Two lost Peter Sellers shorts to be screened at festival
Shorts show a very young Sellers on the brink of film stardom
His portrayals on film are legendary - no less than three roles in Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," including the titular character, Inspector Clouseau in the hilarious "Pink Panther" film series and the idiot savant in "Being There." Two thirty-minute short films, long feared lost, starring the late, great Peter Sellers will now be screened at a forthcoming film festival. The films show a very young sellers on the brink of movie stardom.
The two shorts capture Peter Sellers at a career crossroads. Conquering radio comedy with The Goons, making a good start in TV and film, Sellers set his sights on movie stardom.
In either case, both film will be shown in public for the first time in more than 50 years, to be screened at the Southend Film Festival next May.
The two shorts capture Sellers at a career crossroads. Conquering radio comedy with The Goons, making a good start in TV and film, Sellers set his sights on movie stardom.
Both shorts are more TV sit-coms in tone than actual short movies. Already a radio star when the films were made, but Sellers had yet to establish himself as a screen actor.
Both films are spoofs of government information films. Sellers plays a number of different parts. He considered the shorts as "show reels" to demonstrate "his considerable talents," according to Paul Cotgrove from The White Bus, which runs the Southend Film Festival.
Cotgrove was given the films by building manager Robert Farrow. Farrow had spotted the 21 film cans as he was overseeing the clear-out of Park Lane Films' former office in London before its refurbishment in 1996.
"[I] thought they would be good for storing my Super 8 collection in," Farrow says, who admitted he thought about throwing the films away before putting them in a cupboard until cleaning out his home.
"It was then I realized they were two Sellers films including the negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and the master print. It was amazing," Farrow says.
Cotgrove, who is now getting the films digitally restored, told the BBC they captured Sellers "in a period when he was experimenting . They're kind of a pastiche of the public information films at the time," he said. "They're not riotous comedy, they're just good fun to look at."
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