I Love You, Alice B. Toklas
|I Love You, Alice B. Toklas|
VHS video cover
|Directed by||Hy Averback|
Jo Van Fleet
Joyce Van Patten
|Music by||Elmer Bernstein|
|Cinematography||Philip H. Lathrop|
|Edited by||Robert Jones|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.-Seven Arts|
|Box office||$1.1 million (rentals)|
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas is a 1968 romantic comedy film starring Peter Sellers, directed by Hy Averback with music by Harpers Bizarre. The film is set in the counterculture of the 1960s. The cast includes David Arkin, Jo Van Fleet, Leigh Taylor-Young (in her film debut) and a cameo by the script's co-writer Paul Mazursky. The title refers to the writer Alice B. Toklas, whose 1954 cookbook had a recipe for cannabis brownies.
Attorney Harold Fine (Sellers) is forced into setting a date for marriage by his secretary/fiancée Joyce. Because of a fender bender, he ends up driving a hippie vehicle, a psychedelically-painted station wagon. At the funeral of his family's butcher he encounters his brother, Herbie, a hippie living in Venice Beach. Herbie's girlfriend, an attractive flower power hippie girl named Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young), takes a liking to Harold and makes him pot brownies. However, she departs without telling him, and not knowing what they are he eats them and feeds them to his father, mother, and fiancée, who dissolve in laughter and silliness. Harold considers the "trip" a revelation, and begins renouncing aspects of his "straight" life. He tells his fiancée "no" at the chuppah, starts living with Nancy, and tries to find himself with the aid of a guru, whose name is Guru. Ultimately he discovers the hippie lifestyle is as unfulfilling and unsatisfying as his old lifestyle—Nancy says that monogamy "isn't hip"—and once more decides to marry Joyce. At the last minute, he again leaves her at the altar and runs out of the wedding onto a city street saying he doesn't know for sure what he is looking for but, "there's got to be something beautiful out there."
- Peter Sellers - Harold
- Jo Van Fleet - Mother
- Leigh Taylor-Young - Nancy
- Joyce Van Patten - Joyce
- David Arkin - Herbie
- Herb Edelman - Murray
- Salem Ludwig - Father
- Louis Gottlieb - Guru
- Grady Sutton - Funeral Director
- Janet E. Clark - Mrs. Foley (as Janet Clark)
- Jorge Moreno - Mr. Rodriguez
- Ed Peck - Man in Dress Shop
Vincent Canby in The New York Times called it "a very derivative comedy," with Peter Sellers "sometimes funny (as he tries to spread love among the police) but quite often grotesque (in some embarrassingly intimate bed scenes)"; whereas Variety was more positive: "Film blasts off into orbit via top-notch acting and direction. Sellers’ performance – both in scenes which spotlight his character as well as ensemble sequences in which everyone is balanced nicely – is an outstanding blend of warmth, sensitivity, disillusion and optimism"; while Roger Ebert found some of the movie "good and pretty close to the mark, and Sellers is very funny," he disliked the film's stereotyped view of hippiedom, concluding, "If they'd dropped Sellers into a real hippie culture, we might really have had a movie here."
I Love You, Alice B. Toklas was released to DVD by Warner Home Video June 20, 2006, as a Region 1 widescreen DVD and years later in 2011 as a DVD-on-demand title via Warner Archive.
- "Big Rental Films of 1968", Variety, 8 January 1969, pg 15.
- "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas (1968) - Hy Averback - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (1968) - Articles - TCM.com". Turner Classic Movies.
- Staff, Variety (1 January 1968). "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!".
- Ebert, Roger. "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas Movie Review (1968) - Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com.