I must hand it to Drew Barrymore. She fought the law and she won. It is nothing short of a minor coup (?) that she persisted in having this film shown as part of TCM’s Essentials programming (against, perhaps, the “better” judgment of Robert Osborne). I’ve had this film in VHS form sans case awaiting the perfect moment to watch it. That moment came tonight thanks to guest programmer Drew.
I should mention that I rather like Robert Osborne. His love for film is unquestioned. He has that twinkle in his eye…even when speaking about the most apocryphal “classics.” It was truly a moment in my life when I first heard the word Cahiers pronounced…and the speaker was none other than Mr. Osborne.
On to the film at hand. This really is a strange movie. Mostly because it is not strange. Peter Sellers plays what might best be described as Zeppo Marx for the entirety of the film. I must, however, give it to director Hy Averback for having crafted a film which nicely calls into question the values people place on rather vacuous objects and principles. At least the very last scene (Sellers hastily strolling down the street) finally achieves a sublime effect which was labored over for 94 minutes before being realized. Sadly, this film has all the trappings of The Party (truly Sellers’ best performance) with almost none of the brilliance. It is acutely agonizing to watch Sellers play the straight man.
Peter Sellers, like Johnny Depp, was born to play the eccentric.