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Being There

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Hal Ashby made a number of stand-out films in the 70s, films that looked at human nature in offbeat stories that didn't feel like they came from a mold. When Peter Sellers presented him with the opportunity to direct an adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski's novella "Being There" shortly after the book's publication, he loved the idea and spent the next 9 years working to find the funding to get it made. The film was finally released in 1979 and was considered by many to be Peter Sellers' return to greatness. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Richard Dysart series with this fantastic film.

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"Don't worry, he might be a breath of fresh air."

Hal Ashby made a number of stand-out films in the 70s, films that looked at human nature in offbeat stories that didn’t feel like they came from a mold. When Peter Sellers presented him with the opportunity to direct an adaptation of Jerzy Kosinski’s novella “Being There” shortly after the book’s publication, he loved the idea and spent the next 9 years working to find the funding to get it made. The film was finally released in 1979 and was considered by many to be Peter Sellers’ return to greatness. Join us — Pete Wright and Andy Nelson — as we continue our Richard Dysart series with this fantastic film. We look at the era of the film and, while it’s certainly a 70s film, it still feels timeless. We talk about the nature of Sellers’s fascinating portrayal of Chance the Gardener (or as Chauncey Gardiner, as he comes to be known), and what our own interpretations of this character are. We chat about the way the film ends and what we think Kosinski and Ashby were wanting to say… if anything. We discuss the nature of the footage during the end credits and debate whether it takes away from the mysterious and beautiful mood the end of the film creates or not. And we discuss both cast and crew in this film, including the wonderful Richard Dysart who brings an amazing, quiet gracefulness to his benevolent doctor who is the only one not fooled by Sellers’ Chance. It’s a film we love and love to discuss. Watch it and tune in!

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