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L. Camuti "moviequeen" (Oxnard, CA United States)
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Umbrellas Of Cherbourg - 50th Anniversary Edition (2 Discs) [DVD] [1964]
Umbrellas Of Cherbourg - 50th Anniversary Edition (2 Discs) [DVD] [1964]
Dvd ~ Catherine Deneuve
Price: £9.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A succinct and pithy spoiler, 13 May 2014
Just re-watched this for the first time since childhood... The most romantic movie ever??? Here's how I call it:

"If it takes FOREVER, I will wait for you...
but if it should take something on the order of two years, you're merde out o' luck...shove off, mate!

And fill 'er up, while you're at it."


Parky's People
Parky's People
by Michael Parkinson
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A small sampling filled with inaccuracies was enough to put me off, 4 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Parky's People (Hardcover)
I've admittedly not read the full book, but based on the small excerpt I sampled, I question the value of bothering with a full read. These are only excerpts from the interviews Michael Parkinson conducted over many years. Yes, there does seem to be a broad spectrum of personalities included here.

But the entry for the person who most interested me, Peter Sellers, smacked of poorly researched and rehashed info regurgitated by second-rate underlings sheerly for the sake of putting words on a page to financially benefit Parkinson and the publishers. "First published in Great Britain in 2010 by Hodder and Stoughton. An Hachette UK Company."

An hatchet job by an Hachette Company. The introductory material for Sellers states that he WON the Oscar for Being There. I can attest with absolute certainty and even 100% accuracy that Peter Sellers did NOT win the Oscar for Being There, it was Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs. Kramer whom Sellers lost out to in 1979.

Furthermore, within the actual Sellers interview, the text recounts an incident when Spike Milligan was occupying Sellers' flat whilst Peter was away. Sellers stated that he had just been married as had Spike. Sellers is speaking of his first marriage in 1951. As the text reads, Peter tells Parky that it was no problem as he "was going away with Suzanne anyway."

Peter's first wife's name is Anne, NOT Suzanne. Doubtful Sellers would have been referring to anyone on the side during an interview of this sort, especially when relating that he was JUST married at the time. What is more likely is that some publishing flunkies were transcribing the interviews and had little to no knowledge of the content they are regurgitating.

I have an earlier hardbound book of Parky's interviews from some years back, which was also only a collection of excerpts. I can provide the specifics of that book after holiday travels are done.

REALLY, Michael Parkinson should be ashamed to sign his name to this. I'll wager there are plenty more inaccuracies besides those in the Sellers pages. Facts seem to be a relic of auld lang syne that are just not required in publishing these days.


The Optimists [DVD] [1973] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
The Optimists [DVD] [1973] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The role of Sam, which might have genuinely told Sellers, I AM YOUR FATE, 18 Jun. 2008
Though arguably Peter Sellers felt that Being There was his finest performance and that the role of Chance the Gardener spoke to him as no other had done, in my opinion, it is The Optimists that captures a deeply personal note and ultimately outshines the indeed transcendental Sellers swan song. For one familiar with the scope of Peter's films, in Being There you very much sense that Sellers knew he was not long for this world--that he was a man living on borrowed time who had too often accepted roles that did not manifest the wonder of his talents as Dr. Strangelove had done. He recognized in Chance the opportunity to revisit the quiet subtleties that were drowned in movies like What's New, Pussycat? and After the Fox and that marked his best work.

The role of Sam, the busker (The Optimists' main character--not Fred as another reviewer wrote) is one that director and co-writer Anthony Simmons had originally intended for Buster Keaton in the early 1960s, and later John Mills, but when Mills suffered a broken leg for which the production company was unwilling to postpone, the project ground to a halt. Simmons then considered a pantheon of screen greats including Charles Laughton, Paul Scofield, Trevor Howard and Danny Kaye before shelving the idea that destiny had earmarked for Peter Sellers. Having successfully published The Optimists of Nine Elms (the film's original title) as a book, Simmons was content, for the time, to move on to other projects, not the least of which was the screen debut of Judi Dench in Four In The Morning.

Not even Sellers himself had knowledge when he took the role in the early 70s, that his name had been suggested to Simmons nearly a decade earlier--before Dr. Strangelove or any of the Pink Panther films, and that Simmons had balked at Sellers as not being enough of a natural clown. Thankfully Peter was unaware of that early rejection, and Simmons later confessed, "I must have been mad," otherwise we might never have seen the beautiful performance he gives here.

