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.
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!
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!