I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!

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I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!
Hy Averback, 1968
USA | 92 minutes

Written by Larry Tucker and Paul Mazursky with sly insight into the Swinging Sixties, this amiable, offbeat comedy stars Peter Sellers as Harold Fine, a phobic Los Angeles attorney caught between his desperate fiancée Joyce (Joyce Van Patten) and a pushy mother (the scene-stealing Jo Van Fleet). At a family funeral, Harry is introduced to a beguiling flower child (Leigh Taylor-Young) who lures him into a new-age lifestyle ruled by tie-dye, free love and psychedelics. The ultimate chameleon, Sellers here gives one of his funniest and most controlled performances. NOV 6, 11.

“According to Mazursky, Warner Bros. initially feared the movie was ‘too Jewish’ and hence a commercial risk. What seems equally striking is its tolerance for drugs and the counterculture. Released without a rating, but with the proviso ‘for mature audience,’ I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! was compared (usually unfavorably) to The Graduate, not the least in the ending in which, having abandoned Joyce for the second time under the huppah, Harold runs out into the streets of Los Angeles, still expressing his own alienation with the hope that ‘there’s got to be something beautiful out there.’”
—J. Hoberman

Image courtesy of the Kobal Collection.

Series: Hollywood’s “Jew Wave”

Venue: Walter Reade Theater

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