Your Past Is Showing


1h 32m 1958
Your Past Is Showing

Brief Synopsis

Bumbling blackmail subjects join forces to do in their tormentor.

Film Details

Also Known As
Naked Truth
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
1958
Distribution Company
J Arthur Rank Organization

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Synopsis

Nigel Dennis publishes a scandal magazine. But for each story he writes, he first approaches the person whose scandalous behavior is described (or rather implied, to avoid any libel suit) and says he will suppress the story in return for money. Several of his victims first decide individually to kill him instead of paying, but fail in amusing ways. Then they find that to protect their various secrets they must now join forces for a rather different purpose...

Film Details

Also Known As
Naked Truth
Genre
Comedy
Crime
Release Date
1958
Distribution Company
J Arthur Rank Organization

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 32m
Sound
Mono
Color
Black and White

Articles

Your Past Is Showing - Your Past is Showing


By the time he starred in the delightfully caustic farce, Your Past Is Showing (1958), Peter Sellers was already a very popular performer in England. His work on the groundbreaking radio program, The Goon Show, helped establish a bizarre strain of British humor that would eventually lead to everything from The Beatles' pop surrealism to Monty Python's loose-screw dismantling of upper-class mores. No one could deny Sellers' brilliantly twisted creations. However, in the world of cinema, he remained just another amusing character actor, albeit one with a major cult following.

Sellers sensed - and prayed - that his role in Your Past Is Showing (titled The Naked Truth in England) would finally establish him on the big screen. "I want to be a star like mad," he said. "This is my first starring role in a film. I hope it clicks, because then I can get my teeth into other interesting roles. That's what being a star means to me- being able to pick and choose."

And so he became a star. It was obvious that his acerbic performance as TV personality Sonny MacGregor was the work of a supremely gifted actor. Your Past Is Showing's minimal plot revolves around a "scandal sheet editor" (Dennis Price) who tells an assortment of famous people that he'll suppress damaging stories about them if they pay him a few thousand pounds. Sellers' Sonny is a vicious, two-faced swine, but that's par for the course in this picture. These people actually deserve to be blackmailed.

When Your Past Is Showing scored big with audiences and critics alike, the challenging parts that Sellers had long dreamed of poured in. Unfortunately, he could often be a cruel man, and had trouble handling success. His old friend, Kenneth Griffith, once said of him, "He was most of the time melancholy and troubled by his own fate...I don't think he ever tackled a job, so far as I know, without this compulsion that he couldn't do it, and must get out of it."

According to co-star Terry Thomas (in Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers by Ed Sikov), Sellers 'made one of his "protests" during shooting. He turned to [director] Mario Zampi and shouted, "The way you are making this film is ridiculous. You can't direct! I know much more about the camera than you do. I'll give you one more take and then I'm off!" Mario didn't reply. He stood there, shocked.'

In the wake of his first big-screen triumph, Sellers landed a plum stage role in the political satire, Brouhaha. His off-stage behavior on that production was just the beginning of what would become a lifelong proclivity toward abusing his star power.

National Theater director Sir Peter Hall later recounted Sellers' conduct: "He proved a very confident performer- at first. He was quick to take direction, good at imposing himself on the material, very eager to contribute some inspired touches." But there was a disturbing about-face by the time the show opened. "He didn't show up at the run-through," Hall said. "He missed the dress rehearsal. He confessed he'd got cold feet." When Brouhaha also became a hit, Sellers would casually alter the play at will. These unannounced departures from the planned dialogue and staging hardly endeared him to his cast mates, not that that bothered him in the least.

That's how it went with Sellers. By the time he died of a heart attack in 1980, this troubled, utterly dazzling comic performer had been married four times and had made enemies on just about every set he ever worked. His semi-controllable devilishness is probably why Sonny MacGregor is such a memorable creation. Sellers was acting, all right, but not as much he wanted everyone to think he was.

