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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers [DVD] [2004]

4.1 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Geoffrey Rush, Charlize Theron, Emily Watson, John Lithgow, Miriam Margolyes
  • Directors: Stephen Hopkins
  • Format: PAL, Dolby, Digital Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: 18 April 2005
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007IK5YQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,202 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product Description

Feature adaptation of Roger Lewis' book about the actor best remembered for playing Inspector Clousseau in the Pink Panther movies, offering a glimpse into the many faces of Peter Sellers (Geoffrey Rush) to reveal how the comic genius teetered on the edge of insanity. The film traces the British actor's turbulent rise from the popular BBC radio presenter on 'The Goon Show' to one of the world's best-loved comic actors. As his career progresses, Sellers' private torment about his failure to reconcile his relations with women, celebrity and his many selves is divulged, as is his desperately low self-esteem despite critical acclaim and professional success. A searching look behind the mask of a comedy icon, through his rapid rise to fame, through his four marriages and several affairs.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By @GeekZilla9000 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Sept. 2009
Format: DVD
The films starts with a public Goon show studio recording - and why not? It seems the perfect place to start!

We are given a glimpse of Sellar's home life, his strong relationship with his mother and his frustration at receiving so many rejections from the film industry. But after a cheeky stroke of audition genius and a quick montage, we are presented with Peter Sellers the successful British Academy award winning actor.

He is charmingly delusional, but this leads him to show a cold insensitivity towards his family. He doesn't seem to know or even care that he is hurting his wife and children, he's like a child living in his own world where he is at the centre of his own universe. When you see that he really does seem like a child then you start to understand where all the silly voices come from, it also explains why he is still very much attached to his mother's apron strings. Instead of looking at him as a cruel man, you view him as someone who struggles to understand the complexities of adult relationships, he just knows what he wants and sets out to get it - and being eminently charming and something of a national treasure, he tends to get it.

Geoffrey Rush convinces as Sellers, he has incorporated many of Sellers' characteristics into his performance, little nuances and expressions that capture the man. He certainly sounds like Sellers and the make up gives his profile an eerily Sellers' like appearance. Rush plays Sellars over a period of three decades and grows into the role, as his Seller's ages he looks more like him.
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Format: DVD
Geoffrey Rush will no doubt win every award available to him in this bravura performance for this BBC/HBO production. Based on the rather tabloid-sleaze biography by Roger Lewis, it presents a portrait of a demented, self-obsessed man who hurts everyone he comes in contact with. Taking into consideration the final facts stated in the film (he left his children $ 2,000.00 apiece) there is probably more truth than one would care to believe in this account of Peter Sellers, which starts with his appearances on The Goon Show, shows his twisted relationship with his mother, the women he abused in various ways, his difficult behavior on the movie sets, and ends during the time of "Being There", the award-winning 1979 film about a gardener who becomes a politician.
Geoffrey Rush is phenomenal as Sellers; and I especially like the scenes when he becomes his mother, as well as Blake Edwards. Rush is made to look somewhat like Sellers, but it is the body language and the verbal inflection that makes this portrayal so convincing.
Others in the cast are also excellent: Miriam Margoyles as his mother, Emily Watson as wife # 1, Charlize Theron as Britt Ekland, Stanley Tucci as Stanley Kubrick, Stephen Fry amusing as celebrity psychic Maurice Woodruff, and the very underrated John Lithgow once again terrific as Blake Edwards. Sonia Aquino is impressive in the small part of Sophia Loren.
The direction by Stephen Hopkins is stylish and well-paced, and the score by Richard Hartley is peppered with Tom Jones singing "It's Not Unusual", and other songs that fit into the timeline from The Animals, The Kinks, and more.
A way above average Cable TV production, it's a riveting look at a great talent gone wrong, and a "must see" for Rush's performance alone. Total running time is 122 minutes.
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Format: DVD
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.
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