It’s not a great movie. It’s full of crass stereotypes that are written in for one pointless sight gag after another. It has low-fi production values and plays more like a made for TV movie of the week than a full length feature film, but ‘I love You, Alice B. Toklas’, features a great performance by comedy legend Peter Sellers which is more than enough reason to put it onto my 'Waiting for DVD' list.
Originally released in 1968, ‘I love you, Alice B. Toklas’ was a major studios interpretation of the emerging psychedelic culture. The humor centers on what happens when the hippies and the regular nine to fiver squares meet. Peter Sellers carries the film as Harold Fine, a regular working class guy who lives an ordinary constrained life. The opening title sequence provides a peek into the kind of small frustrations of day to day life that people endure, endlessly following traffic signs that tell you where you can and can’t go, and ultimately spins you around in circles.
The title refers to Alice B. Toklas now infamous brownie recipe that features a special green ingredient that makes them super delicious and can put even the most uptight crowd into a shake it loose mood. But one evening worth of pot brownie fun rarely translates into a successful day-to-day lifestyle, as Peter Sellers character learns.
The seductive tuned in and dropped out hippie way of living may be groovy at first, it stretches the limits of conventional western life further than the average working class adult can manage after a while. And when Sellers character realizes that the out of control scene that has taken over his once conservative bachelor pad, he loses it once more, and returns back to his former life, or does he?
‘I love you, Alice B. Toklas’ is a must see for any free spirit who’s wrestled with the duality of wanting to live a life and take care of the everyday responsibilities and yet still stay true to who you are. Society at large wants people to settle down, marry, get into a 30-year mortgage somewhere and become a motivated worker bee to support it all. And this movie pushes the question and provides a view into what some of the alternatives are.
Hoping this one makes it to DVD soon, for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2003 - Purple - Air Date: 10/15/03
I love you, Alice B. Toklas!
USA - 1968