Chosen by the British public to be digitised by the BFI in 2016, Peter Sellers directs and stars in this bittersweet character comedy based on a Marcel Pagnol short story.
Described by Sellers' biographer, Roger Lewis, as a ‘lost classic’, Mr Topaze marked the actor's official directorial debut, and teams him with his Ladykillers (1955) and Pink Panther series co-star Herbert Lom in a cast that also features Billie Whitelaw, Leo McKern, John le Mesurier and Joan Sims.
Playing the eponymous Mr Topaze, a poor, provincial French schoolteacher slowly corrupted by big business, Sellers’ is at the peak of his powers. Unseen for decades, this lost British comedy classic is available for the first time on Blu-ray and DVD and is essential viewing for fans of Sellers’ unique brand of humour.
BFI Flipside is dedicated to rediscovering the margins of British film, reclaiming a space for forgotten movies and filmmakers who would otherwise be in danger of disappearing from our screens forever. It is a home for UK cinematic oddities, offering everything from exploitation documentaries to B-movies, countercultural curios and obscure classics, If it's weird, British and forgotten, then it's Flipside.
Let’s Go Crazy (1951, 33 mins): a nightclub-set madcap variety show featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan
The Running Jumping & Standing Still Film (1960, 11 mins): Richard Lester and Peter Sellers’ Goonish comic short, featuring Sellers, Spike Milligan and Leo McKern
Film Star: Peter Sellers (1967, 37 mins): a profile of the actor and comedian
Maurice Woodruff Interview (1967, 19 mins): Peter Sellers’ favourite clairvoyant interviewed by Bernard Braden for a TV series, Now and Then, that was never made
John Boulting Interview (1967, 21 mins): the director discusses his relationship with Sellers in an unbroadcast Now and Then interview with Bernard Braden Peter Sellers at the NFT (1960, 97 mins, audio only): the actor addresses an enthusiastic throng of fans
Abigail McKern Interview (2019, 20 mins ): the daughter of Leo McKern discusses the great actor’s life and career
The Poetry of Realism (2019, 13 mins): journalist Kat Ellinger’s video essay on Marcel Pagnol, the writer of the film’s theatrical source, Topaze