Being There Blu-ray
The Criterion Collection
Criterion | 1979 | 130 min | Rated PG | Mar 21, 2017
Single disc (1 BD-50)
Being There (The Criterion Collection)(1979) Blu-ray
'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) of the United States and becoming a star on TV--where he's a natural.
Director: Hal Ashby
Writers: Jerzy Kosinski, Robert C. Jones
Starring: Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Basehart, Richard Dysart
Synopsis: In one of his most finely tuned performances, Peter Sellers plays the pure-hearted Chance, a gardener forced out of moneyed seclusion and into the urban wilds of Washington, D.C., after the death of his employer. Shocked to discover that the real world doesn't respond to the click of a remote, Chance stumbles haplessly into celebrity after being taken under the wing of a tycoon (Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas), who mistakes his new protégé's mumbling about horticulture for sagacious pronouncements on life and politics, and whose wife targets Chance as the object of her desire. Adapted from a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this hilarious, deeply melancholy satire marks the culmination a remarkable string of films by Hal Ashby in the 1970s, and serves as a carefully modulated examination of the ideals, anxieties, and media-fueled delusions that shaped American culture during that decade.
- NEW, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Caleb Deschanel, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
- New documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with members of the production team
- Excerpts from a 1980 American Film Institute seminar with director Hal Ashby
- Author Jerzy Kosinksi in a 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show
- Appearances from 1980 by actor Peter Sellers on NBC's Today and The Don Lane Show
- Promo reel featuring Sellers and Ashby
- Trailer and TV spots
- Deleted scene, outtakes, and an alternate ending
- PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris
STREET DATE: MARCH 21.