The Celluloid Pantry: Reel Parties

It's party season! And to help you get into the spirit of things, this week at The Celluloid Pantry, we're taking a look at some deliciously memorable bashes from three classic films.

(This is only a start—tell us about your own favorite on-screen gathering!)


The Party (1968)

"Birdie num-nums."
Out-of-work actor Hrundi V. Bakshi (Peter Sellers, bottom right) has a talent for disaster. When, through an administrative error, he's invited to the exclusive soirée of a Hollywood bigwig, the situation soon spins out of control. Slapstick food gags abound here with a waiter who drinks more cocktails than he serves, a Cornish game hen that gets launched across the table onto a woman's hairpiece, and a shocked Hrundi unwittingly plunging his injured hand into a mound of shaved ice that happens to be filled with caviar. Through a series of mishaps, the accident-prone actor loses his shoe, only to later find it perched on a politely oblivious waiter's tray. Hrundi plucks the lost loafer from the hors d'oeuvres, nonchalantly remarking, "Well, I'm on a diet, but to hell with it."

The Thin Man (1934)
"Highballs and cocktails—the long and the short of it."
The liquor and one-liners flow freely at Nick (William Powell, center, left) and Nora Charles' (Myrna Loy, center, right) Christmas Eve celebration. Although Nick's now living the high life, the suave ex-detective hasn't forgotten his old streetwise colleagues, and the guest list includes a wide range of characters from his gumshoe past. When a convivial cop asks Nora if her husband's working on a case, she quips, "Yes—a case of scotch." (For more on Nick and Nora, including a cocktail recipe, see this previous post.)

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
"I'm going to...feed you to the yak...just as soon as I finish this drink."
When girl-about-town, Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn, top left) invites her neighbor, the writer Paul "Fred" Varjak (George Peppard, top right) over for "drinks at six," he expects a quiet gathering. What Paul encounters instead is an army of guests packed into Holly's tiny New York City apartment, a kitchen brimming with bottles, and book shelves stacked with snacks. The libations flow (in one case a cocktail is used to extinguish a small fire on a woman's hat) as guest after guest arrives. Finally, a man enters carrying a large cardboard box filled with liquor and food. "Reinforcements!" announces Holly. (More on Holly's kitchen misadventures here.)

-Nora