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The Party (1968) - Plot Summary Poster

(1968)

Plot

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Summaries

  • A clerical mistake results in a bumbling Indian film star being invited to an exclusive Hollywood party instead of being fired.

  • By a twist of fate, the clumsy, but well-meaning aspiring actor, Hrundi V. Bakshi, is invited to Fred Clutterbuck's big party, after utterly ruining the set of his latest feature film. However, unbeknownst to the host, Bakshi is present at the gathering, merrily mingling with the hand-picked guests in this magnificent hi-tech villa, where the drinks are flowing, and everybody is in high spirits. But, much to everyone's surprise, when Bakshi accidentally has his first-ever sip of alcohol, only God knows how this well-thought party will end. What delightful disasters await?

  • After getting fired from General Federal Studios, Junior Artiste, Hrundi V. Bakshi, ends up getting invited to an upscale party thrown by the wealthy Clutterbuck family. After his tryst with his shoe, he is aided by an inebriated butler and a baby elephant to create hilarious chaos for the hosts and their chic guests.


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • Unknown Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers) has been hired to play a bugler on the set of a costume epic in the style of Gunga Din (1939). He keeps on playing his bugle even though he has been shot several times, and even after the film director (Herbert Ellis) has yelled "Cut!". Later, as he staggers around the set, he accidentally falls on a plunger and blows up an enormous fort set. The director immediately fires Bakshi and calls the head of the studio, Fred Clutterbuck (J. Edward McKinley) to tell him about the mishap. Fred writes Bakshi's name on a piece of paper thinking he is putting him on a blacklist, but he inadvertently writes it on a list of guests to invite to an upcoming dinner party that his wife Alice (Fay McKenzie) is holding.

    Bakshi receives the invitation and drives in his car, a Morgan three-wheeler, to the Clutterbucks' home. When he arrives there, he tries to rinse some mud off his shoe in a large pool that flows through the house, but in doing so he loses his shoe. He makes many attempts to retrieve the shoe, but they all fail.

    Bakshi has several awkward interactions with everyone else at the party, even Cookie, the Clutterbucks' dog. He meets "Wyoming Bill" Kelso (Denny Miller), a famous Western movie actor, and receives an autograph from him. Later, Kelso is shot with a toy gun, but he doesn't see that the gun was fired by Bakshi. Bakshi feeds a caged macaw some bird food from a container marked "Birdie Num Num", but drops the food on the floor. He also finds an electronic control panel and at various times in the film presses the buttons for the intercom, a replica of the Manneken Pis fountain (which causes a guest to get soaked) and a retractable bar (which retracts while Fred is sitting at it).

    When Kelso shakes Bakshi's hand, he hurts it, and Bakshi sticks it into a nearby bowl of crushed ice unaware that it contains caviar. As he waits to wash his hand in the bathroom, he meets aspiring actress Michèle Monet (Claudine Longet) and producer C.S. Divot (Gavin MacLeod), who came to the party together. Divot shakes Bakshi's hand not knowing that it has been dipped in caviar, and as Divot goes around and interacts with other guests, he shakes their hands too and passes the fishy smell around to them, even back to Bakshi after he has washed his hands.

    At dinner time, Bakshi's place setting next to the kitchen door has a very low chair that puts his chin close to the table. A waiter named Levinson (Steve Franken) tries to serve dinner despite becoming increasingly drunk. Bakshi finally gets his shoe back when it is served with the hors d'oeuvres. During the main course, Bakshi's roast Cornish game hen catapults off his fork accidentally and lands on another guest's tiara. Bakshi asks Levinson to retrieve his meal, but when he tries to take it, the woman's tiara and wig both come off with it. The woman continues to engage in her conversation oblivious to her situation. The dinner is disrupted after Levinson gets into a fight with the other kitchen staff.

    Bakshi apologizes to his hosts, then says that he needs to go to the bathroom. He wanders through the house in search of the bathroom, and opens several doors that see him barge in on various guests and servants in embarrassing situations. His search takes him into the backyard, where he accidentally sets off the irrigation sprinkler system. Divot insists that Monet give an impromptu performance of "Nothing to Lose" on guitar in order to impress the guests. Continuing his search, Bakshi goes upstairs and finds Monet and Divot in a room together. He dislodges Divot's toupee and saves Monet from Divot's unwanted sexual advances. Finally, he finds a bathroom, but he breaks the toilet, drops a painting in it, gets toilet paper everywhere and floods the bathroom when some of the paper blocks the bowl after the toilet flushes. Bakshi sneaks out through the bathroom window onto the roof in order to avoid being discovered, but he loses his balance, slides down the roof and falls into the pool. Because Bakshi cannot swim, Monet has to leap into the pool to save him. Several guests race to the side of the pool to pull Bakshi and Monet out, and they coerce Bakshi to drink some alcohol to warm up, unaware that he is not accustomed to it. Under the influence, he struggles to put on a red terry towelling jumpsuit.

    Bakshi goes to a room where he finds Monet crying, and consoles her. Divot bursts into the room and demands that Monet leave the party with him that instant. When Monet refuses, Divot cancels her screen test for him the next day. Bakshi convinces her to stay at the party and have a good time with him. They both return to the party in borrowed clothes as a Russian dance troupe arrive.

    When the party gets wilder, Bakshi offers to retract the bar to make some more space for the guests to dance, but at the control panel, he presses a button that makes part of the floor where the dance troupe are performing open up, causing them to fall into the pool underneath. As the guests rush to the side of the pool to help them out, Levinson stumbles to the open panel and presses a couple of buttons that make more parts of the floor retract and send many of the would-be-rescuers into the pool themselves.

    Meanwhile, Clutterbuck's daughter Molly (Kathe Green) arrives at the party, along with her friends and an elephant painted with hippie slogans over its body and "THE WORLD IS FLAT" on its forehead. Alice, already distraught after the commotion involving the dance troupe, walks alongside the pool unaware that the elephant is following her. When she turns around and sees it, she screams and falls into the pool, and Molly and her friends jump in to get her out. When Bakshi sees the elephant, he takes offence to it being painted and asks Molly and her friends to wash it. The soap bubbles from its cleaning soon find their way into the air conditioning system, which spreads them all over the house.

    Back at his own home, Divot comes to the realization that Bakshi is the fired actor who blew up the fort set, and races back to the party to tell Fred. Meanwhile at the Clutterbucks' home, Alice falls from an upper balcony into the pool again, Fred tries to save his suds-covered fine art paintings, and the band keeps playing on in spite of the suds. As the guests begin to dance to psychedelic music, the sight of guests covered in suds makes Alice escape from her bed to the upper balcony, and to fall into the pool for a third time. Divot returns to find the police and fire department at the Clutterbucks' home working to resolve everything. Bakshi apologizes to Fred again just before Divot reveals who Bakshi is, but when Fred chokes who he thinks is Bakshi among the suds, it turns out to be the head waiter instead.

    As Bakshi and Monet get ready to leave in Bakshi's car, Kelso gives Bakshi his Stetson hat and an autographed photo. When they arrive outside Monet's apartment, they seem to be on the verge of admitting that they have fallen for each other. Bakshi given Kelso's hat to Monet as a keepsake, and Monet tells him that he can come and get it any time. When Bakshi suggests that he could come by the following week, Monet readily agrees to the idea. The car backfires as Bakshi smiles and drives off.

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