Two early Peter Sellers films are set to be restored and shown at the 2014 Southend Film Festival.
The 1947 films – Dearth of a Salesman and Insomnia is Good For You – were thought to be lost but were found in a London skip by Robert Farrow when the offices of the now defunct Park Lane Films were being cleared out.
Mr Farrow, who lives in Thorpe Bay, Southend on Sea said: “As the building manager it was my job to oversee that each floor of the property was properly cleared prior to refurbishment back in 1996.
“I spotted 21 film cans in a skip outside the office block and thought they would be good for storing my Super 8 collection in. I took them home, put them in a cupboard and pretty much forgot about them. During a recent clear out I found them again and decided to see what the tins contained – it was then I realised they were two Sellers films including the negatives, titles, show prints, outtakes and the master print.
“It was amazing. I knew I had something, but it wasn’t until I called Paul Cotgrove from The White Bus, who organises the Southend Film Festival, that it dawned on me that I’d found something very special indeed.”
“I received Robert’s phone call out of the blue” said Cotgrove, adding: “He said he thought he had some Peter Sellers films and asked if I’d like to show them as part of next year’s Film Festival.
“Of course, I was interested straight away – but when I did some research I was gobsmacked to see that the two films are widely regarded by film historians as being ’lost’ Peter Sellers movies. Robert’s find is the Dead Sea Scrolls of the Film World.”