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Peter Sellers Collection (I'm All Right Jack/Heavens Above!/Hoffman/Two-Way Stretch/The Smallest Show on Earth/Carlton-Browne of the F.O.)

4.1 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An inspired actor as well as a comic genius, the late Peter Sellers left a body of work that reflects his extraordinary range, sense of the absurd and singular ability to morph from one bizarre character to another. Prepare to howl helplessly as you revel in these six masterworks: Two-Way Stretch, The Smallest Show on Earth, I'm All Right Jack, Hoffman, Heavens Above! and Carlton-Browne of the O. DVD extras include a revealing biography of Sellers. About 10 hours on 6 DVDs.

The Peter Sellers Collection includes six British comedies in which Sellers plays leading or supporting roles. The Smallest Show on Earth (1957) is among the run of gentle British comedies in the 1950s in which outmoded and broken-down local institutions were saved by collections of committed eccentrics. Aspiring novelist Bill Travers and his wife Virginia McKenna inherit a cinema from a hitherto unknown uncle and discover that it isn't the sumptuous modern Grand, but the decrepit Bijou, with a drunken projectionist played by Sellers.

In 1959's I'm All Right Jack, Sellers plays both Sir John Kennaway and, unforgettably, the trade union leader Fred Kite. The result is laugh-out-loud comedy with a satiric edge, lampooning the then-burning issue of industrial relations. The brothers John and Roy Boulting also directed and produced such British classics as Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959), in which Seller's unscrupulous prime minister is upstaged by Terry-Thomas as the idiot son of a great ambassador, and Heavens Above (1963), in which Sellers gives an unusually low-key performance as a young vicar whose tendencies to interpret Christian doctrines in his own individualistic way, rather than conform to church traditions, leads to all kinds of chaos.

The great crime comedy Two Way Stretch (1960) is about imprisoned crooks who hatch a scheme to pull off a heist with a perfect alibi by breaking out, doing the job, and then breaking back in to serve out their sentences. Sellers, usually an eccentric support in these things, takes a rare lead as cocky mastermind Dodger Lane.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas, Peter Sellers, Richard Attenborough, Dennis Price
  • Directors: Alvin Rakoff, Basil Dearden, Jeffrey Dell, John Boulting, Robert Day
  • Writers: Alan Hackney, Ernest Gebler
  • Format: Box set, Black & White, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 6
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: January 21, 2003
  • Run Time: 592 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007AJEC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,434 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Peter Sellers Collection (I'm All Right Jack/Heavens Above!/Hoffman/Two-Way Stretch/The Smallest Show on Earth/Carlton-Browne of the F.O.)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on November 11, 2003
Format: DVD
Peter Sellers, often written off as a talented mimic, was actually a superb actor, if he found his character's "voice". He's been unfortunately typecast (I have a friend who thought he was French!) as Clouseau, and he may actually be the finest slapstick comedian after the end of the silent era. This collection is a treasure trove for anyone who wants to see him in early or obscure work, but the movies are ineven in quality and tone. Also of interest in that all these movies he plays a single character (even in the early, unincluded, "Only Two Can Play" he lapsed into multiple accents. CARLTON-BROWNE OF THE F.O. is really a Terry-Thomas vehicle with Sellers in support. Like all Cold War comedies its plot (such as it is, about the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. all trying to discover the secrets of a small island under British protection) is quaint and hardly funny, but there are enough bright spots to recommend the movie as a whole (the scenes between Terry-Thomas and Thorley Walters are invariably delightful). THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH has a young Sellers, again in a supporting role, playing the aged projectionist in a run-down theatre; again, the bright spots are scattered but for anyone who likes old movies and quiet humor will find enough not to have wasted his time with it. HEAVENS ABOVE, a satire on Communism, using the Church as a vehicle for its representation, has Sellers in the lead as a mis-appointed Anglican clergyman who turns his parish on its head; but the movie eventually plays against itself with its serious undertones.Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The half-dozen British-made films featured in THE PETER SELLERS COLLECTION are nicely dubbed. There's no "extras" with this set.

Best IMO is HOFFMAN. In what is essentially a two-character psychological study, Sellers portrays a lonely middle-aged businessman who blackmails a young girl from the office pool into spending a week with him. At first she's totally creeped out, but in time gets to better understand the importunate Mr. H.

I'M ALL RIGHT JACK! has some great sight gags and adult humor. It's the story of a young man at loose ends after returning from WWII who's trying to decide on a career path.

HEAVENS ABOVE is a good satire on both religion and commercialism, but it's spoiled by a silly "minister in space" finale.

THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH is an early success for Sellers, who plays an elderly projectionist in a rundown movie theater.

CARLETON-BROWNE is a mediocre Terry-Thomas political farce where Sellers is wasted as the corrupt prime minister of an island nation long affiliated wth Britain. Not very funny or entertaining.

TWO WAY STRETCH is a neatly done prison comedy that has Sellers pulling a heist with an ironclad alibi for protection: supposedly he's incarcerated when this crime occurs.

Parenthetical numbers preceding titles are 1 to 10 imdb viewer poll ratings.

(6.9) The Smallest Show On Earth (Big Time Operators) (UK-1957) - Virginia McKenna/Bill Travers/Margaret Rutherford/Peter Sellers/Bernard Miles

(6.1) Carleton-Browne of the F.O. (Man in a Cócked Hat) (UK-1959) - Terry-Thomas/Peter Sellers/Luciana Paluzzi/Ian Bannen

(7.0) Two Way Stretch (UK-1960) - Peter Sellers/David Lodge/Bernard Cribbins/Wilfrid Hyde-White/Lionel Jeffries

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4.6 stars

Very surprised that there's only one review of this lovely film here! We got it during our present Peter Sellers mania; we're trying to see everything he was in and this was on the list as one of his first. His role is in fact a supporting, low-key one, yet he gently plays it to the hilt and is very entertaining.

But what makes this film so fun is that the same can be said for everyone in it. There's not a duff performance in the lot, and McKenna and Travers are so thoroughly likeable that the film just made us smile the entire time. William Rose's script is crisp and friendly, and one of the best things about SSOE is that it's 80 compact minutes, leaving one hungry for more instead of overstuffed, as with so many comedies. Director Dearden is to be commended for not wasting a second; one of the other best features of this film is the very swift cuts from thought to action, which keeps one interested; little time is wasted on leisurely exposition, yet the film never feels rushed.

Smallest Show is in fact a model of post-war British comedy, one of the best I've seen of a generally fine genre. There's a genuinely warm heart to this film that produces a pleasant glow in the viewer; we just watched this black and white gem on a gray, rainy Sunday afternoon in early March, and the fit was perfect. One of those movie-viewing experiences that we will remember fondly as the years go by, actually, and that's thanks to the warm, friendly spirit of this movie. It's clear that all involved were enjoying themselves, and that synergy produced a quietly unassuming comedy classic.
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