Pic is a romanticized, Anglicized variant on [Vittorio De Sica's 1952 Italian classic] Umberto D, with Peter Sellers playing an aging vaudevillian whose meager income derives from sidewalk minstrelling with his equally-weary trained mutt. He tentatively befriends an eleven-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother, opening their poverty-clouded eyes to a world of magical dreams while they offer him the blessing of human contact.

Pic is a romanticized, Anglicized variant on [Vittorio De Sica’s 1952 Italian classic] Umberto D, with Peter Sellers playing an aging vaudevillian whose meager income derives from sidewalk minstrelling with his equally-weary trained mutt. He tentatively befriends an eleven-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother, opening their poverty-clouded eyes to a world of magical dreams while they offer him the blessing of human contact.

It all sounds like goo, and the film’s last half-hour verges perilously close. But even at its worst The Optimists is acceptable family fare, and for much of its first 80 minutes it engagingly achieves a sense of fantasy.

Director-coscripter Anthony Simmons (on whose novel The Optimists of Nine Elms screenplay is based) obviously understands and relishes the unique world of childhood.

The Optimists of Nine Elms

UK

Production

Cheetah/Sagittarius. Director Anthony Simmons; Producer Adrian Gaye, Victor Lyndon; Screenplay Anthony Simmons, Tudor Gates; Camera Larry Pizer; Editor John Jympson; Music George Martin; Art Director Robert Cartwright

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1974. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

Peter Sellers Donna Mullane John Chaffey David Daker Marjorie Yates
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