Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968)

Retro Active Critique #14

"And so does Gertrude Stein." Apparently, it's because Alice B. Toklas had a particularly groovy brownie recipe. As does the hippie girl, played by Leigh Taylor-Young.

Overall, the film is entertaining, though I imagine it seems a bit dated now... But for me, in particular, having watched it in Venice Beach for the first time, where much of the action takes place, and seeing the alley right below my apartment in one shot, (so that I was sitting right above the scene, in a way, watching the scene - talk about surreal), I always have a fond memory of this classic comedy.

Peter Sellers plays uptight Harold Fine who is set to marry his very appropriate fiance. He happens upon an intriguing hippie chick named Nancy, who sports a butterfly tattoo, and soon he drops everything he's ever been accustomed to in order to 'find himself', chill out and adopt a new life as a hippie. Of course this leads to hilarious moments. What else could one expect from Sellers? One delivery that comes to mind here is while he is in the midst of a raging party at his digs with Nancy, he finally starts to get back to reality to some extent and things begin to seem out of his control - and he exclaims (while in disagreement with a group of kids), "I'm so hip... it hurts!"

And in this scene from their groovy party, Harold gains a newfound perspective on his extreme behavior - just before he resolves to find a happy balance between being too careful, and utterly carefree.

And if you're wondering where the brownie-loving downfall (upfall?) began, here it is.