A fresh look at the remarkable artistry of Peter Sellers that includes clips, rare memorabilia and contemporary interviews with his co-stars, friends and family. DVD includes: Interactive Menus, Scene Access, Filmography,... more » Never Before Seen Television Int« less
"This is largely a cheesy 50 minute American documentary in the A+E Channel mode with plenty of Peter Sellers left unknown by the end for a sequel (no mention of two of the wives and no mention at all of the three kids). The comments from Shirley MacLaine and Sir David Frost are especially banal. Why interview the great David Lodge but never mention the film Two-Way Stretch? Harry Seacombe speaks at length but Spike Milligan isn't interviewed. Forget it. The BBC did a documentary a few years back on Sellers that was infinitely better (though it was biting). "The Unknown" clips shown are mostly, with one or two exceptions, perversely short, all while exclaiming how exciting it is to see these films that were long thought lost. A DVD of just A SHOW CALLED FRED would have been better appreciated. Note: It is the special features that almost save the day. The full commercials for Barclay and TWA are included (very funny) and there is a hacked-up television interview. Go out to Amazon.co.uk and buy the Goon show CDs first."
Peter Sellers reigns on!
Dimitris Verionis | Athens Greece | 08/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This release of this VHS/DVD is a true gift for Sellers' fans! We all know and love Peter Sellers from his biggest hits, like the Panthers, The Party, Dr.Strangelove and others, but this documentary brings to light a different, also fascinating work of the great actor and proves his influence in the world of comedy. So, this VHS/DVD succeeds in presenting some never seen before material or rarely seen or considered as "lost" stuff. One can see Sellers' first film days in segments from short films like "Let's Go Crazy"(1951), "The Super Secret Service"(1953), "Cold Comfort"(1957), all of them as rare as can be! What's more, there are segments from "A Carol For Another Christmas", the very first (TV)film Peter did after his dreadful health problem, in 1964: This film was also considered as lost! Also, it features his perfomances in "A Day At The Beach", "The Running, Jumping, Standing Still Film" and some extraordinary commercials he did for TWA and Barclays! Yet, there are many photos from his life, from his childhood to his very last months and photos from the alternative, "lost" ending of "Dr.Strangelove". Apart from some famous Clouseau scenes, there are also a few outtakes(hilarious!) and some recorded material from radio days(like the Goons and his first radio job ever, "New To you"!). The documentary also features interviews with Peter's friends, famous fans and colleagues such as David Lodge, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Palin, Harry Secombe, Richard Lester and others. Beautifully shot and edited, one screening of this nice documentary is never enough! I, myself, was delighted as a fan and very satisfied as a viewer! Let's hope this very ambitious documentary will lead to more Peter Sellers' films and rare material releases! Highly recommended!"
Beyond the Pink Panther
Michael J. Mazza | Pittsburgh, PA USA | 11/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Unknown Peter Sellers" is a fascinating documentary about the great comedic actor. This film is produced, written, and directed by John Scheinfeld and David Leaf. The filmmakers incorporate clips from Sellers' film and television work, as well as interviews with a number of individuals: biographer and film critic Alexander Walker, Sellers' "Being There" co-star Shirley MacLaine, Monty Python's Michael Palin, director Richard Lester, and more. MacLaine's memories of Sellers are particularly mesmerizing.
The documentary provides a general overview on the brilliant Seller's personal life and career. The film covers his family background, his extensive career in radio comedy, his television work, and the ups and downs of his career in theatrical films. We get insight into how Sellers developed the character of Inspector Clouseau, and learn what happened behind-the-scenes of his triple role in the classic "Dr. Strangelove." Also covered are Sellers' TV commercials and his artistic triumph in "Being There."
As the title indicates, this documentary emphasizes Sellers' lesser-known artistic achievements. The filmmakers cover television programs and films that I had never heard of, and include a sampling of clips from this remarkable body of "unknown" work. This material includes such oddities as a 1964 TV film, written by Rod Serling, entitled "Carol for Another Christmas." The narrator notes that this film aired once and "vanished"; included is a fascinating clip showing Sellers in character as a frighteningly intense cult leader.