Peter was quite literally born into the theater, as his father was a pianist, banjo and ukelele player and his mother, a pantomime artist, performing in music halls and variety. Without question, he draws on those early influences and his education being dragged from one dingy backstage playground to the next to inhabit the antiquated character of Sam, who is an anachronism to the two young children that are growing up in the slum neighborhood of London called Nine Elms.

At first, the children taunt Sam and his similarly aged dog, Bella, but absent the time and affection of their own father, they find in Sam a cohort who is willing to nurture their dreams for the price of their admiration. He shows the youngsters a side of life they have never seen, and when, in one scene after a day outing to Hyde Park, the group passes The Dorchester hotel on Park Lane and Sam comments, "I understand the chef in here makes a very nice Grand Marnier souffle", you can be sure it is Peter who is speaking from experience.

Sellers sings and dances and plays the uke, drawing upon a song taught to him by his father, as well as his belief that the great Victorian comedian Dan Leno was channeling through him to inhabit the role.

I love this movie above and beyond Being There, because here we see Sellers at a time when he was more in his prime physically, and the uplifting and endearing tale does not bear the urgency and more keenly felt inevitable sense of facing death that marked his later triumph. That it has taken so long for one of his finest performances to reach the American viewing public is a sad injustice finally rectified with this dvd release.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 21, 2008 6:02 PM BST


A Day At The Beach [DVD]
A Day At The Beach [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Sellers
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £14.96

9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It's no picnic and Ain't no sunshine, 15 Nov. 2007
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Day At The Beach [DVD] (DVD)
Coming from the completist mindset of a collector, I am thrilled that Odeon Entertainment has brought this film to light. As an enormous fan of Peter Sellers, I wouldn't have missed the opportunity to see this elusive and heretofore unobtainable piece of his work. His two minutes, if that, on screen with Graham Stark as a pair of poofs are delicious, and the highlight of the film, though he himself is never credited as Peter Sellers.

However, I find Odeon's tack in marketing and packaging this film an odd and incongruous one. It hardly measures up to their own definition of the genus in which they've included it. From the back cover:

The Best of British Collection
Odeon Entertainment is proud to release some of the forgotten classics from the Golden Age of British Cinema. Comedies, thrillers, murder mysteries and films that entertained the post-war generation will be available on DVD for the very first time.

I would argue that a "forgotten classic" is a movie that, first and foremost, had been previously released and then ostensibly forgotten. And it strikes me that 1970 is significantly stretching the bounds of "the Golden Age of British Cinema." Nor could a movie that has never been released have entertained the post-war generation. The only element of truth in Odeon's posturing is that it is released on DVD for the very first time.

It would have been truer to the scenario, in my mind, to put together a set of sought after and unreleased films, call it the Pandora's Boxset or some such. But a classic or the Best of British Cinema, this is not. Who are we kidding, though? Their goal is sales, not accuracy.

This is a really bleak story of a man (played by Mark Burns) who is a raging, hopeless alcoholic that has been left to mind his niece for "a day at the beach." Again from the back cover:
"But will her childish innocence and vulnerability awaken Bernie's instinct to survive, or will he surrender to his desire for self-destruction?"

The answer to this question is never in any doubt, and once the comic relief of Sellers' scene had passed, I found it tedious and painful to keep watching. There is nothing redeeming whatsoever about the character of Bernie, nothing to make us care about his wanton self absorption. A successful movie doesn't always have to be upbeat and happy-go-lucky: Leaving Las Vegas and Wonderland (the John Holmes story) are two that I think are brilliant treatments of a very bleak existence.

The value of A Day at the Beach lies solely in its rescue from oblivion, as an obscurity forever linked to the horrendous moment in Polanski's life that heretofore kept it from fruition. Sellers fans will find disappointment ONLY in the brevity of his screen time, as he never embraced his characters half heartedly, but Polanski's best work is best sought elsewhere.


Hoffman [DVD]
Hoffman [DVD]
Dvd ~ Peter Sellers

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soul-baring character study from the man who claimed he didn't know himself, 3 Oct. 2006
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Hoffman [DVD] (DVD)
Along with Being There, Dr. Strangelove, a rarity called The Optimists and Lolita, this ranks among Peter Sellers' finest dramatic performances. As the story unfolds, fans who know Sellers only as Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther films may wonder, even recoil, at his choice of this role. For, although Benjamin Hoffman is an ostensibly respected, successful businessman, at an emotional and personal level he is a desperate, devious and downright nasty guy who is blackmailing his secretary to spend a week in his bed. He hopes, anyway--and expects, for the purpose of a consummated union. As if the currency of his physical demands could satisfy his emotional bills.

