The Wild Party (1975 film)

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The Wild Party
The Wild Party.jpg
Film poster
Directed by James Ivory
Produced by Ismail Merchant
Written by Walter Marks
(Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March)
Starring James Coco
Raquel Welch
Perry King
Tiffany Bolling
Royal Dano
David Dukes
Music by Walter Marks
Louis St. Louis (song)
Cinematography Walter Lassally
Distributed by AIP (theatrical cut version)
MGM (DVD, directors cut)
Release date
March 1975
Running time
109 min. (director's cut)
Language English

The Wild Party is a 1975 Merchant Ivory Productions film directed by James Ivory, produced by Ismail Merchant, and starring James Coco and Raquel Welch.[1]

An aging silent movie comic star of the 1920s named Jolly Grimm attempts a comeback by staging a party to show his new film. But the party turns into a sexual free-for-all and the comic ends up killing his mistress, Queenie, and an actor who has taken an interest in her.

The film was loosely based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March and filmed in Riverside, California. The poem was also made into two musicals, a Broadway show, composed by Michael John LaChiusa, which followed the poem very closely, and an off-Broadway production, composed by Andrew Lippa, which took some artistic liberties with the poem but still less than this movie.

A dance scene was choreographed by Patricia Birch.


Once a great star of silent film, Jolly Grimm has wealth, a mansion, a manservant, Tex, and a beautiful and faithful woman in his life, Queenie, but no longer has Hollywood's interest. He desperately tries to get studio executives interested in his latest project, which he has financed himself, so he decides to throw a huge party at his house and show the film footage to those who come.

The party turns into a loud, alcohol-fueled orgy. Jolly is unable to impress a Hollywood mogul, eager to move on to a more important social engagement, with the outdated humor and pathos of his movie. The more he drinks, the more angry Jolly becomes. The arrival of an underage girl brings out a protective, possibly perverted interest on Jolly's part, while the attention paid to Queenie by the virile young actor Dale Sword ignites a jealous fury in the sad comic that leads to violence and tragedy.



After the film's original release in 1975, other versions varying in length resurfaced on VHS and DVD, as well as a director's cut, 20 minutes longer, briefly released to cinemas in 1981.

Stanzas from the poem that inspired this story are read in a narrative voice-over by actor David Dukes during the film.

Further reading[edit]

  • Parish, James Robert (2006). Fiasco - A History of Hollywood’s Iconic Flops. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 359 pages. ISBN 978-0-471-69159-4. 


External links[edit]