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First "Panther" was very different, but quite good
mlevans5 March 2002
I honestly thought I had seen every Pink Panther movie. (Or should I say, every `Clouseau movie,' since I had even seen Adam Arkin's `Inspector Clouseau'?) I discovered tonight, however, that I had never seen the original 1963 classic, `The Pink Panther.' (Or, if I had, I was far too young to appreciate it and had forgotten all but a couple of scenes.)

For those not familiar with the film, this, of course, launched the Clouseau character and the Pink Panther series. Beyond the characters of Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) and Sir Charles Litton (David Niven) and the fabulous Pink Panther diamond, though, there is little resemblance between the series-launching film and later Panther comedies. This is not necessarily bad, although fans of the fast-paced slapstick of the later entries will likely be a bit disappointed.

Of course this was the precursor, and Sellers and director Blake Edwards were just beginning to explore the character and world of Clouseau, that most incompetent and clumsy of detectives, who nevertheless gets his man.

The original Panther is a romantic comedy, with Sellers as merely part of a very good ensemble cast. We see very little of the hilarious Clouseau schtick for which Sellers is best remembered. He has no bizarre pronunciations yet and even has a gorgeous – though highly devious – wife. We can certainly see flashes of the Clouseau to come, though, and Sellers blends into the exotic montage quite well.

Niven is really the star of this first Panther production. As the swashbuckling, womanizing aristocrat/phantom, he turns in one of his best performances. A very young Robert Wagner also does good work as his long-lost nephew, George Litton.

Two extremely attractive and exotic actresses also heat things up. French beauty Capucine plays Simone Clouseau and is at the height of her career in 1963. Director George Cukor said that `The camera has a love affair with her face.' Edwards' camera certainly did. She handles both the romantic and slapstick scenes with equal aplomb. (Compare the `husband coming home unexpectedly' scene with Capucine, Liven, Wagner and Sellers with the same scene in `Horsefeathers' with all four Marx Brothers, Thelma Todd and her husband!) The other enchanter is Claudia Cardinale, as Princess Dala. The Italian beauty queen is perfect as the sexy, exotic princess and owner of The Pink Panther diamond. In the champagne scene with Litten and the Tiger rug, Cardinale is enticing enough to make a male viewer completely forget Sellers and his bumbling detective work!

While Edwards and Sellers changed directions a bit in later films, the original Pink Panther is worth renting for more than just its historic value. It is indeed a fine film and a wonderful work of art – something, which, indeed might be said for both Capucine and Cardinale, as well! By all means, rent the original Pink Panther; just don't expect slow motion Kung Fu attacks and insane chief inspectors taking shots at Clouseau!
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It's Not Supposed to be the same as the sequels
Nearly every review I have read condemning _The Pink Panther_ to second or third rate status in the "pantheon" of Clouseau movies comes from someone who either didn't know it existed or who was raised on the totally slapstick offerings that came later. If you are expecting the hackneyed humor and over-the-top performances that came with the last few Panther movies you are bound to be surprised by a movie that took time to make sense out of a story. If those movies are your standard for humor, you are bound to be disappointed.

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I watched it when it came out. I was eleven and it was showing at a local drive-in. Since then the movie has never failed to entertain me.

Unlike most of the other reviewers, I don't share the same admiration for the later Clouseau movies. I did enjoy _A Shot in the Dark_ and even liked _Return of the Pink Panther_ and its sequel, but frankly, Herbert Lom's twitch, Kato's surprise attacks, increasingly more ludicrous plot devices, and the very fact that Clouseau was still in a position of responsibility was more disbelief than I was willing to suspend.

_The Pink Panther_ is a great Romantic Comedy. That, in itself separates it from all the other Panther clones, which are all farcical slapsticks. Different humor, different purposes, therefore a different appreciation.

_The Pink Panther_ was not a blueprint for other Clouseau movies. Only for the Clouseau character.

This movie was the inspiration for an American icon. The Pink Panther cartoons came out well before the next movie. It also featured inspired comedy performances by its four leads. Yes, FOUR leads. Just because Clouseau wasn't the only major character doesn't mean he was minor. Sellers has more scenes than anyone except David Niven.

