The Party's Over DVD+Blu-ray
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Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced in 1965
Main Language - English
Countries & Regions - British Film
The BFI's wholly admirable excavation of neglected and once-censored British movies continues to unearth and rescue hard-to-find and little-seen Britfilms, showcasing them in wonderful Blu-ray transfers. Here we're given world premiere releases of two mid-Sixties gems: Gerry O'Hara's largely unseen Swinging Sixties opus The Pleasure Girls (1965), featuring Francesca Annis, Ian McShane and Klaus Kinski, and, most cherishably, an uncensored pre-release cut of Guy Hamilton's long-banned and controversial The Party's Over, which so upset the British censors (worried about the influence of counter-culture on the cinema-going public). In fact, director Guy Hamilton (of Goldfinger fame) was obliged to remove his name from the credits. This never-before-seen version is truly fascinating, and reminds us how we (thankfully) live in a far more liberal age. There are copious additional features and illustrated booklets, and detail of the cuts the films were subjected to. Now, BFI, what about David Greene's fascinating (and equally neglected) The Strange Affair, with Michael York?
Barry Forshaw on 18th May 2010
Author of 564 reviews
An American businessman visits London and is horrified to discover his nubile teenage daughter has become involved with a gang of thuggish 'beatniks', with her involvement involving wild parties, sex, death and necrophilia.
When young American, Melina (Louise Sorel), falls in with a group of Chelsea beatniks, she catches the attention of the gang's defiant leader, Moise (Oliver Reed), but invites scorn and jealousy from the group's other members, including Moise's lover Libby (Ann Lynn). At one wild and drunken party, the group's games are taken too far, and tragedy follows, but only when Melina's fiancé, Carson (Clifford David), begins investigating does the terrible truth reveal itself.
Originally banned by the censors for its controversial content, The Party's Over has long been out of circulation, despite being helmed by James Bond director Guy Hamilton and the presence of some of Britain's most celebrated acting talent.
Length: 94 mins
Cat No: BFIB1057
Format: DVD+Blu-ray Colour
- 2 discs
- Dual Format Edition with both the Blu-ray and the DVD of the film and extras
- Remastered to High Definition
- Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
- Alternative theatrical release cut (Blu-ray only)
- Alternative theatrical release sequences (DVD only)
- The Party (R A Ostwald, 1962, 16 mins): a time-capsule short about an art school get-together, with drinking, dancing and romance
- Emma (Anthony Perry, 1964, 12 mins): an expressive meditation on the loss of innocence and the certainty of death, from the producer of The Party’s Over
- Illustrated booklet featuring contributions by Guy Hamilton, Andrew Roberts, William Fowler and Vic Pratt.
“A feast of cinematic delights”
by R Liffen on 21st May 2010
Seen from the perspective of 2010, you wonder what all the fuss was about. Was this portrayal of 'beatnik' life by articulate, well-spoken, middle-class actors really ... Read on
Seen from the perspective of 2010, you wonder what all the fuss was about. Was this portrayal of 'beatnik' life by articulate, well-spoken, middle-class actors really going to seriously corrupt the nation's youth?
Having last seen the film (the heavily censored theatrical release version) back in 1965 I was eager to match my memories to the real thing and I was not disappointed. With a large amount of the censored material restored, this is a film that not only works as a good story but gives the viewer (especially the Blu-ray viewer) a feast of cinematic delights.
Start with Oliver Reed's performance. Watch the minute movement of his eyebrows as, early in the film, he displays indifference to the plight of a man dangling from a balcony. See him later as he mocks Carson, the american, with a performance that segues from american accent to french accent to a reprise of his (uncredited) camp pantomime actor from 'The League Of Gentlemen'(1960). Guy Hamilton is not afraid to use Reed in close-up (sometimes BCU) and the reward is a fine display of cinema-scale acting.
Now admire the rest of 'the pack'. They may be 'beatniks' but they are also impossibly 'beautiful people' and the crisp 35mm neg transfer combined with shallow depth of field makes them stand out from the Chelsea locations and give them a 'super-reality' that overcomes the deficiences of some of the dialogue. All the main members of 'the pack' are credited except one, the drunk being hauled across Albert Bridge after the party in Battersea, the one who spouts quotations. Can any of the film buffs here identify him?
The locations themselves raise the status of this film. London in 1962 (when the film was shot) was on the cusp between recovering from the bomb-damage of the Blitz and the housing boom of the 1960s. Chelsea pubs might still be a dump as Hector says in the film, but they were of their time as much as was the all-pervading tobacco smoke. For anyone who relishes a glimpse of the London of fifty years ago, the film has much to offer.
One last little gem, courtesy of the frame-by-frame analysis that is possible with a DVD. Look for the dummy that is used for Phil's suicide jump and you can even spot that it is wearing a Guy Fawkes mask!
Ray Liffen Hide