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Being There [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import]

Peter Sellers , Shirley MacLaine , Hal Ashby    Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
Price: £9.90
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Being There [Blu-ray] [2009] [US Import] + Dr Strangelove [Blu-ray] [2010] [Region Free]
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Product details

  • Actors: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart
  • Directors: Hal Ashby
  • Writers: Jerzy Kosinski, Robert C. Jones
  • Producers: Andrew Braunsberg, Charles Mulvehill, Jack Schwartzman
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Portuguese, English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Feb 2009
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001IHJ974
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 22,664 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Hal Ashby's much-praised Being There stars Peter Sellers in what was perhaps his finest comic performance. Chance the gardener has spent his entire life in an old man's house and has no idea of the world outside except for what television has given him. Sellers manages to make his innocence touching and oddly impressive rather than an offensive exploitation of disability. Jerzy Kozinski's screenplay neither entirely endorses nor discounts the twin possibilities that Chance's simplicity and closeness to the natural world give him access to real wisdom, or that he is simply a blank on whom people project what they want to see and hear. What is clear is that he gives his dying friend Ben (Jack Warden) peace of mind and consoles Ben's wife (Shirley Maclaine). Whether he's being groomed for the Presidency or appearing to walk on water, he always does something right, and the same is true for Sellers' minimalist performance.

On the DVD: Being There is presented in a widescreen visual aspect of 1.85:1 and has 1.0 Dolby Digital mono sound; it comes with the original theatrical trailer, information about the stars and director and a list of the film's awards. --Roz Kaveny

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best 11 Jun 2003
There's no 'probably' about this film. This is the best piece of acting ever by Peter Sellers. Best known for his roles in The Goons and Pink Panther series, Sellers outshines them all in this film. It wasn't very well publicised when new, and remains unknown to many. If you like slapstick - forget it. If you want funny voices - forget it. But if you want to see (possibly) the best British actor ever, in a starring role in a film that gives credit to the true professional that he was, then Buy, buy, buy...
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, understated comedy 10 Feb 2003
I first saw the film when it came out, and it stuck in my memory. Not your typical Sellars (i.e. neither the slapstick of the Pink Panther nor the so-tedious-it-was-funny of The Party), the film is a comedy of manners more than anything else.
In brief, the story revolves around a certain Chauncy "Gardner" (Sellers) who, upon his employer's death, finds himself thrust out into the rude world. A simple man, with no skills to recommend him but gardening, his life outside the estate in which he has lived since his birth starts with a car accident (involving Maclaine) and progresses gently to the point where he is being discussed as a Presidential candidate.
Many fine scenes, some unforgettable lines ("I like to watch.") and an interesting final walk.
Heartily recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strange parallel universe 20 Feb 2011
I had never seen this film, but hearing a friend talk about it I decided to buy it and have just watched it.

The film is a strange unsettling story, about a simple man who works as a gardener, and whose main pleasure in life apart from gardening is watching TV.

After the old man whose garden he works in dies, he lands up out in the big bad world, where his gardening related anecdotes and ability to feed back to people what they want to hear, has him feted as a financial guru. One word of warning, this is a 12 rated film, but there is a sex scene that made uncomfortable viewing with a couple of 14 year olds. Peter Sellers is startlingly good as the main character, just the year before he died, but there is also a strong supporting cast - he certainly doesn't have it all to himself. I though Shirley MacLaine was very good as someone who tried to connect with Sellers character on an emotional level, something he was incapable of. The film was long at 130 minutes, my daughters thought it was too long, and it was quite slowly paced which helped to make its point.

The picture was presented in 1.85:1 effectively filling a wide-screen TV, and was a bit of a mixed bag to be honest. The colours are good, and have a look of the 1970's, but the focus is a bit soft at times and lacking in the detail we have come to expect from blu-ray. So its not reference material, but it is never unpleasant to watch.

