The Wild Party (1975) from Tuna

The Wild Party is a forgotten early film from the Merchant Ivory team. This film never had a release in the States. The studio re-cut it, tried their version with some test audiences, then shelved it. It was finally picked up in the original version for a French release, and is now on DVD, again in the original cut.

Inspired by the Fatty Arbuckle scandal, it stars James Coco as a silent movie great who became a has-been with the advent of talkies. His mistress, Queenie (Raquel Welch) has been bearing the brunt of his horrible moods, inspired by his fall from stardom and his love of the bottle.

As the story begins, he is hoping against hope to make a comeback with a self-funded film he has just finished. Hoping to attract a distributor, he is to premiere it at a huge party at his house. Most of the film takes place at the party, where nearly everything that can go wrong for Coco does, including Queenie leaving him for the newest Hollywood heartthrob. All of this leads to a shocking conclusion.


Raquel Welch shows a lot of skin, but none of the best parts. Marya Small shows one breast in a lesbian sex scene, and several unknowns also show breasts in a party orgy.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Featurette with director James Ivory

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

Believe it or not, this is a musical, and oddly, I loved the 20s soundtrack. Raquel does two production numbers that are very entertaining, and you have to hear the Herbert Hoover Drag. The film looks great, Coco and Welch gave very strong performances and the sound track was a delight. This was almost enough to make me forget the weak plot.

The Critics Vote ...

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The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, I am going to give this a C- as a musical comedy, but I personally enjoyed it.

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