Hey everybody, sorry about the missed update last week. University is coming back for me later this month so last week was a bit of a rush week sorting everything out. And because I feel the need to explain it, the opening paragraph to this review is a joke. That aside, on with the review!
Weren’t the nineteen sixties great? The Beatles invaded America, America invaded Vietnam, then the moon, JFK got shot in the face (presumably by moon-men as a result of the aforementioned moon landing), Martin Luther King made a speech that got made into a poster that I saw in my high school once and then everyone went to a big thumpin’ party, got high and forgot about it just in time for the seventies.
But what we also got in the mid sixties was a movie starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Claudia Cardinale and Capucine called The Pink Panther, a classic comedy of jewel thefts, uncoordinated inspectors and mildly chauvinistic dialogue. But does it hold up a whole fifty three years later?
The plot is fairly simple. A jewel thief known only as The Phantom is going around… well, thiefing jewels and hot on his heels is the spectacularly incompetent Inspector Clouseau as he attempt to catch the thief, who is in actuality his often-encountered acquaintance Sir Charles. But this isn’t a movie known for its complex mystery. The Pink Panther has some great physical and verbal comedy that absolutely holds up today, not relying on references that might anchor it to that specific time period. And that’s another thing that helps elevate the movie from being a pretty good comedy with a mystery bend to a real classic, the timeless feel of the movie. Aside from the cars and phones people use it’s a timeless looking movie with some very well done set design.
Of course not everything about this movie is perfect. The nephew of Sir Charles has some pretty grating acting earlier on in the film when he’s at the ski resort. It could be argued that it’s intentional since he’s putting on a ruse but he could at least do it without sounding like he’s channelling his inner Shatner, which is actually kind of fitting because at one point he wears a jumper/turtleneck combo that makes him look a lot like Captain Kirk. He’s also kind of a dick to Clouseau’s wife who he later on starts working with. Also this movie includes a bewildering and fourth-wall breaking musical number performed by Claudia Cardinale which, while it is a very good performance and quite sexy, just kind of comes out of nowhere, pads out the movie for a good few minutes and disappears without mention. Not exactly a Big Lipped Alligator Moment, but close.
Small complaints aside it can’t be stated just how good the comedy in the movie is. From the inspector’s constant clumsiness, the witty and charming dialogue from most of the characters and the sheer lunacy of the third act, The Pink Panther offers enough that it’s bound to get a laugh out of anyone. The absolute crowning moment has to be the entire extended scene in Clouseau’s hotel room. Nothing else in the movie has such a good sense of continuity or inventiveness as to how the set is used. It’s fantastic.
So yes, The Pink Panther continues to shine quite brightly in my mind and is an absolute classic comedy. Now I have some more plot he- Wait, what’s this white glove doing here? Damn, looks like I’ll have to go out and find some more plot for you all next time.