Author Topic: I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)  (Read 1368 times)

Offline Antares

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I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)
« on: May 24, 2010, 12:30:20 AM »
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!

Year: 1968
Film Studio: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts
Genre: Comedy
Length: 94 Min.

Hy Averback (1920)

Paul Mazursky (1930)...Written By
Larry Tucker (1934)...Written By

Charles H. Maguire (1927)
Paul Mazursky (1930)
Larry Tucker (1934)

Philip H. Lathrop (1912)

Elmer Bernstein (1922)...Composer

Peter Sellers (1925) as Harold
Jo Van Fleet (1914) as Mother
Leigh Taylor-Young (1945) as Nancy
Joyce Van Patten (1934) as Joyce
David Arkin (1941) as Herbie
Herb Edelman (1933) as Murray
Salem Ludwig (1915) as Father
Louis Gottlieb (1923) as Guru

       The first half of the 1960’s were a watershed in the film career of Peter Sellers; achieving success in Lolita, The Pink Panther and Dr. Strangelove would cast him as an international star and paved the way for what should have been his most creative years. Unfortunately, his roles in the second half of the decade proved that while he was a talented comedian, his choice of scripts left little to be desired. His first missteps occurred in the films, What’s New Pussycat in 1965, followed by Casino Royale in 1967. The former had the potential to be a great comedy, linking Sellers with the up and coming Woody Allen. Sadly, Woody was still getting his feet wet in film comedy and a lot of the material is silly and stale. The latter film proved that too much of a good thing isn’t always fortuitous, as 5 directors and 10 screenwriters forged a film project that tried too hard to be a little of everything for everyone. Never sure if it wants to be a comedy, a spy film or drama, the resulting effort is an overblown and gratuitous mess. Sellers would be redeemed the following year with his role in The Party, but would fall back into mediocrity with the commonplace little comedy, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, that same year.
       Taking place in the surreal setting of the psychedelic 60’s, Sellers plays Harold Fine,  a refined and uptight Jewish lawyer who is about to be married to the charming, yet ordinary Joyce Miller (Joyce Van Patten). His run of the mill world is about to be set upon its ear when he meets his hippie brother’s friend Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young). Nancy is the extreme opposite of his fiancée Joyce. Nancy is free-spirited and full of life, un-fettered by the social standards of the day that preclude most of the members of her sex from living their lives as nothing more than potential homemakers. When Harold picks her up hitchhiking after a very bizarre funeral that Harold’s family has just attended, he offers her a place to stay the night. In appreciation of his hospitality, she whips up a batch of Alice B. Toklas brownies for him. For those unfamiliar, Alice B. Toklas was the lesbian lover of Gertrude Stein, though she is now more famous for the cookbook she wrote which featured several recipes using marijuana as an ingredient.
       When Harold, Joyce and his parents eat the ‘fortified’ brownies, the drug induces their inhibitions to disappear, setting the stage for the obvious occurrence of Harold leaving his fiancée at the altar to pursue Nancy and her alternate lifestyle. In the beginning, this premise makes for an interesting representation of the time stamp that was the flower power era. But as the film progresses, it becomes weighted down in the predictability of Harold’s disillusion over his new lifestyle and his yearning to return to his safe and stable former life. While it has its moments of humor, it can never escape the fact that it is now a horribly dated picture that may quell the curiosity of those who were born after 1965. If you’re looking for a cute comedic diversion for about ninety minutes, then give it a shot.

Review Criterion
5 Stars - The pinnacle of film perfection and excellence.
4 ½ Stars - Not quite an immortal film, yet a masterpiece in its own right.
4 Stars - Historically important film, considered a classic.
3 ½ Stars - An entertaining film that’s fun or engaging to watch.
3 Stars – A good film that’s worth a Netflix venture.
2 ½ Stars - Borderline viewable.
2 Stars – A bad film that may have a moment of interest.
1 ½ Stars – Insipid, trite and sophomoric, and that's its good points.
1 Star – A film so vacuous, it will suck 2 hours from the remainder of your life.
½ Star - A gangrenous and festering pustule in the chronicles of celluloid.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 12:15:57 AM by Antares »