September 1973: the weak morning light passing through the clouds couldn’t conceal the ‘pirate’ ship that appeared on the cloudy horizon. It was an impressive vessel and looked like something out of a fantasy story.
It literally looked like a “Ghost in the Noonday Sun,” just like the title of the film it would be featured in. That’s why the pirate ship had arrived in the picturesque port of Cyprus awaiting not for Captain Hook but for … Inspector Clouseau, aka Peter Sellers to board it, for the needs of a film that would turn out to be the famous actor’s biggest flop.
In the harbor, the actors were waiting impatiently for the ship to arrive and huge quantities of food were arriving to feed the countless staff. The British protagonists seemed unaware of the riots raging in various parts of Cyprus and the explosions of buildings.
In fact, just a few days after the start of filming – on October 6 - the Israelis were clashing with the Arabs on the famous Yom Kippur War. The island of Cyprus and Kyrenia in particular were considered then a base for Mossad spies, who were coexisting in good faith with the British agents.
According to several confidential documents which have come to public attention, the British side was at the time providing coverage for the Turkish agents, paving the way for the invasion that would take place a year later. And the film entitled “Ghost in the Noonday Sun,” starring Peter Sellers was used as smoke screen to help the Turkish side prepare for the Operation Attila.
The conclusion about the tragedy of 1974 which was approved by the Cyprus Parliament refers to the presence of agents in the region, who were presenting themselves as member of the filming crew of the Peter Sellers film.
What other reason could there be for shooting such an expensive film amid political unrest and conflict, and especially a film that would turn out to be a major flop?
Ghost in the Noonday Sun, directed by Peter Medak, starring Peter Sellers, Anthony Franciosa and Spike Milligan, was never released theatrically and it is considered to be the biggest flop of the famous comedian.