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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

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Reviews: 132 user | 61 critic

The feature adaptation of Roger Lewis' book about the actor best remembered as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.

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(book), (teleplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Anne Sellers
...
...
Peg Sellers
...
Bill Sellers
...
...
...
...
Dennis Selinger
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Casting Agent
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Ted Levy
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Dr. Lyle Wexler
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Spike Milligan (as Edward Tudor Pole)
...
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Storyline

The professional and personal life of actor and comedian Peter Sellers was a turbulent one. His early movie fame was based primarily on his comic characterizations, often of bumbling and foreign-accented persons, characters which he embodied. As his movie fame rose, he began to lose his own personal identity to his movie characters, leading to self-doubt of himself as a person and a constant need for reassurance and acceptance of his work. This self-doubt manifested itself in fits of anger and what was deemed as arrogance by many. In turn, his personal relationships began to deteriorate as his characterizations were continually used to mask his problems. His first wife, Anne Howe, left/divorced him and his relationships with his parents and children became increasingly distant. His relationship with his second wife, Swedish actress Britt Ekland, was based on this mask. In his later life, he tried to rediscover himself and his career with what would become his penultimate film role, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

actor | death | clouseau | fame | peter sellers | See more »

Taglines:

I love me...I love me not. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

1 October 2004 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A Vida e Morte de Peter Sellers  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£125,748 (UK) (1 October 2004)

Gross:

£259,663 (UK) (8 October 2004)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The cartoon character of Peter Sellers in the opening animated title sequence went through over 40 changes until the final character was settled upon. The character was based on Geoffrey Rush's performance/performances of Sellers and was created by Irish animator Paul Donnellon of VooDooDog. See more »

Goofs

When Sellers' father is in the hospital, his oxygen mask is initially on upside down. In subsequent shots, the mask is right side up. See more »

Quotes

[At the screening of the finished film of The Pink Panther]
Blake Edwards: I'm not supposed to tell you but United Artists already wants a Clouseau sequel.
Peter Sellers: Who's directing?
Blake Edwards: Oh, probably some hack.
Peter Sellers: I'm dead fucking serious.
Blake Edwards: Peter, relax.
Peter Sellers: You're not suggesting you would?
Blake Edwards: What are you talking about?
Peter Sellers: I was bloody awful up there. If that's what you're going to get out of me, I don't think I want to repeat the experience.
Blake Edwards: You're blaming me for your performance?
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The frame freezes and the end credits start. After some informations about the last part of life of Peter Sellers have scrolled up the screen, the credits stop and the camera suddenly pulls back, revealing Geoffrey Rush watching the end titles sitting in front of a monitor on a studio set. He turns toward the camera, waves, gets up, leaves the set and walks to a trailer. The camera tries to follow him inside, but he turns and says "You can't come in here". The door closes, and the camera zooms in on the sign with the name "Peter Sellers". The film again fades to black and we see the rest of the end credits. See more »

Connections

References What's New Pussycat (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

The Blue Danube Waltz
Written by Johann Strauß
Performed by The London Metropolitan Orchestra
Arranged and conducted by James Seymour Brett
Heard during fantasy sequence
See more »

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User Reviews

The Eyes Had It
8 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For anyone interested in Peter Sellers life and work, this film is certainly worth watching, if for nothing more than the incredible re-creations of scenes from Sellers' films. Geoffrey Rush is transformed into a nearly dead-ringer for Sellers, through the magic of make up and prosthetics. But as talented as he may be, no one can recreate the subtleties of the master, especially the use of his eyes…Sellers' eyes were by far the funniest aspect of his physicality: narrowing, widening, always moving, punctuating his actions and illuminating the emotions within, even as part of the most farcical of performances.

Such a rich and varied life would lend itself to a miniseries but of course it would be a copout to suggest that at least a glimmer into the life of a man couldn't be done successfully within two hours. What this movie drove home for me was how terribly short the human lifespan really is, and how little time we have to truly discover ourselves and come to terms with our own frailties. I felt that the basis of Sellers unhappiness, which manifested itself in inexcusable cruelty to his family, friends and co-workers, was a direct result of his childhood, which was never really addressed in this film. It was, in his own words to Michael Parkinson, not a very happy time in his life. Growing up in the theater circuit, being in the company of boozy and abusive 'theatricals', and being raised by a domineering mother and what I gather was a rather passive and emotionally unavailable father set the stage for a man who obviously felt deprived of the things that give us self-esteem and confidence. No one in his adult life could give him the things he should've received from his parents as a child, and he took out that frustration on those closest to him.

Also interesting were the glimpses of his fellow Goons (Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe) at various chapters in his life-in the church at his mother's funeral, in the crowd at the premiere of 'The Pink Panther'. They represented what he considered the happiest time of his life and they were a constant presence, flitting in an out of his life at key moments in the film, like the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Interesting also in how one decision, in this case his delusional infatuation with Sophia Loren, set in motion a series of dovetailing mistakes in his life, which took him further and further away from a relatively healthy existence. He had twenty years more to live and it turned out to be not enough time to turn things around.


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