Saturday, July 11, 2015
“I like to watch.” Such is the mantra of Chance (Peter Sellers), a simple-minded guy who’s led a sheltered life on the Washington D.C. estate of a wealthy old man, tending his garden and gleaning all he knows from television. When his protector dies, he’s released into a society he’s ill-equipped to navigate (he’s surprised that threatening people don’t disappear when he clicks his remote at them). Soon Chance the gardener is mistaken for sage “Chauncey Gardiner,” as his horticultural truisms are read as allegories for economic trends (“As long as the roots are not severed, all is well”)—becoming a media darling and confidant to a dying tycoon (Oscar winner Melvyn Douglas) with the ear of the U.S. President. Sellers struggled for nearly a decade to adapt Jerzy Kosinski’s satirical novel, finding a like-minded director in Apatow favorite and acknowledged influence Hal Ashby and offering a poignant performance.