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Being There (BD) [Blu-ray]
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After Being There was published, author Jerzy Kosinski got a telegram from its lead character Chance the Gardener: "Available in my garden or outside of it." Kosinski dialed the accompanying telephone number and Peter Sellers answered. Sellers indeed got the part and gave an indelible performance (scoring National Board of Review and Golden Globe Best Actor Awards and an Academy Award nomination*) in this modern comedy classic. Isolated all his life in a Washington, DC, townhouse, Chance knows only what hes seen on TV. Cast into the world, he stumbles into the inner circle of political power brokers (including Melvyn Douglas in his second Oscar-winning* role) eager for "sage wisdom." As Chance might say, youll like to watch.]]>
Top Customer Reviews
It's a slow starter. First time I saw it, I remember being somewhat puzzled by the opening, where Chance is revealed as a very retarded middle-aged man, trained as a gardener, who apparantly has reached his full--and extremely limited--potential. He loses his livelihood and his sheltered place to live when "the old man"--his mysterious benefactor--dies, and the lawyers in charge of the estate evict him.
My first chuckle came soon after, when he tried using his TV remote on a mugger, trying to change the experience into something more pleasant; it wasn't until this point in the film that things began to make sense to me.
Throughout the rest of the movie, scene after scene shows 'Chauncy Gardener' as a complete misfit--and highlights how we human beings, in all our frailty, create ourselves and our world through what we decide to believe. When Chancy speaks, his words are mysterious because they are short and puzzling--when those around him try to make sense of them, they take what he says as metaphors, and read wildly profound meanings in his words.
(This leads to Jerzy Kosinski's purpose for writing the novel, to highlight the foolish way people blindly swallow whatever tripe the media--and our politicians--serve up. IMO director Hal Ashby caught Jerzy's intention with this movie even better than the book did.)
At the same time that people read wisdom into his simple words, Chauncy is fully present and honest in the moment, and the other characters--to whom this is foreign--treasure that, even while they completely miss that Chance is totally clueless as to what's really going on (with one notable exception).Read more ›
The movie tells the story of a half-retarded gardener, Chance, whom one supposes is the illegitimate son of a prominent business man in Washington, D. C. This occurs in 1979, when the Carter Administration was in its last stages of faded glory. Chance, played by Peter Sellers, is left homeless when the old man dies. He then wanders the streets of the big city in search of his new life. Whatever he has learned has come from watching TV and he uses his remote control to change channels. While roaming the streets of Washington, Chance even tries his clicker in real life situations, which is very funny.
Chance then stumbles upon one of the main power brokers in D. C., a gravely-ill Ben Rand. He is played by Melvyn Douglas who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in this portrayal. Rand's wife Eve, played by Shirley MacLane, falls for Chance and a tawdry affair (on her side) ensues.Read more ›
The extras are nice, but brief. One short scene and one 'extension' plus the alternate (original) ending. Also, there's a promo piece for distributors with Peter and Hal Ashby. Nice to have these, but I'm wondering what happened to all those hours of videotapes of alternates of the whole film that I read about before. Were they poor quality or impossible to find? I heard some crumbled into dust when played back so perhaps they're gone for good.
The making of only has Illana Douglas (granddaughter of Melvyn)who was on set as a youngster. (Where is Shirley Maclaine? Most of the others are, of course, no longer with us.)
A no brainer buy for fans and if you haven't seen it - rent it!
A great performance from Peter Sellers and all involved.
The only bonus material are the recollections of Melvyn Douglas' granddaughter (16 minutes runtime, intercut with scenes from the movie) and the trailer.
Sorry, that's not luxurious, but simply ridiculous. Thanks Warner Bros. for another rip-off.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A film classic, with the incomparable Peter Sellers, Biltmore House, and Shirley McClaine. Such a great example of hearing what you want to hear instead of what's actually being... Read morePublished 41 minutes ago by Patrick Mccarthy Construction
Very insightful movie about the assumptions we make about each other. The acting is impeccable. The story may be little slow by today's standards, but what an ending!Published 2 days ago by Mitchell A. Luce
"Being There" is one of my favorite movies of all time, starring Peter Sellers in his last major film role. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Hershey baum
a very cleaver story from beginning to end. An ending you will never forget. Shows of the Genius of Peter Sellers.Published 7 days ago by Red Shield
Subtle tones of pathos, comedy and political satire at its best. Acting and dialog combine to create a genius film. It gets better with time and doesn't date. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
It is one of my all time favorite movies, doesn't stream free on any sites I know of and well worth what I paid Amazon for the DVD.Published 15 days ago by Rita W.
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