Hal Ashby

Being There

Being There

In one of his most finely tuned performances, Peter Sellers plays the pure-hearted, childlike Chance, a gardener who is forced into the wilds of Washington, D.C., when his wealthy guardian dies. Shocked to discover that the real world doesn’t respond to the click of a remote, Chance stumbles into celebrity after being taken under the wing of a tycoon (Melvyn Douglas, in an Oscar-winning performance), who mistakes his protégé’s horticultural mumblings for sagacious pronouncements on life and politics, and whose wife (Shirley MacLaine) targets Chance as the object of her desire. Adapted from a novel by Jerzy Kosinski, this satire, both deeply melancholy and hilarious, is the culmination of Hal Ashby’s remarkable string of films in the 1970s, and a carefully modulated examination of the ideals, anxieties, and media-fueled delusions that shaped American culture during that decade.

Film Info

  • Hal Ashby
  • United States
  • 1979
  • 130 minutes
  • Color
  • 1.85:1
  • English
  • Spine #864

Special Features

  • 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 Kosinski in a 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Appearances from 1980 by actor Peter Sellers on NBC’s Today and on The Don Lane Show
  • Promo reel featuring Sellers and Ashby
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • Deleted scene, outtakes, and alternate ending
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • 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 Kosinski in a 1979 appearance on The Dick Cavett Show
  • Appearances from 1980 by actor Peter Sellers on NBC’s Today and on The Don Lane Show
  • Promo reel featuring Sellers and Ashby
  • Trailer and TV spots
  • Deleted scene, outtakes, and alternate ending
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Mark Harris
Being There
Cast
Peter Sellers
Chance
Shirley MacLaine
Eve Rand
Melvyn Douglas
Benjamin Rand
Jack Warden
President Bobby
Richard Dysart
Dr. Robert Allenby
Richard Baseheart
Vladimir Skrapinov
Ruth Attaway
Louise
Dave Clennon
Thomas Franklin
Fran Brill
Sally Hayes
Credits
Director
Hal Ashby
Produced by
Andrew Braunsberg
Executive producer
Jack Schwartzman
Associate producer
Charles B. Mulvehill
Screenplay by
Jerzy Kosinksi
Screenplay by
Robert C. Jones
Based on the novel by
Jerzy Kosinski
Cinematographer
Caleb Deschanel
Music by
Johnny Mandel
Film editor
Don Zimmerman
Production designer
Michael Haller
Costume designer
May Routh

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