The Ghost of Peter Sellers

The Ghost of Peter Sellers

USA | 2018 | 93 min. | Peter Medak

May 22 - June 11, 2020

Virtual SIFF Cinema

A feature-length documentary directed by Peter Medak that tells the tale of his ill-fated Hollywood 17th Century pirate comedy shot in Cyprus starring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan in 1973. The documentary is about the making of that film and what happened behind the scenes, which was more outrageous and funnier than the actual movie itself.

By 1973, Peter Sellers was one of the most accomplished and recognizable comic actors working in the British entertainment industry. He'd already established a notorious reputation for being controlling and unpredictable by his peers when the young Hungarian-British film director Peter Medak teamed with him to film Ghost in the Noonday Sun, a 'Goons at sea' tale Medak would describe as "the biggest disaster" of his life. Unable to navigate saboteur Sellers' wild mood swings and numerous set absences—coupled with open-ocean filming fiascos and mounting production costs—the crew mutinied under Sellers' leadership, and the film capsized with Medak absorbing its infamous legacy. Forty-three years later, Medak reexamines the comically doomed production that nearly imploded his promising career with the support of surviving key players and members of Sellers' ever-shifting inner circle.

"A remarkable film... In spite of all the trouble Sellers caused, Medak still loves and admires him and wanted to tell this story."—Leonard Maltin, leonardmaltin.com

"This can't-take-your-eyes-off-it documentary feels like both a mea culpa and a purge of lingering ghosts."—Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

  • Director: Peter Medak
  • Principal Cast: Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Peter Medak
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 93 min.
  • Producer: Paul Iacovou
  • Cinematographers: Christopher Sharman
  • Editors: Joby Gee, David Hands
  • Website: Official Film Website

Peter Sellers

Staff Picks: The Comic Genius of Peter Sellers

To celebrate our Virtual SIFF Cinema opening of The Ghost of Peter Sellers, we asked our staff to offer up their favorite films featuring the comic genius of the much-beloved and dearly missed actor. See what our cinema-obsessed colleagues hit back with in response to the question.

See the List