of French clown Jacques Tati in this trenchant farce about Hollywood excess. In their only film together that was not part of The Pink Panther series, Sellers is a hapless Indian actor who wreaks havoc shooting Son of Gunga Din. Instead of putting him on the list of fired employees, however, the studio head accidentally writes his name on the guest list for his next party. Over one short evening, Sellers’ bumbling turns the event into sheer chaos. Edwards used a unique shooting style that recalls the best of Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton. The film was improvised from a lengthy plot outline and shot in sequence. To keep things connected, each scene was videotaped as it was filmed, so cast and crew could review what had gone before. The party, which takes up most of the film, was shot in a large indoor set complete with a waterfall and a receding floor covering an indoor pool. Featured in the cast are Claudine Longet as Sellers’ love interest, Steve Franken as a drunken waiter, Gavin MacLeod as a lecherous director and Denny Miller as a Western star.

(d. Blake Edwards, 99 m, Digital)