Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sellers Joy

Peter Sellers plays an Italian master thief in After the Fox written for stage and screen by Neil Simon and released in '66. Lured by an impending shipment of gold Sellers escapes from prison and teams up with his old crew and young carefree sister in a caper involving a visiting, failing Hollywood star, played by Victor Mature, and some naive villagers from a small coastal town. Mature's excellent, self parodying performance is matched by Sellers', who for once avoids the obvious national cliches, and as you'd expect with Simon holding the pen there's plenty of snappy banter and laughs from the get go. Sadly I found the finale a little underwhelming and it cast shadow over the previous fun and frolics, nevertheless a lesser Sellers is still worth 3 or 4 contemporary comedies so if you fancy a gust of light 60's farce it's worth catching.

In The Naked Truth Peter Sellers stars as a deviously twee Scottish TV personality who, like Terry Thomas and Shirley Eaton, are being blackmailed by a shady, supercilious tabloid editor. After joining forces they make increasingly deranged attempts to thwart his plans but never quite get it right. It's a lovely little, Ealing-eque farce that has plenty of great lines and laughs, all delivered by the excellent cast with an effortlessness that demonstrates their seasoned talents. Sellers gets an opportunity to don a number of disguises and flex his comic character muscles (as his wont) and it's to the credit of the rest of the cast that he never manages to outshine them. Another thoroughly enjoyable Sellers effort that's been unfortunately eclipsed by his prodigious successes elsewhere.

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