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June 16, 2024, 04:45:06 AM

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What if Peter Sellers hadn't died in 1980?

Started by Ballad of Ballard Berkley, April 14, 2020, 02:20:42 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

Fabian Thomsett

Actually he would have taken all of Jack Nicholson's parts including The Joker.

Autopsy Turvey

Quote from: Brundle-Fly on April 16, 2020, 12:48:42 PM
I've often wondered how moments in the later Clouseau films fared in France. The 'strange pronunciation of English words in a silly Gallic accent' gag, subtitled or dubbed, must have been either baffling or really irksome for a French audience.

I dunno, the idea of an English character played by a Frenchman, who strangely pronounces French words in a silly English accent, sounds like a lot of fun!

Perhaps there would have been a Mark Lawson interview where Sellers storms out, storms back in again, spits in his face and kicks him in the balls, then storms out again. It would be remembered as one of his, and indeed the, greatest TV moments.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

#62
Quote from: Autopsy Turvey on April 16, 2020, 01:56:36 PM
Perhaps there would have been a Mark Lawson interview where Sellers storms out, storms back in again, spits in his face and kicks him in the balls, then storms out again. It would be remembered as one of his, and indeed the, greatest TV moments.

Peter Sellers was a notoriously selfish man, but his most unforgivable act of selfishness was carking it in 1980 and denying us that imaginary encounter.

Rik and Ade were presumably fans of Sellers. I'd be surprised if they weren't, and I reckon he would've admired them too. Milligan wasn't a fan, the cantankerous old bugger, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to imagine Sellers laughing at The Young Ones. Peter Cook was great in Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, but Sellers could've played that part too.

Or, as has been pointed out, was Sellers too egotistical to play second fiddle to younger comedians? Cook didn't give a shit, but Sellers was a STAR. Then again, if he was on his uppers in the '80s, maybe he'd welcome the reflected glory of collaborating with the cool kids?

And he'd probably up his game if he had to share the screen with someone as brilliant and charismatic as Rik.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: Fabian Thomsett on April 16, 2020, 01:28:05 PM
A lot of nothing-y 80s Hollywood comedies then a career revival after playing a cantankerous grandad in a Wes Anderson film.

A Best Actor BAFTA in the '90s for playing an elderly working-class man with dementia in an uncompromising Jimmy McGovern drama. Sellers' character is Fred Kite in all but name, a former trade union leader whose fragile condition symbolises the devastating effects of Thatcherism.

poodlefaker

Could very well have been a Tory though. Thatcher would have "made sense" to him as she did to Kenneth Williams, Philip Larkin - similar solipsists. He'd be great mates with the Royals too.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

He was already great mates with Princess Margaret. A Tory? Well, you'd hope not, but I can't imagine Peter Sellers having any consistent political beliefs. He'd vote for whoever charlatan extraordinaire Maurice Woodruff told him to vote for.

He wouldn't be pro-Brexit, though, as that might impede access to his many luxury homes in continental Europe.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: poodlefaker on April 16, 2020, 03:24:53 PM
Could very well have been a Tory though. Thatcher would have "made sense" to him as she did to Kenneth Williams, Philip Larkin - similar solipsists. He'd be great mates with the Royals too.

As BoBB says, he was good mates with Princess Margaret - also, he was something of a court jester according the Lewis biography and various accounts say he was besotted by the royal family. In Craig Brown's biography about Margaret, it's claimed that she dropped Sellers due to the level of his erratic, volatile behaviour. Brown relates the tale of Sellers giving a pony (his daughter's) to Margaret's children (IIRC, some tellings it was to her) as a gift.

re: Williams - his politics was more of a case as someone who is left-wing in his youth and moves towards the right as they got older. The infamous (well, one of them) appearances On Parkinson arguing about politics is from the early 1970s isn't a bad example.

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on April 16, 2020, 02:28:04 PM
Peter Sellers was a notoriously selfish man, but his most unforgivable act of selfishness was carking it in 1980 and denying us that imaginary encounter.

