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PINK PANTHER (1964)

Director: Blake Edwards

Screenplay by Maurice Richlin and Blake Edwards

Starring: David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinele

Genre: Mystery Spoof

Available on Video and DVD
115 minutes
Not rated

Reviewed by Judith Fox

Should I tell you the good news first or the bad news first? Just so you know I do have a tiny shred of decency--I realize I'm using an adage or two in this review. They came to mind from watching this film.

The short and the long of it; whatever adage Iím borrowing I want you to know "Pink Panther" isnít my favorite classic film. I normally enjoy classic films but this film is dated to the point of being corny. One intelligent friend gave me the right word to describe it. A word Iíve been searching for all day. "Silly." And Iíve always admired this friendís intelligence. This is not a complimentary silly.

I had thought I might forget about writing this review because so many people on the street say, "Oh, Pink Panther, thatís a classic film," insinuating itís a "good film." In this reviewerís opinion that is so wrong. My opinion: "Look, all the actors are acting in paper bags. Isnít that suave!"

Therein lies one of the positive attributes of this film. It is suave and glitzy with the background of the story being at a breathtaking ski resort in Cortina. I was impressed even though my enthusiasm for skiing is nil. The clothes of the actors are ostentatious 1960ís style. The women, no matter what age, have knockout figures. If I say more I know Iíll sound catty.

In a party scene a songstress sings--it looked like a 60ís karaoke thing. In all seriousness the party was a better part of the film.

Peter Sellers is not in this film enough. Though some people donít like his slapstick comedy, this reviewer has to say the director really needed to include his bumbling character, Inspector Clouseau, in more scenes. Peter Sellers (Clouseau) was adorable in "A Shot in the Dark," another film which is part of the Pink Panther series.

There is a scene where Capucine, Clouseauís wife, in a secret affair with the thief, William Litton (David Niven) is monotonously funny and irritating, driving this reviewer to near subverted hysteria. The Clouseau couple are staying at the Swiss Chalet as is the thief, and coincidentally have their hotel suites adjoining each other, with a door between. Litton and Capucine along with Littonís nephew played by a young Robert Wagner, rim back and forth between musical doors supposedly unbeknownst to the cuckold husband, Inspector Clouseau. It is not funny to ridicule Clouseau as stupid. They only make themselves look ridiculous. This includes the masquerade party where nearly everyone including Clouseau wear gorilla outfits. They repeatedly look brainless and it's not funny to make fun of people like that. Especially not in this day and age.

Last but not least (is that another adage?) the best part of this film is the animated Pink Panther who takes care of hosting the credits. The Pink Panther is charming and leads the viewer into watching this story. A most devious panther indeed.

Oh yes, Litton who is a jewel thief wants to steal the coveted and famous Pink Panther diamond from a Princess of India (Claudia Cardinele).

Do I recommend this? There are some interesting historical marks in new film making, such as the animated Pink Panther, and the wonderful Henry Mancini music.

There is the possibility that this is a spinoff and satire mimicking James Bond. The reviewer concedes that is possible.

Itís up to you.


Please click here if you would like to read a review of "Shot in the Dark," another Inspector Clouseau film.

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