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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Peter Sellers Movie Collection


Starring: Peter Sellers
Distributor: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises
5 030697 039521
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 09 October 2017

Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises release an all new original Peter Sellers 4 DVD gifting set. It includes his 1975 comedy The Great McGonagall set in Victorian times and starring Spike Milligan - a story of the world’s greatest poet. The 1969 classic comedy The Magic Christian starring Ringo Starr, Richard Attenborough, Christopher Lee and Spike Milligan - and features original music by Paul McCartney. The 1973 comedy that Sellers did his utmost to prevent being released Ghost in the Noonday Sun starring Peter Boyle and Spike Milligan. And finally the 1979 adventure comedy The Prisoner of Zenda also starring Lionel Jeffries and Elke Sommer...

The Great McGonagall (1975)
The story concerns Scotsman William McGonagall, who aspires to become Poet Laureate of Great Britain. McGonagall might have a better chance of accomplishing this if he had any talent, but he is hilariously inept. The plot is abandoned somewhere in the middle of the film in favour of a series of virtually unrelated comic episodes...

The DVD contains an audio commentary with director Joe McGrath and comedy historian Robert Ross and text based Cast and Crew Biographies.


The Magic Christian (1969)
Eccentric billionaire Guy Grand adopts a homeless boy and sets out to prove to him that anyone and anything can be bought with money. Starting with minor spoofs such as bribing a Shakespearean actor to do a striptease during a performance of Hamlet, their stunts gradually become more and more elaborate. When they buy tickets for a luxury liner called The Magic Christian they involve a whole new social strata. As things aboard the liner appear to be getting out of control the guests get a shock when they try to abandon ship...

The film is loosely adapted from the 1959 comic novel of the same name by U.S. author Terry Southern (Southern says he wrote the script to Easy Rider, Dennis Hopper says he “never wrote one f*cking word.”). Ringo Starr’s character Youngman Grand doesn’t exist in the novel and was written especially for him. Yul Brynner plays a chanteuse transvestite, along with notable star appearances from John Cleese as the director of Sotheby’s, Raquel Welch, Roman Polanski, Richard Attenborough, Spike Milligan, Graham Chapman and Christopher Lee.


Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1973)
Sellers stars as the bumbling Captain Dick Scratcher - a high seas pirate. Peter Boyle, Spike Milligan and Antony Franciosa lend their comedic talents in their search for buried treasure! Dreaming of untold riches and a harem of curvaceous woman, Scratcher and his roguish buccaneer band set sail for Treasure Island. But Captain Scratcher's quest for riches runs into a little snag - Ras Mohammed's ghost. A chest of loot worth a King's ransom lies buried beneath the ex-pirates remains! He fiercely protects his precious stash; and he doesn't take kindly to conniving grave robbers...

Following in the slapstick tradition of Monty Python and Benny Hill, British comedy Ghost in the Noonday Sun was only released, semi-completed on VHS, in the USA several years after filming was wrapped and after Sellers' death (1980). The film never received a full cinematic release.


The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)
After the King of Ruritania dies in a hot air balloon accident, his eldest son is kidnapped by the evil Prince Michael, his younger brother, who hopes to snatch the throne. To foil these dastardly plans, a stand-in is needed for the impending coronation. But will the London cabbie lookalike they've chosen be up to the task?

Prisoner of Zenda was an adventure novel published in 1894. It has been adapted numerous times for film as well as stage, musical, operetta, radio and television. Sellers plays three roles in the 1979 film: London taxi-driver Sydney Frewin, King Rudolph IV, and King Rudolph V (The Prisoner of Zenda).


For Sellers fans and lovers of old comedy there's enough here to warrant picking up this collection of films if you don't already own them. It's probably more of a present for someone else, rather than a collection you'd buy yourself.


Nick Smithson

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