The DVD includes some intriguing special features. I especially enjoyed Sellers' TV commercials for Barclay's Bank and TWA Airlines; in these ads the versatile Sellers gets to play some colorful characters, such as a hilarious Italian swinger. There is also a fun behind-the-scenes featurette about the making of the TWA ads. Another extra is an engrossing 1971 TV interview with Sellers. He talks about working on TV, the characters he portrayed in his radio career, and more. This interview offers a funny and touching view of Sellers; it's especially fun to watch him clowning and causing the interviewer to laugh. The DVD also includes a filmography of Sellers' work.
I have admired Sellers' work since I was a child, and this superb documentary left me admiring this great talent even more. He truly was a one-of-a-kind performing artist whose best work remains as entertaining and as relevant as ever. This documentary is the perfect companion to the award-winning biographical drama "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers," in which Geoffrey Rush brilliantly plays Sellers."
Looking for the Unknown Peter Sellers
Dimitris Verionis | Athens Greece | 06/19/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Peter Sellers was a man of great talents and an extensive filmography. He won the hearts of millions and his name will be remembered forever. Yet, a great proportion of his work has remained unknown, mostly from his "early years". This documentary succeeded in revealing a lot of this material and make us familiar with forgotten parts of Sellers' career. One can find here segments of the very first films of Sellers, the short "Let's Go Crazy" and the "Penny Points Of Paradise". Also, other short films, considered as lost until now, as "The Super Secret Service" and "Cold Comfort" appear. Sellers' participation in the 1964 Christmas special "A Carol For Another Christmas" is presented, along with the-possibly-rarest Sellers' film "A Day At The Beach". What's more, Sellers' reclames for TWA and Barclays are also presented. Match this with interviews of personalities such as David Lodge, Harry Secombe, Shirley MacLaine and others and you get a clear picture of the importance of this documentary for Sellers' fans and not only! A great deal of space is also given to Sellers' greatest film "Being There". I hope that this DVD (or VHS) will be the beginning of a series of new Peter Sellers releases, including the films (which we saw here)in their entirety! A big "BRAVO" for the producers !!!"
A fascinatingly complex human being of unrecognized skill
L. Camuti | Oxnard, CA United States | 04/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It would seem the aim of The Unknown Peter Sellers is to give a very broad overview of Sellers' career and to reveal both his versatility and a range of work that the average fan is unaware of. In this, it is most successful and very definitely NOT A WASTE of time. True, there are lots of snippets and fleeting images, and as a strict biography--it clearly is not--it leaves out major pieces of the puzzle (his first and third wives, among them). But as the only comprehensive look at Sellers' career available in U.S. dvd release, it is required viewing for the serious Sellers fan, and an enjoyable and impressive summary for newcomers to his work. There are rarities here I've not found elsewhere thus far...like the breathtaking scene from "Carol for Another Christmas," the first project Peter did (with Rod Serling) following his massive heart attack in 1964; early photos of Peter as a young lad and a teenager, scenes from "The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film," Sellers' weekend hobby shoot that nearly won him an Academy Award.
Many of the source interviews used here (David Frost, Shirley MacLaine, Michael Palin) also appear, in different edits, on the recent 40th Anniversary edition of Dr. Strangelove in a piece called Best Sellers or Peter Sellers and Dr. Strangelove, but the Strangelove featurette includes interviews from Roger Ebert, Spike Lee and James Harris, Kubrick's business partner, as well as a split-screen interview with Sellers in character as President Merkin Muffley; and as one would expect, it focuses more specifically on that film. The BBC dvd mentioned by one reviewer, which is actually called "The Peter Sellers Story...As He Filmed It" is indeed the crown jewel of the lot, and was just reissued as of Oct. 2005. See the Amazon.co.uk site for it. As a biography of Peters' life, it is a more complete telling than The Unknown ...Sellers, and uses exclusive imagery from Sellers' own home movies, including a trip to Disneyland with George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, clowning around with his royal pals Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, as well as voiceovers from Sellers' various wives. The 1971 interview that comes on Unknown was for Irish television, and has indeed been edited as it appears here...it appears more complete with the interviewer's questions and responses on the BBC disc (even with Sellers, very sweetly, saying "Bless you" to a crew member who sneezes off-camera), along with the TWA commercials. Though the three overlap to some extent, The Unknown Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove 40th anniv. Edition and The PS Story...As He Filmed It all contain items unique to themselves. The BBC disc is really for diehard fans. I highly recommend this one as a great synopsis of this extraordinary man's career. "