HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
   
 
Newest Articles
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! Try The Brownies
Year: 1968
Director: Hy Averback
Stars: Peter Sellers, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young, Joyce Van Patten, David Arkin, Herb Edelman, Salem Ludwig, Louis Gottlieb, Grady Sutton, Janet E. Clark, Jorge Moreno, Ed Peck, Jack Margolis, Eddra Gale, Carol O'Leary, Gary Brown, Sidney Clute, Roy Glenn
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Harold Fine (Peter Sellers) is a middle class lawyer in Los Angeles who makes a decent living and has a girlfriend, Joyce (Joyce Van Patten), who loves him, yet though he would have trouble admitting it, there's something missing from his life that he can't quite put his finger on. One night, he has spent the evening with Joyce and they have made love, but when it comes to taking her home there are two problems: first, she keeps going on about wanting to set a date for marriage because neither of them are getting any younger, and second he manages to crash a thoughtless neighbour's car into his own...

There are quite a few instances of Hollywood trying to cash in on the latest trend of the day, and quite often today's hip and happening entertainment can look like yesterday's laughing stock, but in this film's case it was always supposed to be funny anyway. Not that it didn't appear dated now with its preoccupation with the hippies seizing the headlines in the late sixties, and even its theme of finding yourself could come across as past it when most people couldn't reach a consensus in the twenty-first century about what was able to make you happy, yet for all the bandwagon-jumping in Paul Mazursky and Larry Tucker's script, they might have been onto something.

It wasn't all hippies here, as there was an interesting line in Jewish humour as well, which was intriguing for its star Sellers, who may have been of that faith but didn't often make obvious comedy of his background. Here he adopted a mild American accent and tackled an overbearing mother (Jo Van Fleet) and that sense of duty, of conformity, that many religions insisted upon which made for a strange mix with the drop out gags proliferating alongside the slightly more stereotypical business. Not that the hippies were any less clich├ęd, yet that fitting in as opposed to rebelling tone was the basis for a rich seam of laughs, the most memorable scene being where Harold, Joyce and his parents partake of hash brownies (courtesy of the titular Toklas recipe).

Presumably this was near the knuckle humour for the squares of 1968, though now it appears to be the stuff of many a sitcom episode since, but crucially it was funny, as was a lot of this thanks to the sympathy we feel for the confused main character. That script was nicely constructed with the satisfaction of watching toppling dominos, with one plot point leading easily and effortlessly to another, beginning with Harold having to get his car repaired and in a hint of things to come the only replacement the garage has is a psychedelically-painted station wagon belonging to the owner's eloped son. It is around this point we learn that Harold's brother Herb (David Arkin) has dropped out of society.

So when Harold picks him up to take him to a funeral, along comes Herb's sort of partner Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young, making a good impression in her movie debut) who begins to fascinate our hapless hero - it is she who bakes the brownies. Soon he has jilted Joyce at the altar to run off with her, and becomes a fully-fledged, ageing flower child, much to the horror of his family. Sellers played this very well, never quite abandoning the straightlaced nature of his character even when he's stoned, with he and Taylor-Young a winning and offbeat couple who we can tell are not really right for each other even if they take a while to acknowledge it themselves. There were just as many digs at the hippies as there were at the middle classes, but with a wistful quality as if to muse, if you don't fit in with these two poles then where does that leave you? If nothing else, I Love You Alice B. Toklas! (as sung by Harper's Bizarre throughout) was redolent of its era, a time capsule not wholly convinced of the worth of that era. Music by Elmer Bernstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3070 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)
Posted by:
Andrew Pragasam
Date:
15 May 2013
  As a huge Peter Sellers fan I am particularly fascinated by some of his more obscure movies in-between his early Sixties stardom and post-Return of the Pink Panther comeback. In most cases I've been disappointed, e.g. The Bobo, Ghost in the Noonday Sun, but it's great to hear this is a forgotten gem.
       
Posted by:
Graeme Clark
Date:
15 May 2013
  Between the health problems and poor career choices of Sellers in the late sixties-early seventies, there were far too many movies not worth bothering with, a lot of would-be trendy efforts which fell flat on their faces, but this wasn't one of them, here the cool is effective because it's not really convinced by either side. Well worth tracking down if you're a Sellers fan who has seen too many of his below par, lesser known works.
       


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: