I Love You, Alice B. Toklas


Today is the birthday of Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967), most famous as secretary and companion to Gertrude Stein. Far more importantly, her name became a synonym for a certain type of illicit brownies, and thus became part of the title of one of my favorite crazy sixties comedies, I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968). 

In the film, Peter Sellers plays Harold Fine, an uptight nebbish much modeled on the character of Woody Allen (whom Sellers had recently worked with in What’s New Pussycat and Casino Royale).


Harold accidentally eats some of the Toklas, drops out of straight society, shacks up with a hippie chick (Leigh Taylor Young) and pretty soon he looks like this:


Times have changed a GREAT deal. Much comedy is mined out of the idea that a man of the advanced age of THIRTY is behaving in a certain fashion…if people only knew what was coming. The trailer tells the tale:

And of course, the thing has to have an arc. Things get out of hand and Harold comes to his senses. Here is the hilarious party scene in which that happens, when the craziness around him has gone on too long and has simply gotten to be too much. After all, even his own parents (Salem Ludwig, Jo Van Fleet) are turning on:

I defy you to tell me it gets any better than this! Also in the cast: Joyce Van Patten, Herb Edelman, David Arkin, and in the role of the funeral director, Grady Sutton!


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