Herb Shellenberger

Richard Lester at 80
November 1–3, 2012
International House Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA, USA

Richard Lester (born 1932 in Philadelphia) has had a very diverse career. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in clinical psychology before he was 20 years old, Lester began working in radio and television. Moving to London in the mid-1950s, his small-screen success continued with A Show Called Fred and a television adaptation of the popular radio program The Goon Show. Both programs featured rising comedy superstars Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, and forecasted Lester's eventual status as a comedy auteur.

With an eye for the dazzling and a keen sense of physical humor, his films are often imbued with absurd, surrealist gags and quick cutting between scenes. Through a career with multiple phases—The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and Help! in the 1960s, action-adventure films like The Three Musketeers in the 1970s, Superman II and III in the 1980s—Lester enjoyed critical and commercial success. Unofficially retired from filmmaking the past 20 years, Richard Lester's influence is still widely felt in many corners of the film world. IHP salutes the iconic filmmaker with a look back to some of his most-loved comedies from the 1960s.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Richard Lester, 1966, UK, 35mm, 99'
The Bed-Sitting Room, Richard Lester, 1969, UK, 35mm, 90'
How I Won the War, Richard Lester, 1967, UK, 35mm, 109'
The Knack... and How to Get It, Richard Lester, 1965, UK, 35mm, 85'