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The Last Movie Peter Sellers Was In Before He Died

Comedian Peter Sellers had a great career in films, working with directors like Stanley Kubrick, Blake Edwards, and Hal Ashby to make films that in many cases are still revered as classics today. But of course, given Sellers' prolific output, they aren't all going to be stone classics like "The Pink Panther," "Dr. Strangelove," or "Being There." And it's an unfortunate turn of fate that the last movie the actor appeared in before his death is a widely reviled commercial and critical flop.

It would be bad enough for the last film on Peter Sellers' filmography to be merely a boring or otherwise unsuccessful work, but unfortunately, his cinematic swan song crosses the threshold into offensive racial stereotyping as well. It features a character that is infamous (albeit quite popular at one time) and has actually never been seen since in any officially authorized form on the big screen. It all gives the last movie of Sellers' life an extra layer of infamy that contributes to it not being seen much today.

The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu was a sad note to go out on

Today, the Chinese supervillain Fu Manchu is mostly remembered as a character that was exceedingly racist even by the standards of early 20th-century American genre fiction. But in the '20s and '30s, he was a very popular character on the big screen, appearing in a variety of different film adaptations. Then, after a lengthy absence from movies, he came back in a series of low-budget thrillers starring Christopher Lee as Manchu. It was this resurgence that probably led to the production of a big-screen spoof, "The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu," which stars Sellers.

"The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu" was a critical and commercial failure when it came out in 1980, despite starring Sellers in one of his signature multiple roles, primarily that of both Manchu and his recurring archenemy adventurer Nayland Smith, plus a couple of other minor roles in the film. The movie also featured Helen Mirren and Disney stock player David Tomlinson.

For various reasons, "The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu" is not the way that fans choose to remember Peter Sellers. This is probably why it has mostly faded into obscurity today.