Peter Sellers - Documentary
Who is Peter Sellers? That is what this personal film hosted by Peter himself, and narrated by his friend, Spike Milligan, tries to answer.
Or does it?
You see, aided by a shed load of archival footage of that era, the 1960's, this documentary chronicles Peters perpetual state of mind whilst he is shooting his current film, 'The Magic Christian'. Overall, the footage is of a surrealist nature, and is scattered throughout the film to complement whatever is being said.
And what is being said? Peter’s thought’s on love, life, death, marriage, and his own spiritual quest at getting his own back on the b*stards whom have failed him during his life.
Peter is somewhat bi-polar amidst his account, because in certain segments of this film you can see him quite happy and content. For example: (1) His time with his children. (2) His japes with his fellow actors, Ringo Starr, Graham Stark, Richard Attenborough, and Spike Milligan. (3) His love of photography and gadgets. (4) His time on his yacht or his car. And (5) His own origins as well.
Whilst, at other times, Peter seems rather sad and depressed, especially in the numerous interviews in which he talks about: (1) His two failed marriages. (2) The loss of his Mother. (3) The way in which he describes himself. (4) His search for companionship. And (5) How his many heart attacks have made him question his own mortality.
Bi-polar, right? And this is what is expressed also when he speaks. At a drop of a hat, Peter just cannot help but lapse into a funny voice or a strange expression – no matter if he is performing or not. Strange, I know! Though not as strange as how this film chronicles the rise of one of the worlds most noted performers, and how he views’ life.
So what is his view? Bland on the inside, and anarchy on the outside, giving him the ability to do what he does in front of the camera, whilst searching for enlightenment behind it.
Why the f*ck must all the greats be bloody nutters? That is what I said to myself after watching this rather surrealist documentary about Peter Sellers by Peter Sellers. Also, apart from being somewhat concerned, I was additionally greatly informed about how the man saw himself. Not vocalized by Peter mind you, oh no, but by his Goon Show narrator, Spike (I'm a nutter too) Milligan.
Honestly, its a if Spike could see straight into Peters mind, and ascertain what he is feeling and why he is felling it. OK, so maybe some of this was ‘on script’. But I think that overall due to his own collaborations with the man, Spike genuinely understood the thought process that knocks about inside Peters noggin. Spike seems to be more eloquent about Peter than what Peter is about himself, and is able to recount why Peter does what he does in a rather poignant fashion.
Now this is not to say that Peter does not know who he is, because on a conceptual level he does. I just found that he appears somewhat vacant when this moment occurs. Peter seems more at ease when he is performing or telling a joke, having that unmatched charm about him that sucks you in whenever he opens his mouth.
Please note, this talent – to Peter – is the reason for his downfall, because he freely admits that he feels more at ease when he pretends to be other people rather than himself.
So who is Peter Sellers? Does this documentary answer that question for us? Hmmm? No, I am afraid to say that I cannot answer that particular question. I am biased – I admit – and I am a huge Peter Sellers fan who cannot even fathom how his mind works. I wish I could – truthfully – I would love to point my finger within a ven-diagram and then say that Peter falls’ between this particular category of people and another. But I can’t, at best I can only hypothesize about his ailments – especially after watching this film.
Personally speaking, I think that Peter is a bi-polar individual, with a love of his Mother, comedy, kinship, and gadgets. Whilst on the other hand, he hates authority, judgmental people, and leaches who try to force him to do things which he hates to do.
Makes him seem like a small child, huh? And I suppose he is on some level, one that I wished could have felt just a small fraction of the enjoyment that he has bestowed onto others.
Deep film about a strange man. Surrealist in its execution, but overall a must see for any Peter Sellers fan. Don't you agree Peter?
THE RATING: A