Monday, May 17, 2010

Beyond Clouseau

BIRDIE NUM NUMS! If you've heard this saying than you know I am talking about a great actor. If you haven't heard this saying than you are in for a great treat. Peter Sellers was an enigma wrapped in a paradox. He was a genius with his voice, mannerisms and most importantly his acting.

The Party is one of the funniest movies you will ever see. There is hardly any dialogue but Sellers is brillant as a movie extra who gets to go to a Hollywood party (strictly by accident). This is also one of Blake Edwards' greatest movies. There are sexual innuendos and yet no raunchy humor, slapstick and my favorite exchange between Sellers and an intercom -BIRDIE NUM NUMS! It is a classic that shouldn't be missed.

Speaking of a classic-Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb shows Peter's versatility as an actor playing 3 different roles. His  exchange over the phone with the Russian president is hysterical. I am constantly quoting that dialogue and luckily I have a wonderful husband who understands. There are several stories going on here but all centering around an insane commander's attack on Russia. George C. Scott and Slim Pickens are flavorful characters that just help drive the vehicle on  this bizarre ride. 

The last movie really shows Seller's diversity as an actor. Being There is a sad story of a gardener who has never left the estate he has worked on. Once his employer dies, he is thrust unto the real world. By acts of fate, he becomes a celebrity, much to his chagrin. This is one of his last roles and certainly one of his most poignant.

Just as diverse as Peter Sellers was himself, so were movies. He was so much more than Inspector Clouseau. Many times he would go out into public and people did not recognize him. It is very interesting that someone who brought so much laughter and entertainment was filled with so much sadness.I think his quote, "If you ask me to play myself, I will not know what to do. I do not know who or what I am." pretty much sums him up. Check out these amazing movies, you will laugh, cry and be slightly confused-I'm sure he would have wanted it that way.


muffin said...

Oh what about I Love You Alice B Toklas?

pretty darned funny and sellers as a stoner hippie, totally worth it!

Becky said...

I so love Peter Sellers and his movies! "Being There" makes me cry so I don't re-watch it often but all the others - yeppers, watch whenever I can!

I used to write letters from college to friends in Inspector Clouseau dialect. Twas hard but oh so much fun to write phonetically!

duzsh yer dug bhiite?
ey im haer to fix yer fphun.