Peter Sellers documentary 1969
June 11, 2013 12:33 AM   Subscribe

Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up - a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*via Cinephilia and Beyond. [NSFW - some nudity]
"A weird 1969 Peter Sellers documentary, made to promote The Magic Christian, including appearances by Ringo, Paul and Linda, and John. Most of these appearances are in segment 3. The documentary was never repeated by the BBC, possibly due to the fact that Peter Sellers thought he came across as depressed. Spike Milligan narrates and dissects Peter’s persona in the process. A word of warning: The documentary includes strong scenes (bullfight, open heart surgery, nudity) and language. Peter Sellers lived for 11 more years after this documentary."
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posted by peacay (12 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
Now that was one unique documentary. I totally loved it!
posted by quazichimp at 1:39 AM on June 11, 2013

Fascinating and bizarre. Great find.
posted by Decani at 3:03 AM on June 11, 2013

Mein Führer! I can walk!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:27 AM on June 11, 2013

What I love about this - and find both surprising and unsurprising - is how brutally yet lovingly honest and incisive Milligan's observations are. I mean, he knew the guy as well as anyone can, and what he's saying about Sellers' personality and problems rings so true it almost hurts. And the wonder is that he could lay it all bare like that without terribly offending Sellers. Or maybe he did. But I know they got on well after this so... I guess Sellers was okay with it. Eventually, at any rate.

Ultimately, a sad, selfish mummy's boy. But a hugely talented one.
posted by Decani at 3:52 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was semi-obsessed with Peter Sellars as a kid, watching as many of his movies as possible. The Magic Christian was not one of them, though and I still haven't seen it.
posted by octothorpe at 3:53 AM on June 11, 2013

octothorpe: I'll give you one million dollars to watch that movie, upside down while you're being smeared with various condiments.
posted by sammyo at 4:13 AM on June 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

I look forward to watching this, especially Spike's observations.

Ultimately, a sad, selfish mummy's boy. But a hugely talented one.

Selfish, yes, but a selfishness borne of an insecurity that could never be relieved. I remember seeing an in-depth interview with his son Michael, one of the many, many people mistreated, abused, or neglected by Peter, and Michael seemed to be fairly accepting with the knowledge that his father was simply emotionally incapable of behaving like a decent human being, for all kinds of reasons which could never be resolved. Still, no matter having largely accepted that inevitability, the human fallout was undeniable on Michael's face.

Peter Sellers is a leading example of how a great artist can also be a terrible human being. I don't know the precise relationship between Peter's self-involvedness and his creativity, but he certainly was terrible, he certainly was great.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:59 AM on June 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I can't wait to watch this.

A seminal moment in my life/emotional development was when I heard (somewhere) that Peter Sellers only appeared on The Muppet Show on the condition that he never be shown out of character; even in the Muppet Show's famous backstage bits. As an actor and social anxiety sufferer, something in this clicked for me. I feel (felt) like I can never be myself, because if I am, any judgements leveled at me are, in fact, leveled at me. But if I'm a character? Think whatever you want about the character. It's liberating. And isolating.

I've identified with very few people in my lifetime; I didn't really have heroes or idols growing up, for example. That moment of revelation was one of the reasons I've become so open in talking about depression (esp. my own). So, for all your faults: thanks, Peter Sellers.
posted by Eideteker at 7:09 AM on June 11, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have never seen the movie The Magic Christian, but I am a huge, almost to the point of religious, fan of Terry Southern's book. And Peter Sellers was amazing in just about everything. Anyone that's read the book and seen the movie care to comment? As much as I loved Mr. Sellers, I just can't picture him as Guy Grand, and the scenes in the documentary seep pretty off from the book.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:00 AM on June 11, 2013

Magic Christian... Saw the movie many times. Then finally read the book. The climactic scene in the movie takes place at the beginning of the book. For me the movie was a different creature. It builds to a climax. The book was more episodic. I heartily recommend the movie. Great music too. The star cameos are a riot. Enjoy!
posted by njohnson23 at 8:35 AM on June 11, 2013

Peter Sellers only appeared on The Muppet Show on the condition that he never be shown out of character; even in the Muppet Show's famous backstage bits.

posted by homunculus at 9:26 PM on June 11, 2013

Dagnabit. Here's the first link from that old post.
posted by homunculus at 9:28 PM on June 11, 2013

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