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Peter Seller's earliest roles

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stuart.uk
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Peter Seller's earliest roles

Postby stuart.uk » February 1st, 2008, 2:33 pm

Peter Sellers first became a star in the UK with the hugely popular radio show The Goons with Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and it the early yrs Michael Bentine. it was mostly written by Spike, who was clearly influenced by The Marx Brothers, but he in turn was with the show a big influence on Monty Python. most of the shows had Harry as the idiot hero with Peter and Spike playing an assortment of different characters with Sellers in particulary showing his great talent as a mimic and Impressionist.

The four Goons did a movie Down Among The Z Men. it wasn't very good and its sad that a decent movie of them working together was never made. they were so popular that in the 70s after Sellers became a major movie star they reunited for a one off show. in the 70s to one of their songs Ying Tong Ying Tong was reissued and became a big hit record in the UK. Peter as we all know became a major film star. Spike went onto be described as the biggest influence on British post war comedy and Harry learned to sing and became a great all round entertainer, playing Mr. Bumble in the film Oliver.

Peters earliest films include The Lady Killers with Alec Guiness, The
Miiloniaress with Sophia Loren, The Smallest Show On Earth where he plays an elderly projectionist working in a broken down cinema and The Battle Of The Sexes where he trys comically to murder his lady boss.

The film however, that made Sellers a major British star was I'm All Right Jack as union shop steward Fred Kite

he then did two splendid comedies with Bernard Cribbons and Lionel Jeffries. they were Two Way Stretch, a film about 3 prisoners who escape, do a robbery and break back into jail again and The Wrong Arm Of The Law. my own favourite Sellers film is Only Two can Play where he plays an ambitious married Welsh librarian with itchie feet as regards a rich powerful woman he comes into contact with

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Postby MikeBSG » February 2nd, 2008, 10:20 am

"Two Way Stretch" is okay. "Wrong Arm of the Law" is hillarious. It is a wonderful send-up of the caper film genre. Both are available from Netflix.

Sellers doesn't have much of a role in "Carlton-Browne of the F. O." but that is a very funny movie from the early Sixties.

"The Smallest Show on Earth" is charming and funny. Sellers is incredible as the old (ancient) projectionist. It is hard to believe that he was actually as young as he was when he made it.

"Heavens Above" is another terrific film with a great Sellers performance as an Anglican clergyman.

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Postby Ollie » February 2nd, 2008, 12:13 pm

Thanks for bringing these names up. These are some of my favorite Sellers films.

Do you split Peter Seller's work into Early, Middle and Late Periods?

Is his "middle period" the later 60s' work like HENRY ORIENT? I don't know how I'd even toss in the PINK PANTHER series - I think I'd consider them separate.

SMALLEST SHOW is a favorite because of Sellers' good performance and Margaret Rutherford.

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Postby stuart.uk » February 2nd, 2008, 1:13 pm

Two Way Stretch is possibly intersting for this reason. in the 70s in the UK we had a tv series called Porridge which may have been inspired by the film. Porridge was so popular it was made into a more or less classic comedy film itself, which i don't think is known in America. It stared Ronnie Barker as Fletcher an experienced jailbird, Richard, father of Kate, Beckinsale as Lenny Godbar and Fulton Mackay as the cheif prison officer. in the film Peter Vaughan plays a gangland boss that runs the prison, it's the role he seems best remembered for

klondike

Postby klondike » February 2nd, 2008, 1:58 pm

Speaking of his "middle period", although I'm often hotly contested on the subject, I still insist that The Magic Christian, although admittedly a frustratingly uneven over-the-top outing, showcases many scenarios of Sellers' black-comic genius that are nearly blinding in hilarity.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Seriously . . . after the first time, I've never seen it without carefully emptying my bladder first! 8)

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Postby Dawtrina » February 8th, 2008, 12:59 am

The Magic Christian is now firmly on my must-see list. I hadn't even heard of it...

I remember Heavens Above as being hilarious, and even more interesting to me because one of our local priests was the spitting image of Sellers.

Beyond Dr Strangelove, my favourite Sellers is probably The Mouse That Roared, another film in which he played three roles including the Duchess of Grand Fenwick, the smallest country in continental Europe. The story has to do with them invading the US because they work out the best way to get money is to start a war and lose, and then having to deal with the fact that they accidentally win. The sequel was fun in its own right but the original was awesome.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » February 8th, 2008, 10:02 am

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: my favorite Sellers performance is as the British RAF adjutant officer at the beginning of Strangelove. His barely supressed panic as he realizes that General Ripper is insane is an amazingly subtle piece of acting for the Sellers of this period. Of course, the fabulous performances of Sterling Hayden and Keenan Wynn in that section don't hurt.

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Postby movieman1957 » February 8th, 2008, 11:07 am

klondike wrote:Speaking of his "middle period", although I'm often hotly contested on the subject, I still insist that The Magic Christian, although admittedly a frustratingly uneven over-the-top outing, showcases many scenarios of Sellers' black-comic genius that are nearly blinding in hilarity.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Seriously . . . after the first time, I've never seen it without carefully emptying my bladder first! 8)


I only ever knew of it because Ringo was in it. I saw it but I don't remember anything about it.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » February 8th, 2008, 12:04 pm

movieman1957 wrote:
klondike wrote:Speaking of his "middle period", although I'm often hotly contested on the subject, I still insist that The Magic Christian, although admittedly a frustratingly uneven over-the-top outing, showcases many scenarios of Sellers' black-comic genius that are nearly blinding in hilarity.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
Seriously . . . after the first time, I've never seen it without carefully emptying my bladder first! 8)


I only ever knew of it because Ringo was in it. I saw it but I don't remember anything about it.


Yeah - this was a semi-good one. I've seen it only once, during its original run, but I did like it, although I found it more than a little over the top in places - a style that was common in the 60s and early 70s. Sellers was very good as the suave upper class dude who set out to prove that anyone will do anything for money. Ringo was very deadpan cute as his adopted son (formerly a hobo). It struck me funny the way Ringo called the not that much older Sellers "Dad" in perfect earnestness.

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Re: Peter Seller's earliest roles

Postby Rita Hayworth » February 26th, 2011, 7:35 pm

My favorite movies of Peter Sellers - in no particular order are:

All the Pink Panthers movies - except the last one - its lost its touch
Shot in the Dark
Being There
The Ladykillers
Magic Christian, and
many, many, others.

But, Number One in my heart - Dr. Strangelove - I love the dark humor, great cast, suspenseful story line, the photography, and the diabolical aspect of Nuclear War ... He played three roles in this movie - he was SIMPLY amazing of how he managed to keep everything in check. I consider this his greatest work. I have it on DVD and I consider it one of Hollywood's funniest films ever made ... I would rate it in the top 25, or top 50 ... easily of all times.

Dr. Strangelove is Peter Sellers greatest performance - BAR NONE.


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