John Cleese, Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers Trash Priceless Art (1969)

Here’s a curi­ous scene from the 1969 cult film The Mag­ic Chris­t­ian. In the sto­ry, Peter Sell­ers plays an eccen­tric bil­lion­aire, Sir Guy Grand, who adopts a home­less man, played by Ringo Starr, and sets out to play a series of prac­ti­cal jokes on peo­ple, demon­strat­ing that “every­one has their price.”

Sell­ers and Starr were at the hight of their fame when the movie was made, but John Cleese, who plays a snooty auc­tion direc­tor at Sothe­by’s, was still a few months away from the for­ma­tion of Mon­ty Python. The Mag­ic Chris­t­ian is based on a book of the same name by comedic nov­el­ist Ter­ry South­ern. Cleese and anoth­er future Python mem­ber, Gra­ham Chap­man, co-wrote an ear­ly ver­sion of the script, includ­ing this scene, which was not in the book.

The film was direct­ed by Joseph McGrath and includes an assort­ment of bizarre cameo appear­ances, includ­ing Christo­pher Lee as a vam­pire, Rac­quel Welch as an S&M priest­ess and Yul Bryn­ner as a trans­ves­tite cabaret singer. But per­haps the most endur­ing ele­ment of The Mag­ic Chris­t­ian is the hit song “Come and Get it,” which was writ­ten and pro­duced for the film by Paul McCart­ney and per­formed by Badfin­ger.

You can watch the com­plete film here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

John Cleese’s Eulo­gy for Gra­ham Chap­man: ‘Good Rid­dance, the Free-Load­ing Bas­tard, I Hope He Fries’

John Cleese, Mon­ty Python Icon, on How to Be Cre­ative

Peter Sell­ers Gives a Quick Demon­stra­tion of British Accents

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