A bumbling inspector faces off against a notorious jewel
thief who plots to steal a princess's priceless diamond.
The Pink Panther (1963)
Directed by Blake Edwards
Written by Maurice Richlin and Blake Edwards
Starring David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner,
Capucine, Claudia Cardinale, Colin Gordon
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Score (Henry Mancini)
I don't know what took me so long to finally open the door on this longtime comedy franchise. For the longest time, I had only seen the two Steve Martin remakes, and while incredibly stupid, they did make me laugh. The same cannot be said for the original, which I found boring as hell. I guess everything people loved about Inspector Clouseau came from the sequels, which star Peter Sellers. He's a fairly minor character in the first film, with the focus mainly being on David Niven's dull Sir Charles Lytton.
A notorious jewel thief known only as "The Phantom" is going to steal the priceless Pink Panther diamond from a party full of big wigs in the mountains. Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Sellers) is on the case, and he's surprisingly dull. All he ever does for laughs is accidentally fall over. And I think that sums up what I hated about the film itself. It's billed as one of the most iconic comedies of all time, and it's not funny. Not even once, or by accident. It's boring from beginning to end, with an unnecessarily complex run-around regarding everyone's motivations.
I probably still will pursue the sequels, since I now know that those are the films that endeared Clouseau and the franchise to fans and critics. This film, despite being critically acclaimed, is a snoozefest with no payoff and a whole lot of irredeemable, despicable characters. Here's hoping A Shot in the Dark is actually funny. The bar isn't high.