❉ Two Peter Sellers films coming from Fabulous Films including worldwide DVD premiere of ‘Ghost in the Noonday Sun’.
❉ ‘Ghost in the Noonday Sun’
Cast: Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Anthony Franciosa, Clive Revill, Peter Boyle, Richard Willis, James Villiers, Rosemary Leach, Thomas Baptiste, Murray Melvin, Bill Kerr.
British comedy ‘Ghost in the Noonday Sun’, filmed in 1973 starring Peter Sellers, sees Sellers leads a motley band of pirates (Peter Boyle, Spike Milligan and Antony Franciosa) in a madcap treasure hunt adventure.
‘Ghost in the Noonday Sun’ was only released, semi-completed on VHS, in the USA after Sellers’ death (1980). The film never received a full cinematic release and this is its worldwide premiere on DVD.
Filmed in Cyprus as Russian and American warships circled, amid rising tensions that would lead to the Arab-Israel war, there was a conspiracy theory that the film was a ‘research front’ for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus a few months after production wrapped.
The film appeared to be doomed from the start, when he Greek captain delivering the pirate ship in to the harbour for filming in Cyprus was so drunk that he crashed in to the quay.
When Sellers arrived on set, said to be in the “deepest catatonic depression”, he lost confidence in the film shortly after filming began and tried to get director Peter Medak taken off the production. Unsuccessful, he did everything to prevent the film being finished.
Sellers’ un-cooperative behaviour derailed the $2 million production.
“I was blamed for it, and I blamed myself for it for 43 years.” said Director Peter Medak, who went on to direct ‘The Changeling’, ‘The Krays’ and ‘Let Him Have It’, as well as numerous TV series and movies. Medak is bringing out a feature length documentary about the troubled filming of ‘Ghost in the Noonday Sun’ next year called ‘The Ghost of Peter Sellers’.
❉ ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’
Cast: Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, Lynne Frederick, Lionel Jeffries, Elke Sommer, Gregory Sierra, Jeremy Kemp, Catherine Schell.
After the King of Ruritania dies in a hot air balloon accident, his eldest son is kidnapped by the evil prince Michael, his younger brother, who hopes to snatch the throne. To foil these dastardly plans, a stand-in is needed for the impending coronation. But will the London cabbie lookalike they’ve chosen be up to the task?
‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ was an adventure novel published in 1894. It has been adapted numerous times for film as well as stage, musical, operetta, radio and television.
The 1979 film was the first in a three picture deal Sellers signed with producer Walter Mirisch. Sellers caused his usual trouble on set, directors were fired, the film went over-budget and over-schedule. Sellers plays three roles: London taxi-driver Sydney Frewin, King Rudolph IV, and King Rudolph V (The Prisoner of Zenda).
Lynne Frederick, who played Princess Flavia, was married to Peter Sellers at the time. She became the fourth Mrs Sellers in 1977 at the age of 22. She was almost 30 years younger than her husband. Frederick filed for divorce shortly after ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’, although they were reunited before Sellers death in 1980.
The score is by Henry Mancini (‘Pink Panther’, ‘Moon River’, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’), one of the greatest composers in the history of film.
❉ ‘Ghost In the Noonday Sun’ is released on DVD by Fabulous Films Ltd/Fremantle Media Enterprises on December 12 2016, RRP £14.99
❉ ‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ is released on DVD by Fabulous Films Ltd/Fremantle Media Enterprises, on December 5 2016, RRP £14.99