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"You Talkin' To Me?": Our Ten Favorite Unscripted Movie Moments


Harrison Ford Robert De Niro Jack Nicholson Joe Pesci Peter Sellers

Sometimes the best moments in life are those which are unplanned or unexpected and it seems this is also true in the movies. As it happens some of favorite movie scenes didn't exactly turn out as they were scripted, instead the actors had a moment of inspiration on set leading to some memorable movie magic. Here’s 10 of our favourite unscripted and improvised screen moments.

GoodfellasRay Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci in Goodfellas

Goodfellas

Continue reading: "You Talkin' To Me?": Our Ten Favorite Unscripted Movie Moments

'Pink Panther' Actor Herbert Lom Passes Away Aged 95


Herbert Lom Peter Sellers

Herbert Lom, star of the Pink Panther has died aged 95. If you're of a certain generation you'll be sure to remember the star, who played Inspector Clouseau's boss Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies. The veteran actor passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday (September 27th), according to his family. It was a life well-lived for Lom, who managed to rack up more than 100 movie credits in a career that spanned six decades, including starring roles in classics such as El Cid, The Ladykillers and Spartacus among others.

Continue reading: 'Pink Panther' Actor Herbert Lom Passes Away Aged 95

Pink Panther Star Herbert Lom Dies, Aged 95


Herbert Lom Kirk Douglas Charlton Heston Alec Guinness Peter Sellers Blake Edwards

Herbert Lom, the actor best known for playing Charles Dreyfus in the Pink Panther movies, has died aged 95. He may have starred alongside Hollywood greats Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and Alec Guinness, he may have portrayed historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, but it will be his performance alongside the hapless Inspector Clouseau (played by Peter Sellers) for which he will be most fondly remembered.

The family of the Czech-born star confirmed that he died peacefully in his sleep, Sky News report today (September 27, 2012) and his son Alec Lom has spoken of his long and varied career. “Like many actors, he never wanted to be pigeon-holed in a particular role,” his son revealed. “After having played the role of East European gangster in many films, it was a delight to him later in his career to be cast by Pink Panther producer and director Blake Edwards in a comedy role opposite Peter Sellers, and he hugely enjoyed that move.”

Alec also spoke fondly of his father’s working relationship with Sellers, saying “he had many funny stories about the antics that he and Peter Sellers got up to on the set. It was a nightmare working with Peter because he was a terrible giggler and, between my father and Peter's laughter, they ruined dozens and dozens of takes.”


The Pink Panther (1963) Review


Good
Not the best film in the Pink Panther collection, this introduction to Peter Sellers' bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is still a must-see. In this film, Clouseau is in a lush ski resort and vaguely on the trail of a jewel thief who's out to steal this "Pink Panther" from a vacationing princess (the ridiculously sexy Claudia Cardinale). David Niven and Robert Wagner make somewhat less of an impression -- and I'll try not to spoil anything by mentioning how their roles interact here -- but on the whole Panther is good and messy fun.

Casino Royale (1967) Review


Weak
Though great he may be, there is a limit to the amount of uninterrupted Burt Bacharach music one can endure. And sadly, that limit -- of music punctuated by kazoos, harpischords, and accordions -- is far less than 137 minutes.

There's also a limit on the length of a spy spoof one can sit through (the second Austin Powers and Richard Grieco's If Looks Could Kill being the few notable, yet guilty, exceptions). That limit tends to run about 58 minutes.

Continue reading: Casino Royale (1967) Review

I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! Review


Grim
Peter Sellers made a lot of good movies, and history has been kind enough to purge the memory of the bad ones from our collective minds. The painfully titled I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! is one of those bad ones, the kind I'd now -- having just sat through it -- would prefer to forget altogether.

The setup is straight out of a '60s sitcom: Harold Fine (Sellers) is a stuffy lawyer. He re-encounters his dippy hippie brother Herbie (David Arkin) to take him to a funeral, and is immediately disgusted by his free-living ways. But when Herbie's pal Nancy (Leigh Taylor-Young) concocts a batch of pot brownies, Harold suddenly goes nuts for the hippie life. He turns his apartment into a love shrine, where he and Nancy can, well, eat a lot of pot brownies. Will he tire of this in the end and go back to his wife-to-be (whom he left at the altar to head off with Nancy)? Who cares?

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Trail of the Pink Panther Review


Grim
In 1980, Peter Sellers died. In 1982, Trail of the Pink Panther, with Sellers as the headliner, was released by a studio hungry to capitalize further on the popular series.

Trail certainly isn't historically unique in its use of archival footage to create a role for a passed-on movie star, but it's inarguably one of the ballsiest attempts at it. Sellers isn't some bit player (like Lawrence Olivier in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), he's the star. He's Inspector freakin' Clouseau, and he's in more than half of the running time of the film.

Continue reading: Trail of the Pink Panther Review

The Millionairess Review


Weak
The richest woman in England (Sophia Loren -- an Italian, but no matter) woos an Indian doctor (Peter Sellers -- an Englishman, but no matter) who's a helper to the poor and has forsaken material wealth. The tepid setup continues as they semi-wager one another that she can't live a life of poverty for three months while he can't build a fortune out of a small nest egg. Somehow this a) leads to love and b) is meant to be a comedy.

