The Ghost of Peter Sellers
The Ghost of Peter Sellers is a 2018 feature documentary film directed by Peter Medak and produced by Paul Iacovou. A cautionary tale about filmmaking, it tells the story of how in 1973, Peter Sellers, one of the biggest comedy actors at the time, embarked on a pirate comedy for Columbia Pictures entitled Ghost in the Noonday Sun. He lost confidence with the film immediately and tried to sabotage it, first firing the producers before turning on his friend (and the film's young director), Peter Medak. Despite an illustrious career and the passing of 43 years since the unraveling of the production, Medak is still reeling from the disastrous experience and healing from the wounds inflicted by Peter Sellers and the film’s failure. The Ghost of Peter Sellers received its world premiere at the 2018 Venice Film Festival as part of the Giornate Degli Autori section, simultaneously receiving a US premiere at the 2018 Telluride Film Festival.
The Ghost of Peter Sellers received widespread critical acclaim from Film criticism|film critics who praised Peter Medak's willingness to revisit a dark period both professionally and personally. The wider film community has taken the film under its wings as a rare insight to what happens when a film production unravels. The documentary spent 2019 traveling to film festivals around the world, picking up numerous awards, winning both The Golden Palm (best film competing in all categories) and Best Documentary at The Beverly Hills Film Festival in April 2019.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 100%. Todd McCarthy, Chief Film Critic for The Hollywood Reporter praised the film for its jaw-dropping detail and went on to call it a "can't-take-your-eyes-off-it documentary". Keith Simanton, Senior Editor at IMDB listed the documentary as one of the 'Top 25 Films of 2018', going on to say "not since Lost in La Mancha (Terry Gilliam) have I seen anything so heartbreaking as this behind-the-scenes expose...Ghost ups the ante over La Mancha however, by having the man at the center of the matter, Medak, directing, narrating, exorcising the guilt over a truly insane shoot, and laying to rest his animosity towards a troubled genius 45 years after the fact".
Veteran film critic, Leonard Maltin, in his review of Telluride Film Festival, asked the question "Why would a man who has worked successfully in film and television all these years (with some great ones like The Ruling Class to his credit) choose to revisit the greatest nightmare of his career?", going on to say "Ghost created a wound in Medak that has never healed.In spite of all the trouble Sellers caused, Medak still loves and admires him and wanted to tell this story. This fascinating feature documentary deserves a home-like Turner Classic Movies to reach its target audience".
Jim Amos, Senior Contributor at Forbes called The Ghost of Peter Sellers "as captivating as any Hollywood blockbuster", going on to say "There have been many documentaries which have provided a microscope into ill-fated productions, including Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse, Lost in La Mancha, and the Fitzcarraldo documentary, Burden of Dreams. But The Ghost of Peter Sellers is one of the precious few which is told in the first person." Leading film and television website, The Playlist cited the documentary as "Emotionally and psychologically, “The Ghost Of Peter Sellers,” is an A-grade film"
- The Ghost of Peter Sellers (2018), retrieved 2020-04-08
- "'The Ghost of Peter Sellers': Film Review | Telluride 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
- "Keith Simanton's Top 25 Films of 2018". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
- Friedman, Drew (2018-09-14). "MOVIES ABOUT MOVIES: FROM PETER SELLERS AND BUSTER KEATON TO ALICE GUY-BLACHÉ". Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
- Amos, Jim. "'The Ghost Of Peter Sellers': How An Uncontrollable Star, Seasickness, Fake Heart Attacks, And A Mutinous Crew Led To Hollywood's Biggest Fiasco". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
- "'The Ghost of Peter Sellers': Peter Medak Is Still Haunted [Venice Review]". theplaylist.net. Retrieved 2020-04-08.
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