Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Being There - The Missing Outtakes (Warning - Mild Cursing)...

Speaking of Peter Sellers, my favorite movie of his in not one from the Pink Panther series, but a 1979 film called Being There. Seller's performance is completely understated and quite amazing, and he was nominated for Best Actor (though the oscar for best actor was ultimately won by Dustin Hoffman for Kramer vs Kramer, but Melvyn Douglas did win the best supporting actor oscar for his role as the rich industrialist who befriends Chance). Sadly, Sellers died of a heart attack the following year.

From Wikipedia:

Being There depicts the story of a man named Chance (Sellers) who grows up in the townhouse of a wealthy man in Washington, D.C.. Chance has lived in the house his whole life, tending the garden, with virtually no contact with the outside world. Chance's cultural and social education is derived entirely from what he watches on the television sets provided by the man who brought him up, the "Old Man" as he refers to him.

When his benefactor dies, Chance, now apparently in his late forties, is forced to leave his sheltered existence in the house and discover the world outside for the first time. In the evening Chance comes across a TV shop and sees himself in one of the TVs, due to a camera in the shop window. While watching himself in it he is adventitiously struck by a car owned by a wealthy businessman named Ben Rand (Douglas). Chance is invited into the Rands' home to recover from his injured leg. Chance's name is interpreted by Rand's wife Eve (MacLaine) as "Chauncey Gardiner" rather than "Chance the gardener". Rand and Eve believe that Chance is a businessman who has gone bust and take him under their wing. His simplistic, indeliberate utterances, which mostly concern the garden of which he was once steward, are interpreted as allegorical statements of deep wisdom.


Several years after the film came out, and when my family still had the lake cabin, I rented the VHS version of Being There to watch with the family one summer Saturday night. I rented it primarily because it is a great movie, but also because I wanted to see the outtakes that ran during the final credits. I remembered that they were hilarious and I was anxious to see them for the first time since seeing the movie in the theatre. I built up how funny the outtakes were but at the end of the move - no outtakes. Drat!

I figured that I would never see them again. While they undoubtedly are part of the extras in the Being There DVD, I never bought it and instead decided to search YouTube and...viola...it was there.

Now, while I find the outtakes very funny, I always thought it was a bit inappropriate to have out of character outtakes during the credits of what was a very darkly humored film. It was good to see that Peter Sellers himself also disagreed with the inclusion of the outtakes - and perhaps that is why they were removed from the VHS rental version.

Also from Wikipedia:

While the credits are rolling the viewers see bloopers from a scene that does not appear in the movie: Sellers, lying on an operating bed, tries in vain to quote inner-city slang and swearwords with a straight face and ends up chuckling instead. The audience gets to see Peter Sellers "out of character" — the opposite of how his character has been portrayed. Outtakes like these being shown in a major Hollywood production were very rare at the time, and Sellers disapproved of the decision to include them.[

Again, there is some mild swearing, so be forewarned.

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