RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Blake Edwards

The Pink Panther

Posted on
pink panther

Image Credit: The Pink Panther, 1963.

Let me begin by saying I have absolutely no idea what is happening in this movie. Blame the Campari, blame the dazzling beauty of young Robert Wagner, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of Blake Edward’s 1963 comedic caper farce The Pink Panther (DVD/Download).  And yet- I couldn’t look away.

I’ve always been fascinated by the 1960’s Jet Set, even before Don Draper and his bizarre Palm Springs weekend. From the designer clothes, to the exotic travel, to the day-drinking, I love it all. This movie picks up where Slim Aarons’ photography leaves off, adding a healthy dose of Henry Mancini’s delightful jazz to an already-glamorous fever dream. I went into this film thinking Peter Sellers would be the star of the show, and indeed his Inspector Clouseau was the most entertaining character. There just wasn’t nearly enough of him. Instead we’re left watching David Niven romance Claudia Cardinale on a tiger-skin rug, while Robert Wagner attempts some playful sexual assault on Clouseau’s wife (I guess back then rapists were just called “playboys”? Ick.). I *think* there’s a jewel heist at the center of it all, but I have no idea who’s doing the heist, or why, or who the jewel belongs to in the first place. Also, despite the sly pink cartoon we all know and love, the Panther is not the thief, the Panther is the jewel. The Phantom is the thief. Still with me?  Yeah, didn’t think so.

Whether they’re in Paris, Rome, or a glamorous Italian ski resort, these people drink A LOT of champagne. Doesn’t that sound like the life? In my opinion, Campari makes it even better, turning a hum-drum mimosa into a sophisticated brunch cocktail.  While watching the Pink Panther, I recommend drinking a Campari Sparkler.

Campari Sparkler

2 oz Campari

2 oz fresh orange juice

1 ½ cups Pink Champagne

Orange slice for garnish

Combine Campari and orange juice in a shaker with ice, and shake until chilled. Strain into a flute or wine glass, and top with pink champagne. Garnish with an orange slice.

Campari Sparkler

There are good caper films, and then there is The Pink Panther. Had I not been long-obsessed with 1960’s style, I might have given up halfway through. But instead I poured another drink, accepted the fact that I would never understand the plot of this movie, and just spent the remaining hour admiring Claudia Cardinale’s wardrobe and makeup. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon. Cheers!

Advertisements

The Party

Posted on
Image credit The Mirisch Corp., The Party, 1968

Image credit The Mirisch Corp., The Party, 1968

I can’t believe it’s been 7 months of Cinema Sips greatness, and I have yet to discuss the ultimate cocktail movie, the one that made me want to do this blog in the first place. This week, I am beyond excited to feature one of my top favorites, and certainly my absolute favorite film to screen during any cocktail-fueled gathering– The Party (DVD). Truly, this is a great movie to have playing in the background of any party because the physical humor and gorgeous sets mean you don’t necessarily need sound to appreciate it. You would be missing out on Peter Sellers’ absurd Indian accent and a delicious score by Henry Mancini, but you would still have all of your party guests wondering what this fabulous movie is.

This 1968 Blake Edwards classic stars comedy genius Peter Sellers as the bumbling Hrundi V. Bakshi, an Indian actor who accidentally gets invited to a dinner party at a Hollywood producer’s home. He arrives, loses his shoe, mingles with movie stars, spills bird seed everywhere, sticks his hand in caviar, and gets a chicken caught on a woman’s tiara. And that’s just in the first half! There are a lot of sight gags involving the ultra-modern home set, such as people falling in the water feature that runs through the house, guests getting burned by the indoor fire pit, and floors and walls disappearing at the flick of a switch. It’s a ridiculously impractical home, but if I had a million dollars I would build it for myself in a second. The sets and costumes truly capture that 60’s Mod era in a way that Mad Men could only dream of. Beyond that, Peter Sellers is adorable and funny in a pre-Mr. Bean, fish-out-of-water role that only he could pull off, and his love interest played by Claudine Longet is French perfection. Zou-bisou-bisou indeed!

