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Being There (1979)

Director: Hal Ashby     Starring: Peter Sellers
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Being There DVD 1 of 1
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Learn more about Being There:

Format: DVD
Sku: 209888542
UPC: 883929037094
UPC 14: 00883929037094
See more in Comedy
A sheltered simpleton who only knows what he's watched on TV becomes a presidential advisor.
Editor's Note
BEING THERE is based on Jerzy Kosinski's short comic novel about a simpleton, Chance (Peter Sellers), raised in isolation whose only education came from watching TV. When he's forced out of the house where he worked as a gardener by the death of the wealthy recluse who raised him from infancy, he's fortuitously struck by a limousine carrying Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine), the wife of a wealthy industrialist. He's mistaken, because of his well-tailored suits, for a man of means and taken to dinner with her husband, Ben Rand (Melvyn Douglas). There, as Chauncy Gardner, his blank affect is taken for seriousness and his literal pronouncements about gardening for metaphoric economic predictions. Soon he's meeting the president (Jack Warden) and becoming a star on TV--where he's a natural.

Kosinski was well known to be personally fascinated by the power of television. In BEING THERE, which he adapted for the screen himself, he presents a comic fable about a man whose entire sense of reality came from watching television. Sellers is marvelous as the always-deadpan cipher in whom everyone he meets sees whatever it is they need to see. Shirley MacLaine, Jack Warden, and Melvyn Douglas give outstanding performances in this biting satire directed by Hal Ashby.


Video Features DVD, Deluxe Edition, Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1

Technical Info

Release Information
Video Mfg Name Studio: Warner
Video Release Date Release Date: 4/28/2009
Video Release Year Original Release Date: 1979
Video CategoryId Catalog ID: 1000042577
Video UPC UPC: 00883929037094
Video Number of Discs Number of Discs: 1

Audio & Video
Video Original Language Original Language: English
Video Audio Spec Available Audio Tracks: English
Video Color Spec Video: Color

Cast & Crew

Video Cast Info Richard Basehart
Video Cast Info Peter Sellers
Video Cast Info Shirley MacLaine
Video Cast Info Jack Warden
Video Cast Info Richard Dysart
Video Cast Info Melvyn Douglas
Video Cast Info Charles Schram - Makeup
Video Cast Info Andrew Braunsberg - Producer
Video Cast Info Jerzy Kosinski - Writer
Video Cast Info Don Zimmerman - Editor
Video Cast Info Robert Benton - Set Designer
Video Cast Info James Schoppe - Art Director
Video Cast Info Michael Haller - Production Designer
Video Cast Info Dianne Schroeder - Director of Photography
Video Cast Info Frank Westmore - Makeup
Video Cast Info Caleb Deschanel - Cinematographer
Video Cast Info Johnny Mandel - Composer
Video Cast Info Hal Ashby - Director

Memorable Quotes

"I like to watch."----Chauncy Gardner (Peter Sellers) to Eve Rand (Shirley MacLaine)

Professional Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
"...Deadpan farce....Sellers in his greatest performance..." -- Rating: A- 01/15/1999 pp.64-5

New York Times
"...A stately, beautifully acted satire....Sellers never strikes a false note..." 12/20/1979 p.C20

Chicago Sun-Times
"...A rare and subtle bird that finds its tone and sticks with it. It has the appeal of an ingenious intellectual game..." 05/25/1997 p.5

"[Chance] is a cipher both funny and frightening, making utter vacancy look like Zen inscrutability." 04/01/2004 p.64

4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] strange, evocative swan song whose charm is still strong after 30 years....It's an uncanny part for Sellers, who by repute was an empty vessel into which characters were poured." 03/01/2009

Total Film
4 stars out of 5 -- "Peter Sellers redeemed himself with one last major turn in BEING THERE....This is an exceptional comedy..." 04/01/2009

Product Attributes

Product attributeVideo Format:   DVD
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