Loosely inspired by the Fatty Arbuckle case, The Wild Party tells the tale of JollyGrimm (James Coco), fading silent movie funnyman. It is 1929, and he is making one last bid fora comeback by premiering his new film at a lavish party that he hosts with his mistress (RaquelWelch). His career is over, though he refuses to admit it. At the party, frustrations, jealousies andsexual shenanigans build to a murderous climax.
I never thought I’d see a film that someh…w brought together Ismail Merchant, James Ivory,and Raquel Welch with Samuel Z. Arkoff and American International Pictures. What a bizarrecombo. The subject matter is rather atypical Merchant-Ivory fare as well, except for the periodsetting. The premise is very promising, but the picture makes its points in too obvious andrepetitive a fashion, and the depiction of the party could do with a bit more sleazy oomph.
The mono score’s quality varies somewhat from scene to scene. For the most part, it isperfectly serviceable, being clean and clear, though a bit low in volume. In some scenes, on theother hand, the sound becomes rather more muzzy and distorted.
The fluctuations in sound quality mirror those of the picture. Most of the film looks quitegood for a 1975 print, with very little grain and good colours (thought contrasts could be a bitstronger). Other scenes have much more noticeable grain with muddier colours. The image is notquite as sharp as it could be.
Along with the theatrical trailer, there is a 20-minute featurette, “Hollywood Hoopla.” Thisis an extended interview with James Ivory, wherein he recounts his early career, how the filmcame to be, and what befell it when the time came for distribution. Almost as good as acommentary, this featurette kicks the stuffing out of most other examples of its kind. The menuis basic.
A film that is almost more fascinating for its behind-the-scenes aspects than for its ownqualities. Worth seeing, but a little frustrating, in that one sees how it could have amounted toquite a bit more.
Special Features List
- “Hollywood Hoopla” Interview with Director James Ivory
- Theatrical Trailer