Guy Hamilton, born in Paris to English parents, learnt his directorial trade working as an assistant to Carol Read on movies like The Third Man (1949) he went on to direct, amongst many other things, four James Bond movies between 1964 and 1974 and the more down to earth spy drama written by Len Deighton, which starred Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, the1966 classic Funeral in Berlin. In 1962 he directed the controversial cult movie The Party’s Over, which in fact was not released until 1965 and because of the mauling it got in the editing stage Hamilton withdrew his name from the film. The problem at the time was the inadvertent scenes of necrophilia that proved far to sensational for the Rank Organisations respectable image! Again thanks to BFI’s Flipside series (See Joanna (1968) and Lunch Hour (1963)) we have a chance to see this film in all its uncut spender!
In all honesty these days its content would not raise an eyebrow. The somewhat melodramatic story involves a group of intellectual dropouts known collectively as “beatniks”. These self-indulgent degenerates came from the middle classes and above and tended to live for the moment without giving a thought for anyone or anything (a bit like Thatcherism?) The rich, spoilt American Melina (Louise Sorel) is attracted to the life style, catching the attention of the group’s contemptuous and scornful leader Moise (the equally contemptuous and scornful Oliver Reed) which in turn invites jealousy from other members of the group both male and female: two tragic deaths result. On its release critics and audiences alike rejected it but now in hindsight it’s like other films of the sixties, fascinating with a certain period charm. The film also boasts a great John Barry soundtrack, which for Jazz lovers is a real bonus.