Peter Medak, the Hungarian-born director of The Ruling Class and The Krays, has a varied and successful filmography spanning more than 55 years in film and television. From the outside looking in, one would think the man has no cause for regret or any reason to look back. But like many of us, it’s his failures that haunt him.
Medak’s latest project, The Ghost of Peter Sellers, is a cathartic journey through the cringe-worthy making of the unreleased 1973 farce Ghost in the Noonday Sun, starring Sellers and Spike Milligan. As documented in excruciating detail, the film should never have been green-lighted for production, but with Sellers and Milligan at the top of their game and Medak’s star on the rise, it was an irresistible opportunity. However, plagued by mishaps and the madcap caprice of Sellers, Sun was an epic failure that could have cost Medak his career.
In spite of the toll, one gets the feeling that Medak would probably do it all over again. He says, “I loved [Sellers]. It was great to be there for a second, whatever the pain it caused.” Part mea culpa and part vindication, this labor of love is for real cinephiles — and hopefully, it will set Medak free from the titular specter.
Available to rent starting May 22 via grailmoviehouse.com