Rik and Ade were presumably fans of Sellers. I'd be surprised if they weren't, and I reckon he would've admired them too. Milligan wasn't a fan, the cantankerous old bugger, but I don't think it's much of a stretch to imagine Sellers laughing at The Young Ones. Peter Cook was great in Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, but Sellers could've played that part too.

Or, as has been pointed out, was Sellers too egotistical to play second fiddle to younger comedians? Cook didn't give a shit, but Sellers was a STAR. Then again, if he was on his uppers in the '80s, maybe he'd welcome the reflected glory of collaborating with the cool kids?

And he'd probably up his game if he had to share the screen with someone as brilliant and charismatic as Rik.

It'd maybe depend on whether he liked them or not. If he did like someone, or was a mate of theirs, he'd do television with them, like on Sykes, where he had a guest appearance in one episode, and there was a thing on TV with John Wells and John Bird in 1976 called 'The End Of The Pier Show', very low budget, where they apparently just rang him and asked if he'd like to do a sketch, as Hitler, with Percy Edwards - the bird impersonator - and he agreed and did it for virtually nothing. And of course the reason he got onto 'Not Only But Also' was because he'd enjoyed watching it so much that he got in touch and asked if he could be in an episode.

There has, by the way, been at least one other biography of him since Lewis's, 'Mr Strangelove' by Ed Sikov, published 2002, which is much more sympathetic to him.

poodlefaker

Lewis's book about Charles Hawtrey is a bit better than his Sellers one.  I finished it, at least, but it's only about 100 pages long, iirc.

Satchmo Distel

I could imagine Sellers playing 'Walter' in 1982; or 'The Singing Detective' in 1986.

chveik

wouldn't have mind a few more Clouseau films tbh. dunno why because it's not usually my type of thing but I am a big fan of Blake Edwards' broad humour (I even rate highly some of his late comedies that most people seem to despise)

Ignatius_S

Alexander Walker taking about Sellers relationship with Kubrick - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sg6hJTK61nU - short and worth a watch.

Quote from: Jake Thingray on April 15, 2020, 11:23:56 PM
A fellow I used to know, around the time of the HBO biopic with Geoffrey Rush, opined that a more accurate adaptation would have been Lewis shouting "Me! Me! Me!" into a camcorder for three hours

Only three hours? That's being charitable!

Quote from: Alternative Carpark on April 16, 2020, 06:36:36 PM
It'd maybe depend on whether he liked them or not. If he did like someone, or was a mate of theirs, he'd do television with them, like on Sykes, where he had a guest appearance in one episode, and there was a thing on TV with John Wells and John Bird in 1976 called 'The End Of The Pier Show', very low budget, where they apparently just rang him and asked if he'd like to do a sketch, as Hitler, with Percy Edwards - the bird impersonator - and he agreed and did it for virtually nothing. And of course the reason he got onto 'Not Only But Also' was because he'd enjoyed watching it so much that he got in touch and asked if he could be in an episode.

There has, by the way, been at least one other biography of him since Lewis's, 'Mr Strangelove' by Ed Sikov, published 2002, which is much more sympathetic to him.

Although Eric Sykes was an old mate, Sellers was appearing on revival of a hugely popular and guaranteed a warm reception during a pretty dodgy career period.The same can't be said when  appeared on NOBA but guest spot on a big show with two stars who were on fire, isn't a bad thing to associated with - director Joe McGrath was a mate as well.

That isn't to say his motives were self-serving, but the appearances were good things to be associated - and that could be why something like the Comic Strip might appeal. Or for reasons more like The End of The Show.

Have been meaning to pick up that biography.

Slight tangent but someone uploaded Sykes recently to YouTube and if anyone wants their memory refreshed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFkP_UJcONc

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on April 16, 2020, 02:28:04 PM... Or, as has been pointed out, was Sellers too egotistical to play second fiddle to younger comedians? Cook didn't give a shit, but Sellers was a STAR. Then again, if he was on his uppers in the '80s, maybe he'd welcome the reflected glory of collaborating with the cool kids?

My gut feeling is that Sellers could be a very generous performer but in any case, if he was on The Comic Strip it would have been undoubtedly, a very special guest star, rather than a second fiddle.

