The Bobo

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The Bobo
Original movie poster for the film The Bobo.jpg
film poster
Directed byRobert Parrish
Peter Sellers (uncredited)
Produced byJerry Gershwin
Elliott Kastner
Written byDavid R. Schwartz
Based onplay The Bobo by Schwartz
novel Olimpia by Burt Cole
StarringPeter Sellers
Britt Ekland
Rossano Brazzi
Adolfo Celi
Music byFrancis Lai
CinematographyGerry Turpin
Distributed byWarner-Pathé Distributors (UK)
Warner Bros. Pictures (USA)
Release date
  • 28 September 1967 (1967-09-28) (U.S.)[1][2]
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$3 million[3]

The Bobo is a 1967 British comedy film starring Peter Sellers and co-starring his then-wife Britt Ekland.[4]


Based on the 1959 novel Olimpia by Burt Cole, also known as Thomas Dixon, Sellers is featured as the would-be singing matador, Juan Bautista. A theater manager offers to give him a big break if he seduces the beautiful Olimpia (Ekland) and spends an hour in her apartment with the lights off; the plot centers on Juan's attempts to woo the woman and famously includes Sellers covered in blue dye as the "Blue Matador."



Original Novel and Play[edit]

The film was based on the novel Olimpia by Burt Cole, published in 1959; the New York Times said "the author does have an ability to see with imagination and occasionally literary artistry. What he lacks... is not flamboyance but a story with substance."[5]

In 1961 it was announced David R. Schwartz had written a theatre adaptation called The Bobo which Joseph Hyman, former right hand man for Moss Hart was going to produce.[6] Norman Jewison was going to direct it with Diane Cilento and Shelley Berman. "It's not a slick comedy," said Jewison. "It's a little different and much fresher."[7] Then in 1962 Caroline Swan was going to produce it;[8] however the play was never produced.


In August 1962 George Cukor announced he would make a film of the book with Ava Gardner.[9]

In May 1966 it was announced film rights to the play were now owned by the team of Eliot Kastner and Jerry Gershwin, who had just made Harper and Kaleidescope for Warners, they signed a deal with Peter Sellers to star in the film, and possibly direct it. [10] In August 1966 it was announced Sellers' then wife, Britt Ekland, would make the film under the first of a five-film contract with Gershwin.[11] Eventually Sellers decided not to direct and Robert Parrish took the job.


Filming took place in Italy and Barcelone Spain in August 1966,[12] it was a difficult shoot - Sellers and Ekland were having marital problems, and Sellers' mother died during filming. Sellers insisted on directing some of the film.[13][14][15]


Critical reception[edit]

In The New York Times, Bosley Crowther wrote, "after sitting dutifully through it, I can tell you what a bobo is. It's a booboo—and that goes not only for the title character, played by a strangely lackluster Mr. Sellers, but also for the film."[18] whereas Richard Schickel writing in Time said, "There comes a time in the life of every screen comedian when he urgently feels the need to have the adjective 'Chaplinesque' applied to his work. It is a dangerous moment, with the pitfall of pretentiousness yawning on one side, sentimentality on the other and all the psychological hazards of overreaching buzzing in the back of the mind, it is a pleasure to report that Peter Sellers - that excellent fellow - has not only endured this trial but has mostly prevailed over it."[19] but Tony Sloman in the Radio Times, although praising Hattie Jacques performance and the locations, concluded, "It's not very funny."[20]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Bobo (1967), a film by Robert Parrish; starring Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland, Rossano Brazzi, Adolfo Celi, Hattie Jacques and Ferdy Mayne".
  3. ^ Hannan, Brian (2016). Coming Back to a Theater Near You: A History of Hollywood Reissues, 1914-2014. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., pg. 178, ISBN 978-1-4766-2389-4.
  4. ^ BOBO, The Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 34, Iss. 396, (Jan 1, 1967): 138.
  5. ^ Results Much Cheaper: OLIMPIA. By Burt Cole. 152 pp. New York: The Macmillan Company. $3.50. MITGANG, HERBERT. New York Times 12 July 1959: BR22.
  6. ^ LUCILLE BALL ILL; 'WILDCAT' HALTED New York Times 7 Feb 1961: 39.
  7. ^ ROMANTIC COMEDY PLANNED FOR FALL New York Times 17 Apr 1961: 36.
  8. ^ CAROL CHANNING SIGNED FOR PLAY: Musical Star Gets Lead in 'King's Mare,' a Comedy By SAM ZOLOTOW. New York Times 23 May 1962: 38.
  9. ^ CINERAMA PLANS 2 MORE THEATRES By EUGENE ARCHER. New York Times 25 Aug 1962: 11.
  10. ^ Coming Up: 'Bobo' Sellers: About Movies By A.H. WEILER. New York Times 22 May 1966: 129.
  11. ^ Top Role for Candy Bergen Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 9 Aug 1966: c9.
  12. ^ MOVIE CALL SHEET: Team to Produce 14 Films Martin, Betty. Los Angeles Times 30 Nov 1966: D16.
  13. ^ Champlin, Charles (14 May 1967). "A Sellers' Market for Comedy: A Sellers' Market for Comedy". Los Angeles Times. p. c1.
  14. ^ Sikov, Ed (2002). Mr. Strangelove. Hyperion. p. 260-264.
  15. ^ Parrish, Robert (1988). Hollywood doesn't live here anymore. Toronto Little, Brown.
  16. ^ Billboard - 2 sept. 1967 - Page 43 Francis Lai, composer of "A Man and a Woman," has come up with another melodical score in Peter Sellers ... With Sammy Cahn's lyrics, the Mexican-oriented music includes vocals and instrumental of the title song, "Imagine" and "The Blue Matador."
  17. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures 0520209702 1997 Songs: "Imagine," "The Song of the Blue Matador" Francis Lai, Sammy Cahn
  18. ^
  19. ^ "The Bobo (1967) - Articles -". Turner Classic Movies.
  20. ^ "The Bobo – review - cast and crew, movie star rating and where to watch film on TV and online". Radio Times.

External links[edit]