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Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Wild Party (1975)

Set in the 1920s, a once popular silent film comedian (James Coco) throws a lavish party to showcase his comeback movie and invites the Hollywood elite as well as the hangers on. But the party slowly descends into an evening of debauchery and eventual tragedy. Loosely based on the epic 1928 book length narrative poem by Joseph Moncure March, the film invites comparison to the Fatty Arbuckle scandal especially with the casting of the rotund Coco in the lead role. This is an odd little film. Directed by James Ivory (HOWARDS END), not only is the rhyming spoken narrative unusual but there's so much dancing and singing that the film is a borderline musical. It looks smashing but the screenplay by Walter Marks is so poorly constructed that it's hard to imagine how the film could have worked. Coco's character is so inconsistent that he makes no sense and no explanation or backstory is offered to clear it up or give reasons. It's a pity the film isn't better because it contains a very good performance by Raquel Welch as Coco's mistress. She's quite vulnerable and touching as the faithful girlfriend who withstands the constant and erratic abuse dished out to her. With Perry King, David Dukes, Tiffany Bolling, Royal Dano and Bobo Lewis.

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