‘Magnolia’ blooms

Fire marshal puts damper on preem party

A 23rd-floor Westwood penthouse gave “Magnolia” a dramatic locale for its Wednesday night premiere party — and there was more drama when that ol’ party pooper, the fire marshal, put the kibosh on things.

New Line’s soiree got under way around 10:30 p.m., but by 10:55 the marshal decided the penthouse, which looks like an office that’s been stripped to its industrial skivvies, had “exceeded its occupant load.”

That left only 499 guests wandering through an artfully dolled-up space that appeared capable of holding twice the number. It also left scores in the lobby, which one guest referred to as “party purgatory,” though it did have food and drinks. They waited for someone to exit so they could enter. Eventually all did.

Those taking the elevators skyward had lots to say about the film that got an unusually strong round of applause as it ended. Comments ranged from “amazing” to “a poor man’s Altman.” And “I like bleak, but I need a ray of light at the end” to “stunning — and I’m not easily impressed.”

Among those riding the elevators were New Line’s Bob Shaye, Michael Lynne, Michael De Luca and Lynn Harris; director Paul Thomas Anderson with Fiona Apple; stars Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Ricky Jay, Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, William H. Macy and Philip Seymour Hoffman; plus guests Ed Burns with Heather Graham, Bob Merlis, Jay Polstein, Pete Sampras, Terry Semel, Brooke Shields, Robert Towne, Mark Wahlberg and Brian Walton.

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