The Pink Panther Strikes Again Review


Good
More absurdity in this fourth Sellers-as-Clouseau flick, arguably the most ridiculous in the series as his former boss (Herbert Lom) has been finally driven insane, so much so that he orders a hitman to off the bumbling inspector. And not just one hitman, 20 of them -- including Omar Sharif in a cameo -- anything to be rid of the menace of Clouseau. There's also a doomsday machine/end of the world ransom plot (later re-spoofed in the Austin Powers series), but this is of course all just the backdrop for Sellers to do his thing.

A Shot In The Dark Review


Extraordinary
The second film in the Pink Panther series doesn't mention its heritage in the title (and in fact there's no relation to the titular jewel at all in the movie), but A Shot in the Dark is widely -- and wisely -- thought to be the best film in the series of five. Peter Sellers is back as the incompetent Clouseau, this time investigating a murder at a wealthy Frenchman's (George Sanders) estate, where all signs point to the maid (Elke Sommer) as the guilty party. Clouseau refuses to see it this way, with wildly funny, slapstick, and simply crazy results. Sellers is on full tilt in this one.

The Party Review


OK
Peter Sellers makes one of his biggest character stretches here as Indian nincompoop Hrundi V. Bakshi, a film extra who accidentally demolishes the set, then finds himself mistakenly invited to a big Hollywood dinner party. His bumbling begins the moment he steps foot in the door. Literally: He loses his shoe in a fountain, doesn't have a seat at the table, and dunks a piece of artwork in the toilet. Little bizarrely hilarious moments don't quite make the movie on their own, but for Sellers and/or Blake Edwards fans, it's totally worth a look.

Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Review


Essential
Only Stanley Kubrick could make a movie about World War III and make it one of the most hilarious films ever made. No, it doesn't hurt to have Peter Sellers in your film, either. And it doesn't hurt to have him in three roles (originally he was slated to play four, but a broken leg and trouble with Slim Pickens's southern accent kept him out of the B-52 that just might bring about Armageddon).

Ranking as filmcritic.com's #1 movie of all time in our recent Top 100 Films of the Millennium feature, I suppose we have some explaining to do as to why we picked it. Not only is the movie wickedly funny, it's a subversive anti-war film that shows just how easily a conflict could erupt and the end of the world be brought about. The cast is top notch, and Sellers would have stolen the show if George C. Scott, Pickens, and Sterling Hayden didn't keep taking it back. Never for five seconds is this film less than perfect -- from its devilish gags (courtesy of co-writer Terry Southern) to its hilarious improvisations (courtesy, of course, of Sellers) to its simply unpredictable plot. I've seen this movie two dozen times and each with each viewing not only do I get something more from it, but I keep thinking the ending is going to change.

Continue reading: Dr. Strangelove, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Review

Revenge of the Pink Panther Review


OK
Peter Sellers' fifth and final performance as Clouseau, of Pink Panther fame, finds the bumbling detective the target of a French crime lord determined to boost him image by offing the notoriously hard-to-kill inspector. It's the most cartoon-like of the series (when Clouseau falls through a hole in the floor -- cut out in a circle beneath where he stands, natch -- his hat stays suspended in air on the story above), and the least memorable by a longshot. Never mind that it doesn't make a lot of sense to start with (no explanation is made for the reappearance of former inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who disintegrated himself at the end of Panther #4), and the remainder of the movie is mainly one setup for Sellers to ham it up after another. Still, what a ham, eh?

Alice In Wonderland (1966) Review


Weak
It doesn't take the Ravi Shankar soundtrack to cue you that this version of Alice in Wonderland -- just an hour long, shot for the BBC -- hails from the 1960s. Taking the story's thinly veiled drug metaphors to their ultra-serious limit, the movie has a bit of a Cheech and Chong feeling to it, and the star power of John Gielgud, Peter Sellers, and Peter Cook (among many others) conspire to ensure that Alice (Anne-Marie Mallik) doesn't even got top billing. This was one of the first of director Jonathan Miller's numerous BBC teleplays, and his greenness is apparent -- it's neither kid-friendly (the actors don't wear animal costumes, they just allude to them) nor particularly clever, coming across in the end like a kind of Alice's Greatest Hits. Finally, I know it was 1966 television, but Alice just never works in black and white. It's like The Wizard of Oz without the yellow brick road.

Being There Review


Extraordinary
If we're to believe 2004's The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, the Briton who seemingly defined the term "comic actor" was an angry shell of a man, a vacant vessel who stumbled his way through life. Given that, could there be a more brilliant or appropriate final hurrah for Sellers than Being There?

In his final big role before his death, Sellers brings to life a man called Chance, a feeble-minded and quiet middle-aged gardener in a Washington, D.C. mansion he's never left. Chance's life - which consists of tending to the small garden, taking meals prepared by another servant, and watching and mimicking television - is shattered when the patron of the manse passes away and the house is sold, forcing Chance out into the harsh world he's never experienced.

Continue reading: Being There Review

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