Quote from: poodlefaker on April 16, 2020, 06:50:28 PM
Lewis's book about Charles Hawtrey is a bit better than his Sellers one.  I finished it, at least, but it's only about 100 pages long, iirc.

Indeed. I only skimmed through a copy in a remainder bookshop but felt like the of thing that could be tossed out over an afternoon.

non capisco

Quote from: Satchmo Distel on April 16, 2020, 08:00:14 PM
I could imagine Sellers playing 'Walter' in 1982

I could also imagine him insisting on playing the cackling paraplegic bloke who wanks Walter off.

George White

#73
Quote from: poodlefaker on April 14, 2020, 12:46:18 PM
Mid-80s US sitcom vehicle w/horrible knitwear; cancelled after one season.
Called simply Peter.

Where he plays a university professor or an ex butler.

Quote from: poodlefaker on April 16, 2020, 06:50:28 PM
Lewis's book about Charles Hawtrey is a bit better than his Sellers one.  I finished it, at least, but it's only about 100 pages long, iirc.
Yes, I felt I had to read it as a big fan of Hawtrey, but having (not quite) read the Sellers one it was a great relief to see how slender Private Widdle was.

Ant Farm Keyboard

Quote from: Brundle-Fly on April 16, 2020, 12:48:42 PM
I've often wondered how moments in the later Clouseau films fared in France. The 'strange pronunciation of English words in a silly Gallic accent' gag, subtitled or dubbed, must have been either baffling or really irksome for a French audience.

Sellers' French voice was usually comedian Michel Roux, who was also good at exaggerated accents (The Party, Murder by Death). For Clouseau, there was a bit of transposition. He would keep a regular French voice, with the character trying to sound sophisticated, which resulted in a pompous phrases featuring many malapropisms. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the material was ad libbed, as Roux' main gig was playing boulevard theatre, aka French farces.

Roux was also the usual French voice for Tony Curtis, Curtis being actually quite impressed by his performance. I'd say that Roux' interplay with Claude Bertrand (who dubbed Roger Moore) is a big part, along with the main theme by John Barry, of why The Persuaders has remained so much popular in France. He also dubbed Jack Lemmon, or Alec Guinness, in particular for Kind Hearts and Coronets, which was not an easy task.

Ignatius_S

In The Magic Christian thread, I posted excerpts from a Terry Southern interview.

As there's a fair bit about Sellers, thought it might of relevance here: http://www.altx.com/interviews/terry.southern.html

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Heads up! BBC Two are showing a new Sellers documentary on Saturday 9th May. Sounds promising.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2020/bbc-arts-peter-sellers



Jake Thingray

Was toying with saying this earlier in the thread, when the possibility of Sellers voting for Brexit or supporting the Tories was mentioned, which due to his being another major British film star got me thinking of Michael bleedin' Caine, so to speed things up -- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels would have been more bearable (to me, anyway) with Sellers in Caine's role.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: Jake Thingray on May 04, 2020, 07:39:16 PM
Was toying with saying this earlier in the thread, when the possibility of Sellers voting for Brexit or supporting the Tories was mentioned, which due to his being another major British film star got me thinking of Michael bleedin' Caine, so to speed things up -- Dirty Rotten Scoundrels would have been more bearable (to me, anyway) with Sellers in Caine's role.

Excellent shout, Jake. I thought Caine was fine in that role, but Sellers and Steve Martin together on screen is a tantalising prospect.

Quote from: Ignatius_S on May 04, 2020, 06:39:07 PM
Britt Ekland interview publicising the documentary: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/may/03/britt-ekland-on-peter-sellers-he-was-a-very-tormented-soul

Ta for that, Ignatius. Much like the director of this new documentary, I'm not a qualified mental health expert either, but I think Ekland makes a plausible case for Sellers being bipolar.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Did anyone watch this? I thought it was quite good if a tad peculiar; it felt like an edited version of a much longer documentary.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000j4c1/peter-sellers-a-state-of-comic-ecstasy

The bookends with the hipster grandson, while poignant, accentuated the lack of throughline. They didn't really fit in with the rest of the programme. If you're trying to make the point that Sellers was essentially unknowable, interviewing a kid who literally never knew him isn't an effective way of illustrating that.

