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An aging silent movie comic star tries for a comeback by staging a wild party that turns into a sexual free-for-all. The comic ends up killing his mistress and her latest boyfriend. Written by
According to the Merchant Ivory Productions official website, "time also has a framing role in The Wild Party (1975), shot soon after Autobiography of a Princess (1975). It has a curious history, having been inspired by a blank-verse narrative poem of 1926 by Joseph Moncure March about a disastrous Greenwich Village party given by a vaudeville comic in his walk-up apartment. The lyricist Walter Marks saw in it the idea for a musical film, with the setting changed to Hollywood at the end of the silent-movie era. Shortly after the project was brought to Edgar Lansbury and Joseph Beruh, producers of 'Godspell' and other Broadway musicals, Walter Marks's brother Peter [Marks] discussed it with [director James] Ivory and mentioned that a director was needed. It was in this way that Ivory, as director, and [Ismail] Merchant, as co-producer with Lansbury and Beruh, were brought in. An important change was made in the script on which Ivory and Marks collaborated: the musical became a drama with music". See more »
You gotta be philosophical about these things. I understand why my best friend would run off with Dale. I mean, everyone knows what kind of life she has with Jolly. It's no secret.
We've got to find them, Katie.
[Kate crosses to the bed and puts her arms around Jim]
I understand. You've been stuck on her for years, plain as day. But hey, sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Like tonight. Okay, we both lost. But that doesn't mean a souple of losers aren't entitled to a little...
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This is one of my favorite Merchant/Ivory films. I first saw it when I was a movie usher in 1975 and American International released a very butchered version that cut out a lot of character info and played up the sex and nudity. Many many years later on cable TV I came across the restored version with new scenes and re-edited old ones and it plays like an entirely new film!
James Coco is silent movie comic Jolly Grimm, desperate to save his slipping career by pitching his new film at a Hollywood party. Raquel Welch is his mistress, Queenie, a former showgirl who puts up with Grimm's temper and beatings longer than she should.
The film takes place in a frantic 24-hour period wherein just about every disaster and humiliation possible befalls Grimm, leading up to the tragic/dramatic finale. The titular party is more tacky than wild, but it looks like a lot of fun, populated as it is by a host of curious Hollywood characters. Coco is a standout in a role that should have received more attention. The same holds for Welch who works like a Trojan (and kinda dances like one in her numerous musical numbers,) and while never quite pulling off the dialog ("Ya big lug!"), is rather endearing in her efforts. Special applause for Tiffany Bolling as Welch's best friend. She is funny and real and would have made a wonderfully vulnerable Queenie.
Even when being batted around by Coco, Welch looks like she could punch Coco into the sound era.
Though essentially a tragedy, "The Wild Party" is too flawed to be moving, but is a really enjoyable and visually rich film. The musical score (featuring "The Herbert Hoover Drag") is a gem!
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