Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Pink Panther (1963)

Hot Princess Dahla (Claudia Cardinale) owns one heck of a jewel. She is on vacation and brings it along. Famed jewel thief Charles Lytton (David Niven) takes an interest. Charles' playboy nephew (Robert Wagner) arrives to complicate matters. Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is on the case.

A while ago I got my boys interested in Clouseau. We watched the 1970's slapstick movies and even dabbled in the crappy 1980's versions before Netflix saw fit to take them away. They became fans. I thought I might be able to convince my boys to see the somewhat drier original. Two out of three, not bad.

Here are some funny facts: Clouseau had a wife (Capucine), there was no Cato, no Dreyfus, no silly accent. Or at least, not over the top. Much of that came with A Shot in the Dark, which came out three months later and wasn't supposed to be a Clouseau movie to begin with. More on that after I see it.

Actually, The Pink Panther wasn't supposed to be a Clouseau movie. The story centered around Lytton, but Sellers, quite literally, stole the show. Niven thought this could turn into a series of movies for him, much like The Thin Man. Interestingly, Niven played a Nick Charles parody in Murder by Death, also starring Peter Sellers.

Well made and slapstick in it's day, but in a time when a pie in the face is considered understated, it can be a little slow to the younger viewers. That said, A Shot in the Dark won't be too hard of a sell to the boys. For two of them, anyways. AMRU 3.5. Mmmmm, Elke Sommer ....

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