Peter Sellers was a compulsive home movie maker. His house was cluttered with cameras, cables and tape recorders, according to his first wife Anne Howe, and he liked to bring a camera along with him wherever he went, sometimes handing it to a companion and clowning around in front of the lens.
In 1995, fifteen years after Sellers’s death, producers from BBC Arena sorted through his extensive archive and assembled some of the best footage for a film called The Peter Sellers Story. In 2002 they shortened it into The Peter Sellers Story: As He Filmed It (above), which tells the story of the comedian’s life almost exclusively with footage from his own camera.
There are glimpses of some notable people from the actor’s circle, including Stanley Kubrick, Sophia Loren, Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret, Britt Ekland, Blake Edwards, Spike Milligan and Orson Welles. The audio is pieced together from vintage performances and interviews, along with commentary by Sellers’s friends, family and colleagues. It’s a unique film, offering a personal look at the enigmatic and emotionally troubled genius who was able to slip confidently into an amazing range of personas–often in the same film–but was never sure of his own. As Sellers once told an interviewer:
I have no personality of my own, you see. I could never be a star because of this. I’m a character actor. I couldn’t play Peter Sellers the way Cary Grant plays Cary Grant, say–because I have no concrete image of myself. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone who has never grown up–a crashing sentimentalist who alternates between great heights and black depths. You know, it’s a funny thing, but when I’m doing a role I feel it’s the role doing the role, if you know what I mean. When someone tells me “You were great as so-and-so,” I feel they should be telling this to so-and-so, and when I finish a picture I feel a horrible sudden loss of identity.
The Peter Sellers Story: As He Filmed It will be added to our collection of 500 Free Movies Online.