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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Romance > Counterculture > I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968/Warner DVD)

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas

 

Picture: B-†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: C-†††† Film: B-

 

 

Paul Mazursky is one of the recent writer/directors of the past that is not talked much about, but he was a studio-bound filmmaker who could capture the counterculture like few others.What made his work memorable can be found in Hy Averbackís 1968 film I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, where Peter Sellers plays Harold Fine, a conformist type of guy who does not seem to have much of a life or future until he meets Nancy, played by Leigh Taylor-Young in her first major film.It makes total sense why he would be suddenly attracted to her.

 

The twist is that she is a free-spirited flower-child who does not hesitate to indulge in free drugs, free love or anything else that would make her happy.This freedom becomes infectious and spreads to his associates, who are not always comfortable about it.This is a good light comedy that shows itís age a bit, usually in good ways.Political correctness notwithstanding, there is now ironic humor in when Nancy makes brownies with ďpotĒ in them that would be outright funnier at the time and may still be to some.At the core, however, is can Fine love for Nancy set him free of some of his problems, or will he not get her because her freedom might be too challenging.The performances are good all around.

 

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad for its age and has some good color, but it is not the kind of beautiful color the original 35mm three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor prints would have.At its best, the print has the psychedelic colors of the time and you get an idea of how good that print would look.The film was shot by cinematographer Philip H. Lathrop, A.S.C., who had shot most of Blake Edwards' feature films in the 1960s before lensing this one, so he was very used to comedy by now.He was about to take a turn to more serious material like The Illustrated Man, The Gypsy Moths, They Shoot Horses, Donít They?, Hard Times, The Killer Elite, The Driver and many of the disaster films of the 1970s.He had just shot the classic Point Blank and did the Francis Coppola musical Finianís Rainbow after this.His work here is key to the filmís effectiveness.

 

The Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono has its limits, but is not bad, though when you hear Elmer Bernsteinís terrific score, youíll wish it were stereo.The only extra unfortunately is the original theatrical trailer, but the film is worth a look because everyone is so good, Taylor-Young is always interesting and this is one of Sellers better non-Pink Panther projects.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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