(June 16, 2014 – Niagara, Ontario) Long before he was Inspector Clouseau – or even Dr. Strangelove – Peter Sellers debuted his acting chops in a series of pre-feature film shorts, co-written by Lewis Greiffer (Dr. Who, Danger Man) and future Canlit legend Mordecai Richler. Now, 50 years later, these films – known collectively as Hector Dimwittie Trilogy – will be making their Canadian debut on Friday June 20 at the inaugural Niagara Integrated Film Festival.
The three half-hour films include Dearth Of A Salesman, Insomnia Is Good For You, and Cold Comfort, and follow the misadventures of one Hector Dimwittie, a lovable loser on a quest to become Britain’s most successful salesman – pitching everything from tape recorders to toilet paper.
The quirky black-and-white films take an anti-authoritarian stance, characteristic of post-war Britain, and they showcase Sellers’ amazing character comedy. Sellers would break out the following year in three features, including The Mouse That Roared.
“There was great interest among film festivals worldwide to get their hands on this treasure trove of film history,” says NIFF Founder Bill Marshall, “so a real coup for us and the inaugural edition of this festival. And my friend Ted Kotcheff (pictured) promises to tell the best showbiz stories about Peter Sellers you’ve never heard.”
The Hector Dimwittie Trilogy was initially planned as a series of 10 shorts, but the project fell by the wayside. The Peter Sellers-Mordecai Richler collaboration – including negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and master print – sat on a private shelf for years after the 1996 bankruptcy of London’s Park Lane films. Robert Farrow, who rescued them, offered them to Britain’s Southend Film Festival, where they debuted in May of last year.
The Niagara Integrated Film Festival, on Friday June 20, at Ravine Vineyards, in a special Filmalicious Event. Click here for a link to the NIFF and to other June film festivals.