Peter Sellers

A Film History


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About the Book

Peter Sellers left behind a rich legacy of film work, some of which is only belatedly recognized for its genius. Especially notable were his numerous crazy accents. Though most widely known as the slapstick Inspector Clouseau of the “Pink Panther” series (from 1964 on), he is recalled by many for such earlier efforts as his triple role in The Mouse That Roared (1959) and his masterly breakthrough to the mainstream American market in I’m All Right, Jack (1959).
This book analyzes each Sellers film from 1951, not least his Oscar-nominated triple-role stint in Dr. Strangelove. He also turned in a brilliant performance as the slyly sinister Clare Quilty in Lolita. Interesting anecdotes, behind-the-scenes information, a detailed plot summary, contemporary criticism and the author’s own analysis are given for each film. Complete filmographies and index.

About the Author(s)

Michael Seth Starr has covered television as a reporter and columnist at The New York Post since 1995. The author of several biographies of film and music stars, he has made frequent appearances on television including The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Entertainment Tonight and Tavis Smiley.

Bibliographic Details

Michael Seth Starr
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 55 photos, filmographies, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [1991]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7389-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue      vii

Part I: The Road to Stardom (1951–1959)

1. Down Among the Z Men      2
2. The Ladykillers      6
3. The Smallest Show on Earth      11
4. The Naked Truth      16
5. tom thumb      21
6. Up the Creek      25
7. Carlton-Browne of the F.0.      28
8. The Mouse That Roared      32
9. I’m All Right, Jack      37
10. The Battle of the Sexes      42

Part 11: The Best Sellers List (1960–1964)

11. Two-Way Stretch      48
12. Never Let Go      51
13. The Millionairess      56
14. Only Two Can Play      61
15. Waltz of the Toreadors      67
16. Lolita      70
17. The Wrong Am of the Law      78
18. Heavens Above!      83
19. The Pink Panther      88
20. Dr. Strangelove      94
21. The World of Henry Orient      104
22. A Shot in the Dark      108

Part 111: The Lost Decade (1965–1974)

23. What’s New, Pussycat?      116
24. The Wrong Box      121
25. After the Fox      125
26. Casino Royale      131
27. The Bobo      137
28. The Party      142
29. I Love You, Alice B. Toklas      147
30. The Magic Christian      154
31. Hojhan      157
32. There’s a Girl in My Soup      161
33. Where Does It Hurt?      166
34. The Blockhouse      170
35. The Optimists of Nine Elms      173
36. Ghost in the Noonday Sun      178

Part IV: A Sellers Market (1975–1980)

37. The Return of the Pink Panther      184
38. Murder by Death      190
39. The Pink Panther Strikes Again      195
40. The Revenge of the Pink Panther      198
41. The Prisoner of Zenda      205
42. Being There      209
43. The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu      217
44. Epilogue      222

Part V: Interview with Blake Edwards      225

Notes      245
Index      255

Book Reviews & Awards

“the first book length study of Sellers film career…readable and informative”—Classic Images; “very well illustrated, and of importance to all those interested in the controversial star’s unique personality”—Virgin Publishers; “are for moviegoers as well as stargazers, with film-by-film analyses of their subject’s work”—Romeike & Curtice; “a professional record combined with an extensive reference work”—Back Stage Shoot; “thoroughly agreeable read”—Film Review.