Okay, so there are two contenders for the crown of greatest ever film star if we whittle it down to a straight fight: Jimmy Cagney – sponsor, Orson Welles – and Pe’er Sellers – sponsor, Creamguide(Films). There isn’t time or space in any format shorter than the magnificent tome that is The Life and Death of Peter Sellers by loony Roger Lewis to cogitate on the subject as a whole. So instead we’ll just say that if any of the usual suspects (except anyone in The Usual Suspects of course, who hardly rate on the lowest star equivalent Cumbria-bothering reaches of the Richter Scale) have given any better performances than the fun, subtely, nuance, slapstick, pathos, tragedy, proper laugh out loud comedy on show in roles loke Wee Sonny MacGregor, Rev John Smallwood, Clouseau, The March Hare, Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, Pearly Gates, John Lewis or Count Mountjoy – and that’s hardly even scraping the surface – then it’s entirely passed us by. But it hasn’t and he’s the best.
FINEST HOUR: How to choose? But despite what snobs might purport to be the contrarywise case, attempting to pull Herbert Lom’s tooth while whacked out on nitrus oxide as his nose drops off runs everything pretty close. “There is the naughty one!”