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The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004)

Not Rated | | Biography, Comedy, Drama | 1 October 2004 (UK)
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The feature adaptation of Roger Lewis' book about the actor best remembered as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.

Director:

Stephen Hopkins

Writers:

Roger Lewis (book), Christopher Markus (teleplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Golden Globes. Another 29 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Geoffrey Rush ... Peter Sellers
Charlize Theron ... Britt Ekland
Emily Watson ... Anne Sellers
John Lithgow ... Blake Edwards
Miriam Margolyes ... Peg Sellers
Peter Vaughan ... Bill Sellers
Sonia Aquino ... Sophia Loren
Stanley Tucci ... Stanley Kubrick
Stephen Fry ... Maurice Woodruff
Henry Goodman ... Dennis Selinger
Alison Steadman ... Casting Agent
Peter Gevisser ... Ted Levy
David Robb ... Dr. Lyle Wexler
Edward Tudor-Pole ... Spike Milligan (as Edward Tudor Pole)
Steve Pemberton ... Harry Secombe
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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

Taglines:

I love me...I love me not. See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 October 2004 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Moi, Peter Sellers See more »

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Box Office

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the scenes featuring Emilia Fox's performance as Peter Sellers' fourth wife Lynne Frederick were left out of the final cut, Fox is still visible in the background of the scene showing the filming of a scene from Being There (1979). She is the blonde woman standing behind the cameraman and crew behind Peter Sellers (Geoffrey Rush). In a deleted scene on the DVD, there is a continuation of this scene. After the take is over, Lynne tries to talk to Sellers, but he remains in character as the simpleton Chance. See more »

Goofs

When they are filming the scene in the war room in _Dr. Strangelove (1962)_ (q), you can see that the table is blue. However on the real set of "Dr. Strangelove" the table was covered in green fabric. See more »

Quotes

Anne Sellers: [shouting] I'm fucking bored of the little boy! Why can't you be a man? You're a miserable, lying shit I hate you.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The BBC broadcast a version with some scenes rearranged, some scenes shortened and a few other edits:
  • The montage of Peter Sellers' earlier films is cut together with the scene where he moves into a big new house with Anne and the children. Also the song 'I Haven't Told Her, She Hasn't Told Me' sung by Peter is played instead of Frank Sinatra's 'Fly Me to the Moon'.
  • The first Maurice Woodruff scene and the car showroom scene are moved ahead to after Peter's father's death scene, swapping places with the scene where he phones Harry Secombe asking if he wants to come over for a beer. The car showroom scene also replaces the Shirley Bassey song 'Big Spender' with incidental music composed for the film.
  • The first Maurice Woodruff scene begins with a shot of Peter smoking a cigarette in the waiting room before cutting to a shot of Woodruff's book, which is where this scene begins in the original version.
  • The Harry Secombe phone call scene is shortened, cutting out the bit where Peter tells his son to go to his room.
  • A shot of Peter as Dr. Strangelove saying "Boom" is added after the Dr. Strangelove filming scenes.
  • Peter and Britt Ekland's wedding reception scene is shortened slightly, the shots of the children on the carousel are cut out.
  • The scene where Peter drives Britt to the hospital to give birth is shortened, cutting out footage of the car going past a church, pulling out in front of another car and Peter telling Britt to keep breathing.
  • The very brief scene of Peter seeing a plastic surgeon followed by shots of him in a makeup chair and taking pills is cut out.
  • The scene where Maurice Woodruff tries to get Peter to do another Pink Panther film is shortened, the bit where he channels Peter's mother and tells him to do the film is cut out. Also a different take is used when Maurice gets out the film script, instead of saying "Are you absolutely sure about that?", he says "Are you sure about that?".
  • The scene of Peter in his trailer dressed as the old salty sea dog is moved back to in between the scenes of him agreeing to make The Pink Panther Strikes Again and the film's premiere, making it look as if this character is part of that film when actually he appears in Revenge of the Pink Panther. In the original version this scene takes place later on, after a shot of Peter picking up a Revenge of the Pink Panther script. Whereas this version changes this shot to show a Being There script.
  • The scene of Peter in character as Blake Edwards is shortened. The line at the end of the scene "What did he do after me? The only thing he never gave up on" is cut out.
  • The montage of Peter doing character preparation for Being There and burning his old movie stuff is arranged differently. The overlaid shots of him doing The Goon Show and playing Strangelove, Clouseau are removed, although a shot of him burning a photo of President Merkin Muffley and a shot of the Being There novel in his pocket are added.
  • In the first shot of Blake Edwards waiting for Peter at the restaurant, instead of starting with a close up of the script for The Romance of the Pink Panther and cutting just before a waiter pours water into a glass, it starts with the water pouring into the glass, using a different part of this same take.
  • At the ending, when after the closing text it zooms out to show Peter watching it on a monitor and getting up to go to his trailer after which the end credits roll, this version inserts after the text another shot of Peter standing in the snow, then the cast list rolls before the zoom out to Peter watching it on a monitor. Also in this version The Kinks' song 'A Well Respected Man' starts playing as Peter gets up to go to his trailer, in the original version incidental music is played here instead and 'A Well Respected Man' doesn't start playing until the credits roll.
See more »

Connections

References The Ladykillers (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

After the Fox
Written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David
Performed by The Hollies with Peter Sellers
Heard during recreation of the filming of the movie
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance was fantastic and makes the movie totally worth watching.
6 January 2005 | by jamesobrienSee all my reviews

The story begins with the Goons and ends just after his role in the movie, Being There, thirty years later. A lot of the film features recreations of famous moments in Seller's acting life, such as appearing on "The Goons" or in "The Pink Panther". There are some particularly hilarious insights into his development of the "Inspector Clouseau" character, including an explanation of why he ended up hating the character so much.

As such, it really only touches the surface of his life story, but it does give you an intense understanding of the character. A character which, in the style of Greek tragedy, had a major flaw. For me, the flaw was Seller's total lack of confidence, perhaps due to his appearance, which he appears constantly to have overcompensated for.

Curiously enough, since Sellers is shown portraying great emotions, I was never actually moved myself, except perhaps for the occasion when he is violent towards Britt Ekland and in a particularly galling moment with his children.

The movie reaches its crescendo with Sellers' performance in "Being There" in which it's suggested the reason why Sellers so wanted to play the man without a personality was because he, himself, had no personality.

A few people at my workplace commented they thought the movie was far too stylized. Although I can see their point, and I agree I was never really touched by the movie, I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance more than made up for this. Rush plays not only Sellers, but several other characters in a Sellers-like "Dr Strangelove" kind of way, and achieves all of it with gusto. I also really enjoyed the performance of Miriam Margoyles as Sellers' mother, Peg, with whom he seems to have enjoyed an intense, almost Oedipal relationship.

I thought Geoffrey Rush's performance was fantastic and makes the movie totally worth watching.


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