Pink Panther, The (1963)

Pink Panther, The (1963)

“I’m sure no one ever had a husband like you.”

A British playboy (David Niven) and his nephew (Robert Wagner) separately attempt to steal a valuable jewel from a princess (Claudia Cardinale) while bumbling police inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) — whose wife (Capucine) is having an affair with Niven — tries to determine the identity of a notorious jewel thief known as “The Phantom” (Niven).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Blake Edwards Films
  • Capucine Films
  • Claudia Cardinale Films
  • Comedies
  • David Niven Films
  • Detectives and Private Eyes
  • Peter Sellers Films
  • Robert Wagner Films
  • Thieves and Criminals

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary accurately notes that this “overrated Blake Edwards comedy at least gave Peter Sellers his first chance to play bumbling Inspector Closeau”, and that “Sellers completely steals the film from the other stars, including topbilled David Niven”. He points out that beautiful Capucine (whose personal life was quite tragic) is “surprisingly good doing physical comedy with Sellers”; indeed, the “abundance of sight gags” — primarily between these two characters — are what stand out most in one’s memory. Unfortunately, the “film drags badly when Clouseau isn’t on the screen”, with the forgettable storyline seemingly designed as an excuse merely for audience members to drool at the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Of note are Henry Mancini’s beloved score, and DePatie-Freleng‘s animated opening credits — but this one really can be skipped.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau and Capucine as his deceptive wife
  • The clever animated opening credits
  • Henry Mancini’s score

Must See?
No; stick with A Shot in the Dark (1964) if you’d like to see a reasonably worthy entry in the series.


One thought on “Pink Panther, The (1963)

  1. Not must-see; more or less a complete bore.

    This fits snugly among the worst comedies which nevertheless were commercial hits when first released. It boggles the mind.

    ‘TPP’ isn’t as godawful as ‘A Shot in the Dark’ – but, as far as I can tell, there’s not a single moment of genuine wit. It relies entirely on (not even clever) slapstick and The School of ‘It’s Always Funnier When Somebody Gets Hurt’. Clearly, some people just can’t enough of that kind of humor – but it’s still comedy on its lowest level.

    The dialogue is not just bad, it’s lazy and tedious. And at times downright embarrassing – i.e., the scene between Niven and Cardinale in which he entices her into having several glasses of champagne (when she has said a number of times that she doesn’t drink). Cardinale (bless her heart) hasn’t mastered English enough to have any kind of fun with what she’s saying (she’d be hard-pressed anyway) – and Niven simply looks bored (even though he’s in a flirtatious tryst with Claudia Cardinale!!!).

    To be kind, however – ‘TPP’ differs from ‘ASITD’ in one regard. Whereas the latter film does actually manage a rather successful and inventive conclusion, ‘TPP’ is at its best in its first 20 minutes; the complicated exposition is nicely handled and paves the way for a frothy diversion throughout. Instead we get a too-often listless outing that ultimately just never seems to end.

    My best guess on how they got this cast (well, except for Wagner – how did he ever have a career?): it would seem that the big-name stars most likely collectively saw an opportunity to ‘vacation’ in the Alps.

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