Why, indeed, did Peter Sellers want us to care about this apparently despicable fellow? Why, as always, does he use humor to humanize and expose the vulnerability and sensitivity of this otherwise unlikable chap? Why does he want us to look deeper, to understand that beneath Hoffman's embittered surface lie hopes, dreams, a heart that was betrayed?

For years, Sellers claimed publicly that his own identity eluded him; that, if asked to play himself, he would not have the first idea how to do so. His choice of the role of Benjamin Hoffman is a resounding testament as close to an admission of self-perception as you're likely to find. I believe that he did recognize his own shortcomings, but he could only admit them to himself from the safe distance of a role.

In any case, this is a really beautiful performance from Sellers. How bold it must have been, by late 1960s standards, to portray with such depth the loneliness, desperation, borderline neurosis of a man facing middle age alone. The chemistry between Sellers and Sinead Cusack as the young and reluctant secretary is terrific. And as always, Sellers brings to bear his amazing insight into human frailty to make us laugh, to redeem this tortured soul, Hoffman.

If you're looking for a movie with something deeper than the technology-laden plots and superficially written characters we see all too often these days, have a look at this. The ending, albeit dreamily optimistic, is heartwarming and hopeful, and I think you'll find you do care about Hoffman.


The Life and Death of Peter Sellers [DVD] [2004]
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers [DVD] [2004]
Dvd ~ Geoffrey Rush
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £11.39

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Artistic License’ Sake Exclusively, 31 Jan. 2006
If the acronym in my title escapes you, let me state here definitively that I find the premise of this movie to be FALSE. Peter Sellers comes away from this depiction looking worse than Adolph Hitler (borne out by several of the reactions registered in reviews herein), and I think it’s all a lot of poppycock and balderdash!
I wonder how many viewers of this dazzlingly stylish film will bother to watch it with the audio commentary by Geoffrey Rush and director Hopkins, wherein they clearly admit that several of these “incidents” never actually occurred, but were done for artistic convenience, for example, to try to convey years of tension and tribulations in a moment’s time, as is the case in a scene where Sellers supposedly bashes Blake Edwards at a latter-day Panther premiere. Similarly, I have read Michael Sellers’ comments (his son) following the release of the film, and he stated that the bathroom/pill scene never happened.
I am not suggesting that Sellers was not a tremendously complicated, sometimes troubled, frequently difficult person. But the version of Sellers that is brought to life like a chimera here is not one that was arrived at with a sense of compassion, balance and realism. Imagine if your own life story were being told—and at every juncture, in every situation, you were depicted in the absolute worst light. Every negative magnified and every positive minimized. Such is the nature of the book upon which this movie is based. We all have moments and characteristics we aren’t proud of, but they do not define the totality of us as people. Peter Sellers’ totality was an incredibly complex one.
I have to give more weight to The Peter Sellers Story—As He Filmed It, a BBC Arena documentary (see dvd listing) which undoubtedly influenced the making of this film at least in concert with Roger Lewis’ snipey book. Surely Rush and Hopkins had access to the same bank of Sellers’ home movies in arriving at this skewed, if brilliant version, there can be no doubt. To me, the most poignant testimonial to Peter is from that documentary, the very first we hear, from Anne (Sellers) Levy, his first wife, who states: “I would think I probably laughed more with him than anybody I’ve known in my life…probably cried more, too.”
Despite the Sellers that is incarnated in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, I would still pay the price of admission to have shared the laughter of Richard Henry Sellers.
Evaluating this movie as a piece of artistry within the film genre, I greatly admire the performances, particularly of Geoffrey Rush, who somehow does evoke the spirit of Sellers. In terms of capturing the flavor and energy of the Sixties, the film is spot-on.
But if you come away from this wanting to dismiss Sellers as trivial and self-indulgent, you will miss out on a very uniquely gifted man. Go watch Dr. Strangelove, Hoffman, The Optimists, Being There. If you believe there is nothing at the core of this man, as an actor, he will truly have duped you.