_The Pink Panther_ deserves to be considered on its own merits and not compared to movies of another genre that strove to capitalize on the popularity of the original.
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7/10
Birth of the "Panther"
jhclues21 May 2001
The one that started it all and set `Clouseau' on the path to becoming Chief Inspector, `The Pink Panther,' directed by Blake Edwards, stars David Niven and Peter Sellers. This film is memorable for a number of reasons, primarily for being the first in a tremendously successful (and funny) series which would ultimately showcase one of the world's favorite cinematic policemen, the bumbling Jacques Clouseau (Sellers). it also introduced His Royal Pinkness, the Panther himself, to the format of the feature length motion picture. And can anyone remember a time before Henry Mancini's familiar theme existed?

Being the first, of course, makes this the prototype, and though it's a good movie, it's obvious that the formula for success which the following films in the series employed had not yet been honed to perfection. Consequently, though funny, the hilarity level of this one is comparatively low, though it does have it's moments, the best of which involve Clouseau.

From the day it premiered, it was readily apparent that what really made it a go was Sellers; and Edwards and his team have to be given credit for recognizing it immediately. Often a sequel fails because the filmmaker has attempted to capitalize on an element of the original that seemingly made it good, only to discover that what the poet once said is true: You can never go home again. Merely expanding the part that worked before doesn't insure success; usually, in fact, quite the opposite is true, as without fail it becomes a matter of overkill (The Penguin was no Joker, and those participating in `The Return of the Seven' weren't so `magnificent' after all). There are the exceptions, of course, like the `Stars Wars' saga, the `Indiana Jones' movies and, it goes without saying, the `Panther' films.

Edwards was clever enough to discern that key element in the original, and not only expand upon it for the sequels, but fine tune it as he did so. In developing his formula he seemed to possess an innate sense of what was funny, even from an objective point of view-- which is amazing, given that comedy is probably the most subjective of genres. And then again, he had the inimitable Sellers as his star, which was certainly no hindrance to their combined efforts.

It's interesting to watch this movie again, especially after seeing the rest of the series, as you're seeing Clouseau in his raw stage of development; the accent is not yet as pronounced as it will be later, and his `denseness' is not quite refined yet. But funny he is, even as he experiments, searching for that perfect comedic note (which he would finally find in `The Pink Panther Strikes Again'). Seller's performance is the highlight of the movie, and it gave birth to what would become one of the defining characters of his career. From the first moment Clouseau appears on screen, you know that you're about to be treated to something special. And Sellers never disappoints-- from that first frame on, he is a joy to watch.

David Niven, meanwhile, lends an air of sophistication to the proceedings as the suave and debonair, legendary jewel thief, Sir Charles Litton. Though not a unique character, Niven plays him well, exuding the kind of charm possibly only Cary Grant could have matched at the time. As usual, he brings a smooth presence to the screen, he plays comedy well and the facility with which he brings Litton to life is impressive. Watching Niven and Sellers together calls to mind the pairing of Michael Caine and Steve Martin some years later in `Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.'

The supporting cast includes Robert Wagner (George Litton), Capucine (Simone), Brenda De Banzie (Angela), Colin Gordon (Tucker) Fran Jeffries (Greek `Cousin') and the lovely Claudia Cardinale as Princess Dala. Sellers created a number of characters during his career that will live forever, but with `The Pink Panther' he carved out a special niche for himself when he created Clouseau. There's never been anyone else quite like Clouseau (or Sellers, for that matter), and it's doubtful there ever will be again. As for the movie itself, there's no denying it's place of significance in the history of the movies as the one that kicked off a series that made the world laugh-- and thanks to the magic of DVD/video, that laughter continues on, unabated, today-- with no end in sight. That's the magic of Sellers, and it's all a part of the magic of the movies. I rate this one 7/10.
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10/10
A true classic - One of the best of the Sixties
MotoMike19 March 2001
To me, the defining moment in The Pink Panther comes when Clouseau is finally asked by his wife to get her a sleeping pill. Frustrated, discouraged, he tramps across the room for the umpteenth time to do his wife's bidding. We see him go into the bathroom, and then we hear - not see - ALL the pills drop on the floor of the bathroom. Without picking them up, or even saying anything or reacting in any way, he crunches across the floor and back into our view, carrying the water and the pill for her. You know exactly what happened; you didn't need to see it.