And what on earth was that post-Strangelove caption all about? It basically stated that Sellers never delivered another acclaimed performance until Being There, fifteen years later. Total nonsense. Yes, he made loads of crap after Strangelove, but the programme would have you believe that he was a spent creative force for over a decade.

I appreciate that you can't include everything in a documentary of this nature, but it would've been quite nice - and more honest - if they'd mentioned the likes of The Optimists of Nine Elms. Weird, too, that Clouseau was covered in about 30 seconds. No mention of The Party either.

Ach, it wasn't bad. Just a bit piecemeal and misleading.

Danger Man

The Party is great.

My dad, an Indian from India, loved that film but in today's world it's problem-fucking-matic.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

Quote from: Danger Man on May 10, 2020, 10:44:37 PM
The Party is great.

My dad, an Indian from India, loved that film but in today's world it's problem-fucking-matic.

Funnily enough, Hanif Kureishi turned up in the documentary to say that he and his parents loved watching Sellers in The Millionairess and The Party because he was a rare representation of Asian characters in popular culture at that time.

Kureishi is, of course, aware of the irony of this, but I thought that was an interesting take.

LORD BAD VIBE

Haven't seen the new documentary yet but I doubt it will top the Arena special from 1995. It's in three parts and on YouTube.

Part 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riFzPaR8P9o
Part 2 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prfquKjQwZg
Part 3 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZaHz51srEA

the science eel

Quote from: Ballad of Ballard Berkley on May 10, 2020, 10:41:39 PM
Did anyone watch this? I thought it was quite good if a tad peculiar; it felt like an edited version of a much longer documentary.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000j4c1/peter-sellers-a-state-of-comic-ecstasy

The bookends with the hipster grandson, while poignant, accentuated the lack of throughline. They didn't really fit in with the rest of the programme. If you're trying to make the point that Sellers was essentially unknowable, interviewing a kid who literally never knew him isn't an effective way of illustrating that.

And what on earth was that post-Strangelove caption all about? It basically stated that Sellers never delivered another acclaimed performance until Being There, fifteen years later. Total nonsense. Yes, he made loads of crap after Strangelove, but the programme would have you believe that he was a spent creative force for over a decade.

I appreciate that you can't include everything in a documentary of this nature, but it would've been quite nice - and more honest - if they'd mentioned the likes of The Optimists of Nine Elms. Weird, too, that Clouseau was covered in about 30 seconds. No mention of The Party either.

Ach, it wasn't bad. Just a bit piecemeal and misleading.


I enjoyed it, but I did sort of agree with the fifteen-years-of-nothing-great assessment. Not right to state it on-screen so categorically, I suppose, but I looked at his filmography later and he really didn't do anything that was critically acclaimed during that whole period (obviously the Pink Panther films were a huge popular success). I really enjoy some of those late 60s/early 70s films (I Love You Alice B Toklas, The Magic Christian, There's A Girl In My Soup) but you won't find any film guide giving them four stars.

Maybe the hipster grandson was used to bring Sellers up to date in some way, rather than just having these very old people talking about his legacy again (I'm trying to see a reason here! I didn't think he helped the doc at all).

What did you make of the Lynne Frederick story? They made her out to be a monster but her wiki would have you believe she was just trying to do the right thing, faced with all kinds of personal and legal challenges (as you might expect).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynne_Frederick


Shaky

#87
I have to stand up for the inclusion of Sellers' grandson. I thought his bits didn't detract, and it was nice to see another generation represented even if he didn't have that much to say until the end. My memory of previous docs is that Michael Sellers loomed fairly large so it was sort of fitting to see Michael's son and get even a whiff of the passage of time. Gave things some framing even if we didn't learn much new stuff there.

Overall, it was a decent documentary but I find Sellers' story more and more depressing the older I get. Britt Ekland came across really well, as always.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

I don't think Britt Ekland was very respectful of Peter Sellers in that interview she gave. I mean, she seemed quite lippy.

Bad Ambassador

Will Sellers did give access to documents, which was interesting, and the perspective of PS being his grandfather but knowing nothing about him other than his films. He was also credited as co-producer.

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