The Party

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This is a wave in the list as I managed to skip to number 9 through inaccurate player loading and being way too sitting down to do anything about it.

The Party was filmed in 1968, so is that enough for me to forgive it? No, not really.

I tried not to be offended but Peter Sellers in black face playing an Indian (from India not native American) was just uncomfortable making wrong town stuff.

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The Indian-ness of Mr Seller’s character was also the main ‘wacky’ of the piece. His bumblings and inappropriate cultural behaviour were played on throughout with the character creating havoc through being a likeable fool. Think Rowan Atkinson dressed up as an African Mr Bean – bad.

I kept trying to think that ‘at the time’ people would have been less offended by this stuff. But while people like me (white) probably didn’t find it offensive at the time I’m pretty sure the Indian community thought it was pretty crap. And really, people like me (white) should have known better. I think the argument that it was of its time and we should watch it with that in mind is powerless. I think it is more useful as an educational tool about the inherent racism of the time and why this stuff shouldn’t happen.

Are you getting that I couldn’t get over this hurdle?

Also, somehow an elephant ends up at the party and of course Mr Indian character gets precious about it’s cultural importance and makes more of a mess washing it. But why did the daughter have an elephant? It’s such an obvious plot piece because he’s Indian. It doesn’t make sense for a middle-american girl to paint an elephant and take it to a protest. Or did that happen a lot in the 60s?…

I didn’t think this movie was funny but that’s me. I don’t understand how it is considered a classic. The whole movie is like the unconfortable bit in the otherwise wonderful Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you know, Mickey Rooney… Japanese character… match made in heaven.

Maybe you do think it’s a classic comedy and can tell me why I should stop being so sensitive? I’ll listen, promise. Even better maybe someone can explain why elephants were such a must have accessory at protests in the 60s.

To end on a positive note – what I did like about this film:

  •  it’s portrait of upper class lifestyles of the 60s
  • there is a funny drunk waiter
  • Mr Indian character has a cool car.

Next film is Lady Snowblood but I’m having a bit of trouble tracking it down. So I’m jumping straight to Bubba Ho-Tep! It better be good.

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