May 05, 2014

Long-Lost Peter Sellers Films Found In Rubbish Skip


Late last year some early film reels with Peter Sellers were found. 

Recently a Fabergé Egg was discovered in a similar way, and also the Cheapside Jewels.

And some unheard John Lennon songs.

One wonders what other 'treasures' are waiting to be discovered!

Imagine if there were no Clouseau!

Ten Top Peter Sellers Movies 

Robert Farrow was helping to clear out an office block in London when he rescued cans that contained Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good for You, two 30-minute comedies that Sellers made in 1957 to be shown at cinemas before the main feature. 
Both films had eluded film historians and few details were known. Mr Farrow's discovery means that the films will be shown for the first time in 57 years next year as part of the Southend Film Festival in Essex, southeast England.

Paul Cotgrove, festival director, compared the discovery to finding "the Dead Sea Scrolls of the film world". He said that they showed the comic actor practising his craft immediately before his film career took off with I'm All Right Jack, released two years later. "It is nothing like Inspector Clouseau.

 The humour is quite dry. They're almost parodies of public information films. He's playing the downtrodden, working man trying to work his way up in the world.
"He almost appears to treat them as showreels to demonstrate to film producers his considerable talents."

Sellers, who had already made a name for himself with The Goon Show, appears in both films as Hector Dimwiddie, an everyman character who also appears in Cold Comfort, a rarely shown third film in the series. Sellers died in 1980.

Mr Farrow took possession of 21 film cans in 1996 when he was clearing out an office that once housed Park Lane Films, the production company that made the Sellers films, because he thought that the containers would be useful for storing his Super 8 collection.

He placed them in a cupboard and forgot about them for several years until a recent clear-out. "It was then I realised they were two Sellers films including the negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and the master print," he said. "It was amazing. I knew I had something, but it wasn't until I called Paul Cotgrove ... that it dawned on me that I'd found something very special indeed."

Mr Farrow's early attempts to gather interest in the films were unsuccessful. 

The BBC told him that it was not interested in any material not made by the BBC. He was rebuffed by someone at the BFI who thought he was a crank. Another television company suggested that he put the films on eBay. Mr Cotgrove admitted that he was sceptical at first. "When Robert Farrow contacted me and said, 'I've got these films of Peter Sellers', I thought, 'Here we go again. It'll be one of those lesser-known films'. But when he told me the titles, I couldn't find any details anywhere."

Neil Pearson, the actor best known for Between the Lines, owns the only known copy of the script for Insomnia. He recently declared that no biographer of Sellers had found the film.
"It looks as if it is comprehensively lost. The script is not very good but there were clearly other people in it. He wakes up with his wife - who played her? How come we don't know this?"

Mr Cotgrove hopes that the answers will be revealed after the screening on May 1, on the opening night of the festival.(This has already occurred).

"When they came out in the 1950s they were supporting films, so they never had a proper premiere. So we're going to give them one on our red-carpet gala night."

by Jack Malvern

With thanks to The Australian

Above:Trailers From Hell's take on The Pink Panther.

A chameleon by nature, Peter Sellers had been turning in inspired comic performances since the early fifties -- but it took the role of the habitually hapless Inspector Clouseau (originally intended for Peter Ustinov) in this first of seven The Pink Panther comedies to catapult him to superstar status. 

Though director Blake Edwards' screenplay placed the bumbling detective at the center of a comic ensemble that included David Niven (who signed on expecting his role to be the lead), Capucine and Robert Wagner, Sellers would have free reign over the film's even funnier sequel, A Shot in the Dark. 

Henry Mancini contributed the ultra-lounge score along with the memorable theme song. A lamentable animated cartoon series helped kill off theatrical cartoons. 

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