The Peter Sellers Story: As He Filmed It [DVD]
The Peter Sellers Story: As He Filmed It [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jane Bywater

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes Virginia, there is a Peter Sellers, 1 Dec. 2005
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
For the avid Sellers fan, this is the jackpot--the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow.

This film claims to reveal the real Peter Sellers, and if in fact there was one, this is probably as close as you are ever going to get to seeing him in one sitting.

Though the title would suggest that Sellers left a cohesive, polished and ultimately revealing account of his own life, The Peter Sellers Story...As He Filmed It is a partial truth that definitely delivers on the last count. While it is not a finished film from Sellers per se, it is a collection of his home movies that have been edited together with voiceovers from many of those closest to him during his lifetime, including two of his four wives, his son Michael and daughters, Sarah and Victoria, Spike Milligan, Graham Stark, as well as the actor himself, George Harrison and others.

Peter pursued his life and career with an intensity matched by few, and while his interest in a given distraction could go from fire to ice in a heartbeat, his love of cameras and film was total and consuming. You could essentially say that he had his own camcorder--or the technological equivalent such as it existed at the time, his own film editing equipment--long before the rest of us were able to save our every milestone on a magnetic cassette tape.

So here we often get to see behind-the-scenes footage on the sets of Sellers' movies (I'm Alright, Jack, The Mouse That Roared, Casino Royale); sometimes we see polished little pieces that Sellers did edit and voiceover himself, like a mock car commercial with his young son; home movies with Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon; some interview footage from Peter's appearance on the Steve Allen show in 1964. There may be moments and clips here that, strictly speaking, were not actually filmed by Sellers or his agents, though they could have been (like the Steve Allen show). But certainly the majority of the visual imagery in this dvd is Peter's life, as he filmed it.

In addition to the voiceovers, the images are sometimes accompanied by Sellers' recorded musical material or his spontaneous ukulele improvisations, or a favorite song of his. Interestingly, the visual portion of Peter's life that is presented here is nearly the same as in the plot-line of the HBO biopic The Life and Death of Peter Sellers: To wit, picking up his life at roughly age 20-22 at the beginning of his radio days [ostensibly here, when he first acquired his 16mm camera]. Verbally, the comments from Spike Milligan and the first Mrs. Sellers, Anne Levy, speak to his earlier life, but make no mistake, this isn't a comprehensive biography and like the HBO film, it does not seek to examine the most formative years of Sellers' life. Still, it is an absorbing and intriguing journey: For a guy who didn't exist, he led a really fascinating life.

This dvd was initially released presumably in April 2004--and then yanked from shelves, allegedly for licensing issues between the BBC and Sellers' estate; if, like me, you believe what you read in online reviews. You can view that previous BBC release listing here on Amazon.co.uk, which shows an Aug. 2004 release date. Nevertheless, there was a BBC press memo indicating the release date as April 26, 2004. The hold-up in this PS Story...As He Filmed It reaching the light of day, coupled with the uncanny overlap between the events shown here (his wedding day to Britt Ekland, for example) and the ones the filmmakers chose to depict in the HBO film makes me wonder if they weren't trying to beat Peter to "his own version of his own life." Especially the timeline of the HBO film starring Geoffrey Rush--if you watch that film with the accompanying audio commentary by Rush and director Stephen Hopkins, they confirm that their initial vision was to begin the story as Peter suffered his first and most serious series of heart attacks in 1964. Yet the finished "Life and Death" has a timeline, starting with the Goons, that chose to parallel this film very, very closely. Inevitably, you might say---but I smell a rat here, not unlike Roger Lewis' book.

This newer release as of Oct. 2005 differs in content only by the addition in the bonus materials--the coveted addition--of The Running, Jumping and Standing Still film, an 11-minute, Academy Award nominated short that Sellers made with Richard Lester (who subsequently directed A Hard Day's Night). However, visually this version appears to have been brightened up relative to the earlier BBC disc, where the dark quality of those old home movies did limit visual detail.

Other bonuses include the highly entertaining TWA ads Sellers did, an unaired Irish interview in which Sellers, speaking quite candidly, appears very relaxed; PG Tips ad (English tea, you know, and a very funny voiceover) and another comedy short called I Say, I Say, I Say.

This bloke had more facets than the most intricate of diamonds, and this dvd takes a lupe to the subject matter from a most intimate perspective. Need I say, highly recommended?
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 29, 2008 8:06 PM BST


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