MR. TOPAZE
1961, Film Movement, 97 min, UK, Dir: Peter Sellers

Unwilling to sacrifice his principles, Auguste Topaze (Peter Sellers), a poor but proud French schoolmaster, loses his job after he refuses to alter the failing grades of one of students. Seizing the opportunity to exploit his well-known honesty, actress Suzy Courtois (Nadia Gray) convinces her lover, the corrupt city council member Castel Benac (Herbert Lom), to hire Topaze as a managing director for one of his shady businesses. But when Topaze learns he is being used, he cunningly turns the tables on his deceivers and makes off with all of the money. Seller’s first and only credited directorial feature, MR. TOPAZE displays the British comic genius at the peak of his powers alongside his future PINK PANTHER nemesis Herbert Lom and a stellar supporting cast that includes Leo McKern, Billie Whitelaw and Michael Gough. Believed to be “lost” for years, MR. TOPAZE was digitally restored from the lone surviving 35mm print in the BFI archives at the request of the British public.


THE MOUSE THAT ROARED
1959, Sony Repertory, 83 min, UK, Dir: Jack Arnold

“The Hilarious Story of How the Duchy of Grand Fenwick Waged War on the U.S. - and Won!” Jack Arnold (THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON) may have seemed a strange choice to helm this satirical comedy about a tiny nation going to war with America to lose, then reap massive foreign aid, but he succeeds beautifully. Peter Sellers riotously pulls off one of his first stabs at multiple roles, portraying Grand Duchess Gloriana, Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy and Tully Bascombe. Costarring Jean Seberg, Leo McKern and David Kossoff. “…nicely done and often hilarious.” – Don Druker, The Chicago Reader.


THE LAST VALLEY
1971, Buena Vista Pictures, 128 min, UK/USA, Dir: James Clavell

Writer-director James Clavell’s epic adventure takes place in the shadow of the Thirty Years War, which ravaged Germany in the 17th century. One remote region remains unscathed when Omar Sharif arrives in search of refuge; unfortunately, he’s been followed into the valley by Michael Caine and his band of mercenary soldiers. With superb performances, a highly literate script and one of John Barry’s best scores, THE LAST VALLEY brings a little-known period of history to vivid life.


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