Sound quality is ok , the dialogue comes across well - and it isn't a film that depends on a huge soundscape. It can be a little flat, but hearing the speech is always important to me and it certainly achieves that.

So overall this is a key cinema moment that is well worth watching.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Subtle, enigmatic and highly entertaining... 16 Jan 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Seeing this film for the first time, 25 years on from its original release, two things really hit home. Firstly it's very good - the acting and direction are excellent, it's funny, it's a clever story, and it makes you think. All pretty good credentials for any film. Secondly - and here's where its true brilliance lies - its underlying message hasn't dated at all and, if anything, is more relevant and effective than it was when it was made.
And the message itself? Superficially, it's an exploration of how, in a world dominated by the fleeting demands of mass media, someone with absolutely no knowledge at all can become a megastar and, once established as such, can demand respect and gain power far beyond their capabilities. And, beneath that... well, that's where the fun starts. Is it an exploration of the shallowness of western society? Is it a study of people's weaknesses & needs? Is it a religious allegory? Is it, in terms of most of the characters, a huge tragedy? Is it all or none of these?
The ending, which generates much debate about its "meaning" - is he walking on water in a messianic way or is he simply so stupid that he doesn't realise he's walking, by accident, on a submerged jetty? - is quite brilliant as are the final "over the titles" cuts of Sellers being unable to deliver his deadpan lines without laughing at them, leaving you with the uncomfortable feeling that the "joke" might be on you in trying to read too much into what's on offer here. In the end, of course, it's what you want it to be and that's the whole point of the story - we make people, situations and films themselves into what we want them to be not what they necessarily are. Subtle, enigmatic and, above all, highly entertaining.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not The Pink Panther 1 Aug 2003
By A Customer
Peter Sellers was nominated for an Academy Award for this, his penultimate film.
As it turned out, The Terrible Revenge of Fu Manchu, was his final film. Really, this should have been his last film -- a beautiful testament to an extraordinary career.
The film is a snapshot of the life of Mr Chancey, played by Sellers.
Chancey is clearly backward and yet manages to convince the other characters that he is some sort of genius and prophet.
Seller's portrayal of Chancey is understated and quite brilliant, the end sequence is startling and revelatory.
This is the greatest film you've never seen.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best movie of the great Peter a sellers!
Published 6 days ago by MEGY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Quick delivery and good price.
Published 10 days ago by Jolly
5.0 out of 5 stars deep and very funny film.
A quiet, deep and very funny film.
Published 1 month ago by Iain Cadby
5.0 out of 5 stars What a wonderful film. I like watching it with my students ...
What a wonderful film. I like watching it with my students and having discussions afterwards. There's a lot to think about communication and imagination among people. Read more
Published 2 months ago by LakeConstance
4.0 out of 5 stars Being There
This is the simple story of a very simple man, Chance, the Gardener, well played by Peter Sellers, whose boss dies, leaving Chance with nowhere to go. Read more
Published 4 months ago by soprano 1
3.0 out of 5 stars too expensive, no english subtitles or USA region only
when will this film be released for region two with English subtitles for hard of hearing please? I am trying to replace my old videos with dvds at a reasonable price but find it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by EAP of B
5.0 out of 5 stars Intoxicating
Peter Sellers is remembered for Inspector Clouseau and Doctor Strangelove, but Being There is (imo) his defining work. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Daniel Rozman
5.0 out of 5 stars Being There
Most films given a 5 star rating by reviewers are slightly over rated such as the recent movie 'Gravity'. 'Being There' is a curious little gem that just seems to work. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Spectrum Is Green
5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal humour
This is Sellers at his sublime best in a role that is hilarious, touching, loveable and trippy.

Subtle and out-of-this world ahead of its time; relax and smile. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mr. T. D. Outerbridge
5.0 out of 5 stars sellers best
This a great film, and Sellers, playing low key is brilliant as the innocent gardener caught up in the high world go politics. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Mr. R. F. A. Berger
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