Out on DVD: The 'lost classic' of Peter Sellers | But Mr Topaze was a financial and critical flop when released

Out on DVD: The 'lost classic' of Peter Sellers

But Mr Topaze was a financial and critical flop when released

The first film that Peter Sellers directed is to be released on DVD for the first time next month.

Mr Topaze – a melancholy character comedy  described by Sellers' biographer Roger Lewis as a ‘lost classic’ – is coming out after film fans voted for it to be digitised.

As well as directing this 1961 adaptation of a Marcel Pagnol play, Sellers also takes the title role of a poor, provincial French schoolteacher slowly corrupted by big business

The cast also features Herbert Lom – long before his collaboration with Sellers on the Pink Panther films –  Nadia Gray, Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and John Le Mesurier.

Released in the US with the more obvious title of I Like Money, the film has rarely been seen since its original distribution, because it was a critical and financial flop at the time – despite being made at the height of Sellers's popularity.

The DVD comes with several extras from the Sellers archive including The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film, which also starred his Goons colleague Spike Milligan.

A keen photographer, Sellers also directed the 1964 short I Say I Say I Say and the reshoots of The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu in 1980, his last movie before he died later that year at the age of 54.

It will be released by BFI Flipside on DVD and Blu-ray on April 15. Click here to order.

The extras are:

  • Let’s Go Crazy (1951, 33 mins): a nightclub-set madcap variety show featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan
  • The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960, 11 mins): Richard Lester and Peter Sellers’ Goonish comic short, featuring Sellers, Spike Milligan and Leo McKern
  • Film Star: Peter Sellers (1967, 37 mins): a profile of the actor and comedian
  • Maurice Woodruff Interview (1967, 19 mins): Peter Sellers’ favourite clairvoyant interviewed by Bernard Braden for a TV series, Now and Then, that was never made
  • John Boulting Interview (1967, 21 mins): the director discusses his relationship with Sellers in an unbroadcast Now and Then interview with Bernard Braden
  • Peter Sellers at the NFT (1960, 92 mins, audio only): the actor addresses an enthusiastic throng of fans
  • Abigail McKern Interview (2019, 20 mins): the daughter of Leo McKern discusses the great actor’s life and career
  •  The Poetry of Realism (2019, 13 mins): journalist Kat Ellinger’s video essay on Marcel Pagnol, the writer of the film’s theatrical source, Topaze

Published: 20 Mar 2019

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