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  1. #1
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    I've seen this just once: an infrequent TV outing 10 or 15 years ago. No sign on DVD despite the glut of everything Sellers. Perhaps his film career was in an odd state in the early 70s (as he himself seems to have been) but this film was a delight. I found a copy of the novel recently, written by Anthony Simmons who also directed the film. I think he's still around, although I don't think I've come across anything else he's done.



    I really liked the social setting for the film, seeing parts of London we don't often see in the flesh, as well as a magical quality in an era of grit and grimaces. Sellers' role was a throwback to some of his earlier character work and was more endearing than most of his Hollywood efforts.



    Where has this film vanished to? What other quirky, unsung gems form the early 70s am I missing?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Country: UK kelp's Avatar
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    I have this in VHS and it truly is a masterclass in character acting from Peter.

  3. #3
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    This was made, IIRC, in the Panther gap period. It's a good little film and there are creditable performances all round. Sellers himself was quite proud of it, but he still sought to re-establish himself at the box office and so (somewhat inevitably) fell back on the Panthers - also assisting Blake Edwards' career out of a trough - which got broader and more ridiculous as time went on.



    SMUDGE

  4. #4
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    This is one of rare Sellers films I haven't seen. Apart from few never released, The Optimists, I think, had its opening night, and even appeared on VHS! Is it ever going to find its way onto DVD?! I mean, a whole lotta more rubbish Sellers flicks are out there, but why not this one?!?!

  5. #5
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    "The Optimists" as this the one that featured two preteen children, one sassy little girl who,when here mother told her to do something, replied,"You do it, you're closer"? I have a vague (Very) memory of Sellers pushing a baby carriage. I do remember that I liked it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mel walton
    "The Optimists" as this the one that featured two preteen children, one sassy little girl who,when here mother told her to do something, replied,"You do it, you're closer"? I have a vague (Very) memory of Sellers pushing a baby carriage. I do remember that I liked it.
    Your memory serves you well - this is indeed the film with the two children and Sellers pushing the pram...



    SMUDGE

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by adeUK
    I found a copy of the novel recently, written by Anthony Simmons who also directed the film. I think he's still around, although I don't think I've come across anything else he's done.
    Check out the excellent FOUR IN THE MORNING, with a young Judi Dench, Norman Rodway, Joe Melia and Ann Lynn - a cracker.



    He's also responsible for one of my fave bits of 'fluff and nonsense' YOUR MONEY OR YOUR WIFE with Donald Sinden, the delectable Peggy Cummins and anarchic support from Peter Reynolds and a pre-Bava Barbara Steele.







    SMUDGE

  8. #8
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    Smudge

    Thanks, nice to hear from you. all the best, mel

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    Simmons later directed "Black Joy" (1977), featuring Norman Beaton and again excellent use of London locations.



    "The Optimists of Nine Elms" is a sorely underrated film; very poignant, both in terms of Sellers' career and of Britain in the '70s. Watching it now, it seems like a vanished world: the last embers of old London and music-hall.

  10. #10
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    Those of you living near London may be interested to know that THE OPTIMISTS is showing at the NFT later this week.

    BFI | Southbank | The Optimists of Nine Elms

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Boone
    Those of you living near London may be interested to know that THE OPTIMISTS is showing at the NFT later this week.

    BFI | Southbank | The Optimists of Nine Elms
    Now, I'm jealous. I didn't know the role was written for Buster Keaton. So, the script was much older...I wonder why he didn't do it? And I wonder what would the film look like with him, though I cannot but approve the choice of a British actor with at least some experience and feeling for that very music-hall tradition.

  12. #12
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    This is definitely on my list of Most Wanteds. We'll get it one of these days...

  13. #13
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    There are a couple of clips from The Optimists on YouTube.

  14. #14
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    Due out on DVD in June in the US, to be released by Paramount.

  15. #15
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    Very boring and frustrating answer but I understood the reason Keaton didn't do it was the insurance company wouldn't support the idea due to his age and health.

    Going off on a slight tangent but staying with Sellers and classic comedians, I heard he was the first choice of Mel Brooks for the part of Max Bialystock, but didn't really listen to Brooks' pitch and wandered away from the project, to be replaced by Zero Mostel. When The Producers came out, Sellers was it's greatest advocate and fan and probably regretted not listening to Mel when he had the chance.

  16. #16
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    I was going to ask if it was worth purchasing, but this thread has already convinced me it's worth a flutter.

  17. #17
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    It's a lovely, low-key film with a great sense of time and place and charming performances. Enjoy!



    Mal

  18. #18
    Senior Member Country: Great Britain vincenzo's Avatar
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    For me this was one of Peter Sellers's finest films. Excellent stuff and highly recommended.



    Wonder whatever happened to the talented Donna Mullane?

  19. #19
    Senior Member Country: England cornershop15's Avatar
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    I'm curious to know as well. Just posted at Donna's thread, actually. Anthony Simmons died just a few weeks ago. R.I.P.


    Reviews by David Wigg (Daily Express, 25th April 1974) and Helen Frizell (Sydney Morning Herald, 10th December 1974):




    My only viewing of The Optimists of Nine Elms was an early Channel 4 broadcast, on 10th January 1984.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom May View Post
    Watching it now, it seems like a vanished world: the last embers of old London and music-hall.
    Rather like The London Nobody Knows, one of my favourite documentaries (presented by James Mason ).

  20. #20
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    A couple of more items for the moment, advertisement for the premiere at the ABC 1 Shaftesbury Avenue, April 25th 1974

    Optimists1.jpg

    and for its continuing run (until May 21) at the same cinema

    Optimists2.jpg

    which includes headlines of other critics' reviews.
    Apart from the Daily Express one I don't have any of those advertised, except one which isn't which
    is the SUNDAY Express by Richard Barkley; to long to fit into A4 scan, which apart from being a complete run-down of the film's
    narrative refers to 'Sellers' fine performance'

    Might be able to track down the Films and Filming review (if there was one).

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