What makes this movie such a great fit for Cinema Sips is the plentiful alcohol that is poured and consumed on-screen for a solid hour and a half. A drunken waiter offering vodka and scotch; Peter Sellers refusing alcohol then getting wine poured all over his hand anyway; Hollywood power players sipping cocktails at the retro bar- it’s a classic cocktail lover’s paradise. Playing off the mix of cultures at this party, I’m crafting a cocktail this week with Indian roots, yet with a hint of French flavoring. Referencing the one scene that gives me the giggles every time, I’m calling it a Howdy Part-en-er.

Howdy Part-en-er

1.5 oz vodka

1 oz unsweetened jasmine green tea (bottled is fine)

½ oz St. Germain Elderflower liqueur

½ oz lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a shaker over ice. Strain into a chilled martini glass, and enjoy!

Howdy Partener

Once Hrundi gives in and actually has a drink, The Party becomes a wild, nutty ride featuring an elephant, a Russian ballet troupe, and a house full of bubbles. Perhaps you’ve thrown a party or attended one that evolved into something crazier and crazier as the night went on, ending only when the sun comes up. If not, watching this movie makes you feel like you have. I’m sure in real life I would be the neurotic hostess fretting about her hair getting wet while her house is being destroyed, but when I watch this I like to pretend I’m the loopy, drunk actress who sees imaginary things in the bottom of her cocktail glass. After a couple of these vodka-green tea concoctions, I might not be too far off. Cheers!

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

Image Credit Paramount Pictures (1961)

“I’m just crazy about Tiffany’s.”

That’s the line- the one that makes me smile every time. I don’t know if it’s the way Audrey Hepburn says it in her breathy, untraceable accent, or if it’s the idea of a large boutique full of diamonds and precious gems bringing delightful happiness to all who enter, but something about it gets me grinning from ear to ear. As Valentine’s Day approaches, I can think of no better movie to watch on February 14th with a cocktail. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (DVD/Download) isn’t just a charming story about love between two lost souls- it’s a classic film showcasing the style and grace of the great Audrey Hepburn.

Of course as many know, Truman Capote was not at all pleased with the producers’ choice in casting Ms. Hepburn to play his iconic literary creation Holly Golightly. And frankly, after reading the book, I don’t think I would have been thrilled either. The film version of Breakfast at Tiffany’s bears little resemblance to the novel, though both are wonderful works in their own right. Yes, the film whitewashes a lot of the more scandalous details of the book (most importantly Holly’s career as an escort) but still the overarching themes remain the same. I love the way Audrey Hepburn plays Holly as strong and funny one minute, then beautifully damaged the next minute. George Peppard is satisfactory as her love interest, in a Ken-doll sort of way, but I think of him more as window-dressing. Blake Edwards does a fabulous job directing, particularly in the party scene (we’ll see more of his genius on Cinema Sips when I talk about his other cocktail-fueled masterpiece The Party), and the shots of Hepburn and Peppard racing hand-in-hand through the streets of New York make me giddy with envy and happiness.

For my cocktail pairing, I wanted to come up with something that evoked the opening scene in front of Tiffany’s, and also the wonderful moment where Fred and Holly drink champagne before breakfast. I think this drink hits all the right notes in terms of complexity and style, just like Holly herself. When you’re watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I recommend drinking a variation on a mimosa that I call  the Sunrise Sip.

¼ oz Peach Schnapps

½ oz Citrus Vodka

Juice of 1 Clementine

2 oz Champagne

Clementine twist for garnish

Pour peach schnapps, vodka, and the clementine juice into a champagne flute. Top with chilled champagne, and garnish with a clementine twist.

 

Whether you’re spending the holiday alone, with your friends, or with your significant other, this film will make you fall in love- with vintage Givenchy clothes and a cat named Cat. I swear, the sight of her pathetic feline friend soaking wet and meowing in a New York alley would melt the heart of even the fiercest dog-lover. I apologize in advance for the strange and offensive Mickey Rooney that I’m subjecting you to, but just take his Mr. Yunioshi with a grain of salt and skip ahead to more Audrey and more Fred-baby. And for heaven’s sake, don’t pull a Mag Wildwood and spend your evening face-down on the floor. Moderation, please. Cheers!