Friday, 8 May 2009

The Bobo

Image from The Wonderful World of Movies.

I recently watched Sellers in The Bobo and was impressed with the film as a whole. It features Peter Sellers as Juan Bautista, a singing Toreador and Britt Ekland as Olimpia Segura the seductress with an eye for fast cars and Mink coats. The Bobo was directed by Robert Parrish, who was also one of the six directors involved in the James Bond spoof Casino Royale (1967), his set of directing sequences involved Peter Sellers and Orson Welles. Robert also played an uncredited role of a Newspaper Boy in Charlie Chaplin's City Lights. He also won an Academy Award for editing with the film Body and Soul.

Robert although an acclaimed editor did not edit The Bobo, instead that job was left to John Jympson (The original editor of Star Wars who got the sack half way through), John's other notable editing credits are A Hard Days Night and the Frank Oz version of Little Shop of Horrors with Steve Martin and Co.

The Bobo features a classic Peter Sellers portrait in Blue. I shan't tell you how he got that way as it would spoil the story. The film is humorous, playful, and Peter Sellers seems to be warming up in this role for what would be one of his most classic characters, Hrundi V. Bakshi in Blake Edwards The Party. Britt Ekland plays her role really well, she's able to gather meaning from things without having to give the slightest facial expression, like Buster Keaton, she can remain expressionless whilst performing the most unusual scenes. In one scene she gushes at a convertible sport's car, and approaching it she proceeds to rub her buttocks against the side of its bonnet.

Although set in Spain, this film is mostly made up of Italians passing for Spaniards. Bobo in Spanish means 'dim-witted' person, or closer still, naive. Juan Bautista is totally naive, but then again so is Olimpia in her own way. There are some perfect contained scenes in The Bobo where Peter Sellers is able to let his lunacy loose in the moment. I put this film in my classic Seller's basket, and if you enjoy 1960's cinema as I do, you'll find this one very satisfying.

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