Peter Sellers Story, The...As He Filmed It (2002)

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Released 7-Jul-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Short Film-I Say, I Say, I Say
Featurette-Irish TV Interview
TV Spots-PG Tips Ads, TWA Ads
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 87:49 (Case: 134)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (67:06) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Peter Sellers
Sophia Loren
Britt Ekland
Stanley Kubrick
Spike Milligan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $19.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.29:1
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.29:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Peter Sellers is one of my favourite comedic actors of all time and I was very keen to see this BBC-produced documentary about his life. This 90 minute documentary is actually an abridged version of a longer one called Arena : The Peter Sellers Story. During his lifetime one of Sellers great pastimes (when he wasn't working) was photography - both still and movies. Those movies provide most of the footage used in this documentary along with some clips from his films. The other ingredient in this programme are interviews with Sellers and various friends and relatives which play over the home movies. Sometimes they are directly relevant to the on-screen action and sometimes they are not, and it does come across something like a commentary. The footage is a mix of colour and black and white material.

    The friends and relatives include his first wife Anne Levy, Spike Milligan, Herbert Lom, his children Michael, Sarah & Victoria, Ian Carmichael, Sophia Loren, his long-time chauffeur, his mother Peg, his agent, Dennis Selinger, Stanley Kubrick, Elke Sommer, his second wife, Britt Ekland, Harry Secombe, George Harrison, Blake Edwards, Liza Minelli, and his third and fourth wives Miranda Quarry & Lynne Frederick. Most of what they have to say is very interesting and frankly is much more of an insight into the man than the footage which is mostly just relaxed family images.

    This is an interesting documentary, though not what I would call an essential one. Annoyingly it is not always obvious who is speaking at any particular time, as even though names are shown on screen, they are sometimes too late or not shown at all. If you find this annoying the subtitles are quite helpful as they often do include the person's surname. As I mentioned above, the voiceover does contain some very interesting recollections, views and anecdotes including discussion of Sellers' childhood, career, complex and difficult personality, his affairs, his bouts of depression, his relationship with his mother, superstitions, health problems, his relationships with his various wives, how he was affected by his mother's death and his interest in clairvoyance and yoga.

    Fans of Sellers will probably find this interesting as will people with an interest in movies and the nature of celebrity.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good taking into account the archival nature of the footage.

    The feature is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect (non-16x9 enhanced) which is the original ratio.

    The picture was surprisingly clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Considering the age and amateur nature of the footage it is obvious that restoration of some kind has been done. Shadow detail was also surprisingly good. There is grain throughout.

    The colour was quite dull and lifeless but considering that these are home movies made in the 1950s and 60s you really cannot complain.

    Artefacts include quite a lot of film dirt including blacks specks, splodges and lines. Aliasing also rears its ugly head including a radio at 16:21, train tracks at 26:05 and a car grille at 68:04. It was not very distracting.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired. The English subtitles were clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 67:06 and caused a very slight pause.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s.

    The audio quality is fine doing all that was required for this show.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menu includes stills and The Pink Panther theme.

I Say, I Say, I Say (10:42)

    This is a short amateur film made by Peter Sellers and features some comedy sketches by him and a number of friends, including Princess Margaret who was a friend of his. Unfortunately, it is not overly funny. Some of the footage is used in the main programme.

Irish TV Interview (26:05)

    This is the pick of the extras and is an interview Sellers did with Irish TV while he was living there. He is relaxed and forthright and discusses the state of comedy on TV, the Goon Show reunion, the various Goon Show characters, his movie The Party, his lack of social skills and his various hobbies. This is an interesting interview, in some ways better than the main feature. Definitely of interest to Goon Show fans.

PG Tips Ads (0:56)

    An advertisement for tea which he did a voiceover for. The ad features monkeys having tea.

TWA Ads (7:25)

    These are ads he made for TWA, the American airline, featuring a number of characters. They are good fun and well worth seeing. Also included is what seems to be a making of film, possibly made for airline staff.

Photo Gallery (4:14)

    A interesting set of photos set to music and features informative captions explaining what the photos are of. The photos feature Sellers and some of his family and friends.

 

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The disc is available in the same format in Region 2 and is not available in Region 1.

Summary

    An interesting collection of home movies from Peter Sellers combined with interviews from himself, his family and friends.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is fine.

    The set has a good collection of extras, more than you normally expect with a documentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

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