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I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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(Jun 20, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

One day you're a career 9-to-5er with a pending marriage. The next, you chuck it all for beads, bell-bottoms and free love. That's how things are for Harold Fine, a dedicated lawyer about to become a more dedicated dropout. Like the brownies served by Harold's new girlfriend, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas has a hidden magical ingredient: Peter Sellers, whose flower-power performance here is in the same league as Dr. Strangelove, Inspector Clouseau and other "best Sellers." Director Paul Mazursky and his co-writer Larry Tucker spread good vibes aplenty as Harold discovers tuning in and turning on can turn out daffily disastrous. Leigh Taylor-Young and Jo Van Fleet co-star in this Age-of-Aquarius time capsule that's timeless fun.

Special Features

  • Theatrical trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, Leigh Taylor-Young
  • Directors: Hy Averback
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0), French (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 20, 2006
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000ERVK44
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,505 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
Peter Sellers is actually fairly toned down in his role as an "uptight" Jewish lawyer who decides to join the Counterculture (quite literally, overnight) after ingesting pot brownies and enjoying a roll in the hay with a free-spirited "hippie chick" (radiant Michelle Phillips look-alike Leigh Taylor-Young). Despite the dated Hollywoodized trappings of late-60's psychedelia (including the inevitable Party Scene, although interestingly nobody falls into a swimming pool for a change), Paul Mazursky's script is at its heart a serio-comic tale of one man's mid-life crisis. Sellers fans take heart,there are still some supreme comic moments (a very stoned and giggly Sellers trying to "maintain" as he watches a straight-faced man getting fitted for a minidress is a definite highlight). The film may have inspired a sub-genre of "Middle Aged Guy/Free-Spirited Young Woman" films like "I'll Never Forget What's 'Is Name" and the more dramatic "Petulia". So warm up the VCR and grab a plate of brownies (don't forget the secret ingredient!)
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Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
It's a very sad state of affairs when a comic artist the caliber of Peter Sellers is not as appreciated as he should be. The man was a genius at playing the uptight middle class doltish kinda guy. And his Harold Fine is the quintessential umcd. I didn't see this film until the late 80's. My brother & I were stoned one night and just laughed our asses off. It was amazing how the film had retained its comic force after 20 years. After viewing it I gave it a few years and wondered if it wasn't just the added effect of the drugs but I saw it again stone cold sober and still lmao. Some of the 60's hippie-era stuff probably hasn't aged well but Sellers can't be denied. I think along with his brilliant triple-shot in Dr. Strangelove this is his best work. The film also benefits from its terrific supporting cast including Jo Van Fleet, Joyce Van Patten & Leigh Taylor Young(giving arguably the best of films many spaced-out hippie portrayals). Hopefully whoever owns the rights will get a clue and have this dvd-released sometime soon but if not I highly recommend the vhs version of this comic gem.
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Format: DVD
Sellers is perfect in the restricted anxious role as the repressed asmatic Jewish raised status quo lawyer, Harold Fine. Joyce (Joyce Van Patten) remarks when his car is pinned in due to an unforseen parking challenge, "You are afraid to move Harold!" A few minutes later she confesses, "I am 33 years old & that is not an easy thing for me to say!" " Then asks, "Am I going to be your wife or am I going to continue to be your concubine?!"

His doting mother fabulously played by Joyce Van Fleet confuses him when she unexpectedly enters his office crying about a recently deceased family friend (Ed Foley) who supposedly saved his life but Harold doesn't remember & Harold mistakenly thinks she is referring to his beloved father.

This film is a wonderful vintage time capsule of the 1960's yet it is just as relevant today as it was then. I was very saddened to discover that the actor David Arkin, (who played Sellers' bohemian brother, "Herbie") comitted suicide in 1991. I can't help but feel that the strange optimism which was so strong in Mazursky & Tucker's screenplay alluded Arkin.

That being said......The screeenplay is wonderful & the actors are perfectly suited for their roles. The psychedlic music/score is fantastic. The scene where hippyi-chick Nancy & Harold accidentally get his parents high with Nancy's brownies (thanks to the famous recipe by Toklas NOT Ruebens!!!) is the ultimate munchy laughing scene. I have never laughed so much in unison with film characters as I have in this film. You have to see it to understand the power in this scene. I am totally convinced afer viewing this excellent film that actors are correct - comedy IS more difficult than tragedy.

This movie makes me wonder what was so different about the 60's as right now?
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Format: VHS Tape
The 1960s was such a unique decade - a kind of bridge connecting the bizarrely Eisenhower 50s with the polyester Nixon 70s. Watching films from the 60s is equally amusing. I watched "I Love You Alice B. Toklas" the other night, the 1968 drama/comedy starring the late-great Peter Sellers.

No multiple roles here for Mr. Sellers, and rarely a moment of slapstick. In fact, it's a serenely subtle performance as Sellers plays an inhibited square lawyer bored with the prospect of spending the rest of his life with his fiancee - a woman who happens to be his secretary. Sellers' character is about as exciting as Darrin Stephens with a hangover. But he's jarred from his straight-laced shell by the appearance of a free-spirited hippie chick who's fond of sitar music and hash brownies.

While hippies had been on the scene for a couple of years by 1968, not too many had been seen in films. But the message, I think, is the key.

A middle-aged, disillusioned man drops out of society to discover himself. He backs out of his wedding, quits his job and lives in the backseat of his car with his young hippie chick (played by the lovely Leigh Taylor-Young). This was a fairly brave stance during an era when society was told to marry, propagate and move to the suburbs.

The keynote moment, and one of the funniest scenes I have seen in a while, happens when Peter Sellers, his fiancee and his parents accidentally sample some hash brownies (made from an old Alice B. Toklas recipe, thus the film's title). This straight-laced crew, tasting drugs for the first time, fall on the floor in fits of laughter, playfully disrobe and eventually decide to play miniature golf. That's right, miniature golf. In some way, a dash of hash has enabled them to loosen up and touch their inner child.
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