watched being there again directed by hal ashby and starring peter sellers. painful and endearing, reminded me of watching the english version of the office, which has many more cringe inducing moments than its american counterpart. glad to see sellers fought for the role and that it is one that he was most proud of. and ill agree with his assessment that adding humourous outtakes to the credits (as enjoyable as they are) diminishes the ending somewhat. to see sellers out of character breaks the spell he casts over the course of the film. i wonder if that was ashbys decision or the studios. i had a similar reaction the other day while watching redford in the great gatsby. not a great film but not terrible either yet after the climactic moment where gatsby is murdered to end the film rather than lingering on the tragedy of the moment, whoever was in charge of the film decided it needed to end on an upbeat note, so an anonymous brood of flappers on a sailboat outing flit across the screen to the accompaniment of some jazz age fluff. in my mindseye i could hear the studio execs suggesting that the ending was "too depressing" and that they wanted moviegoers to leave the theater whistling a happy tune. no wonder fitzgerald was a failure as a hollywood screenwriter.

couple of other bits from being there. here are two clips that caught my eye among the many that were paraded across the screen as backround noise.

buffy ste. marie on sesame street

bakshi-animated basketball jones voiced by cheech & chong

also the biltmore estate in ashville, nc, the largest privately owned house in america.
- dave 7-09-2008 8:00 pm

"Hal always wanted to use a series of outtakes for the final credits. Obviously that's one of the things you have to do at the last minute, because until the final edit is locked down you don't know what the outtakes are. So Hal handed in the film with the final credits over a compilation of TV commercials just to get the film in on deadline, then got to work on the outtakes ending.
When he tried to hand it in, the studio refused to accept it or send it out. The film opened small, to just a half dozen theaters. Hal personally went to each theater, went to the projection booth, knocked on the door and said to the projectionist "Hi, I'm Hal Ashby, the director of the film. The studio put in the wrong ending, but I've got the right one with me. How about if we edit it in?" The projectionists were all thrilled to meet him and gladly helped him out.
When the studio found out, they got the last laugh. Hal's contract specifically stated that he was to be paid his director's fee "upon proper delivery of a completed film." They didn't consider receiving a film with two endings "proper delivery," and they used that as an excuse not to pay him. Ten years later, when I first met Hal, he still hadn't gotten paid for directing Being There."
- dave 7-09-2008 8:42 pm [add a comment]

The Last Detail is one of my faves.
- steve 7-17-2008 10:52 pm [add a comment]

its on tcm right now. seems like every five or six years is a good interval for viewing. my first impression was that this was another odd film to have first viewed as a 10 year old. i guess my parents saw that it was starring peter sellers and assumed it was more of a broad comedy. i still recall liking it at the time maybe because his character is so childlike.
- dave 9-04-2014 1:45 am [add a comment]

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