Director/Producer: Mario Zampi
Screenplay: Michael Pertwee
Cinematography: Stanley Pavey
Editing: Bill Lewthwaite
Art Direction: Ivan King
Principal Cast: Terry-Thomas (Lord Henry Mayley), Peter Sellers (Sonny MacGregor), Peggy Mount (Flora Ransom), Shirley Eaton (Melissa Right), Dennis Price (Nigel Dennis), Georgina Cookson (Lady Lucy Mayley), Joan Sims (Ethel Ransom), Miles Malleson (Rev. Cedric Bastable).
B&W-88m.

by Paul Tatara

Your Past Is Showing - Your Past Is Showing

Your Past Is Showing - Your Past is Showing

By the time he starred in the delightfully caustic farce, Your Past Is Showing (1958), Peter Sellers was already a very popular performer in England. His work on the groundbreaking radio program, The Goon Show, helped establish a bizarre strain of British humor that would eventually lead to everything from The Beatles' pop surrealism to Monty Python's loose-screw dismantling of upper-class mores. No one could deny Sellers' brilliantly twisted creations. However, in the world of cinema, he remained just another amusing character actor, albeit one with a major cult following. Sellers sensed - and prayed - that his role in Your Past Is Showing (titled The Naked Truth in England) would finally establish him on the big screen. "I want to be a star like mad," he said. "This is my first starring role in a film. I hope it clicks, because then I can get my teeth into other interesting roles. That's what being a star means to me- being able to pick and choose." And so he became a star. It was obvious that his acerbic performance as TV personality Sonny MacGregor was the work of a supremely gifted actor. Your Past Is Showing's minimal plot revolves around a "scandal sheet editor" (Dennis Price) who tells an assortment of famous people that he'll suppress damaging stories about them if they pay him a few thousand pounds. Sellers' Sonny is a vicious, two-faced swine, but that's par for the course in this picture. These people actually deserve to be blackmailed. When Your Past Is Showing scored big with audiences and critics alike, the challenging parts that Sellers had long dreamed of poured in. Unfortunately, he could often be a cruel man, and had trouble handling success. His old friend, Kenneth Griffith, once said of him, "He was most of the time melancholy and troubled by his own fate...I don't think he ever tackled a job, so far as I know, without this compulsion that he couldn't do it, and must get out of it." According to co-star Terry Thomas (in Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers by Ed Sikov), Sellers 'made one of his "protests" during shooting. He turned to [director] Mario Zampi and shouted, "The way you are making this film is ridiculous. You can't direct! I know much more about the camera than you do. I'll give you one more take and then I'm off!" Mario didn't reply. He stood there, shocked.' In the wake of his first big-screen triumph, Sellers landed a plum stage role in the political satire, Brouhaha. His off-stage behavior on that production was just the beginning of what would become a lifelong proclivity toward abusing his star power. National Theater director Sir Peter Hall later recounted Sellers' conduct: "He proved a very confident performer- at first. He was quick to take direction, good at imposing himself on the material, very eager to contribute some inspired touches." But there was a disturbing about-face by the time the show opened. "He didn't show up at the run-through," Hall said. "He missed the dress rehearsal. He confessed he'd got cold feet." When Brouhaha also became a hit, Sellers would casually alter the play at will. These unannounced departures from the planned dialogue and staging hardly endeared him to his cast mates, not that that bothered him in the least. That's how it went with Sellers. By the time he died of a heart attack in 1980, this troubled, utterly dazzling comic performer had been married four times and had made enemies on just about every set he ever worked. His semi-controllable devilishness is probably why Sonny MacGregor is such a memorable creation. Sellers was acting, all right, but not as much he wanted everyone to think he was. Director/Producer: Mario Zampi Screenplay: Michael Pertwee Cinematography: Stanley Pavey Editing: Bill Lewthwaite Art Direction: Ivan King Principal Cast: Terry-Thomas (Lord Henry Mayley), Peter Sellers (Sonny MacGregor), Peggy Mount (Flora Ransom), Shirley Eaton (Melissa Right), Dennis Price (Nigel Dennis), Georgina Cookson (Lady Lucy Mayley), Joan Sims (Ethel Ransom), Miles Malleson (Rev. Cedric Bastable). B&W-88m. by Paul Tatara

Quotes

"Is your husband there? I'll just..."
- Sonny MacGregor
"Not all there I'm thinking."
- Lady Lucy Mayley

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1958

Released in United States 1958