This is typical of this movie and this style: the jokes are so underplayed, quiet and perfectly paced that people accustomed to seeing "American Pie" and "There's Something About Mary", or even the bunch 'o sequels to this film (that grew progressively coarser and louder with each installment) may not get or even notice them. In the first sight of Inspector Clouseau, we see him pulling the old "leaning on a spinning globe and taking a pratfall" trick. But the moment is over with quickly; it's not made more than it is meant to, because the point of the pratfall is to define Clouseau's character in a moment. (Compare with later, more painful, re-occurences of this spinning-globe idea in the sequels). Most of the other moments derive from this idea: at the center of this caper film is this man who is inextricably dense and clueless, and yet retains a curious grace - not to speak of a total savoire-faire in all moments.

This film could never be made today. In fact, it's a time capsule of a certain sort of late 50's, early 60's sensibility. Examples: all the people showing up for the Princess's dinner in formal evening wear. David Niven's late-night repartee with the Princess - all about numb lips and champagne. The musical number - for no reason whatsoever. The glamorous locales - without a trace of irony, straight out of "To Catch a Thief", the inspiration for this type of "caper" flick. The curiously innocent and unsexual bedroom farce moments. And, of course, the ending car chase with guests in ape suits, a suit of armor, and not one but two cops in a zebra outfit (what a good choice for those interested in speed and efficiency!) And these are just the moments - see how effortlessly the screenplay weaves all the story lines together, and how beautifully the pace gets accelerated throughout the movie. Not to speak of the opening credits, which are like a whole cartoon sequence in themselves. Obviously, I'm crazy about this picture; it's pretty, it's captivating, it's romantic, it's funny, and it weighs about two ounces - it's just delectable cotton candy. And through it all Peter Sellers gives one of the most subtle, and funniest, comic performances put to film, walking around in a fog, totally unaware of reality, and underplaying his role to the hilt.

Rumor has it that a remake is in the works, with Mike Myers in the Clouseau role. Let's compare two moments to get a preview: Peter Sellers bringing his wife a part-full glass of milk that he has spilled most of. At her quizzical look he innocently says,"That was all they had, my dear!" .... compared with Austin Powers drinking, um, the brown substance that is not coffee. Different strokes for different folks, indeed. Looking forward to it, uh huh.
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8/10
Terrific fun thanks to underplaying by Sellers.
Ben Parker25 June 2004
I had an absolute ball watching this. It works so well because Sellers underplays it. He's never over-the-top, never looks like he's playing for jokes, which makes his bumbling all the funnier.

Blake Edwards epitomises the sexy martini and bright colours world of the cinematic sixties for me. Revisiting Pink Panther since my childhood, i can see how this was a natural continuation from Breakfast at Tiffany's.

The charming David Niven and radiant belle Claudia Cardinale give added appeal. They are actually the two leads. Inspector Clouseau is a supporting player in this. His mass popularity lead to his being the centre of the sequals, including the famous second film Shot in the Dark, also by Blake Edwards.

A gem of a "man hiding in the closet" farce, perfect for late-night fun. See it if you enjoyed What's Up Doc? or Breakfast at Tiffany's.
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9/10
Elegance in advance of slapstick
Kakueke10 March 2002
It is said correctly that the first two Pink Panther movies, this and "A Shot in the Dark," are more sophisticated and for adults, compared with the later series of films that began ten years later, which are more blatant slapstick and somewhat juvenile. The latter are more purely entertaining, because they cause people (even adults) to break out and laugh, whereas the humor here is more elegant and less loud, not to say it is not very good. Still, I rate the original "Pink Panther" film very highly because of its own brand of entertainment and humor, and I put it above most of its successors ("Returns" and "Strikes Again" are at least as good, but I think most people would agree that with the end ones things go downhill).

Clouseau is one of the five main characters in the film, but he is only the fourth most prominent. It might be said that David Niven as the many-times-over thief Sir Charles Litton is the most prominent, followed by Claudia Cardinale as Central Asian Princess Dala, owner of the Pink Panther diamond that is the bait to be stolen, but I would argue that Clouseau's wife Simone (played by Capucine) is as at least equal to Sir Charles, if not more prominent. After all, she is effectively a double agent — Clouseau's wife, while aiding and abetting Sir Charles — and she even has a fling with Sir Charles's nephew George Litton. Two different affairs, but all of an extremely classy and gorgeous woman, just like Claudia Cardinale, and she seems to like all three men equally. Within her romances and the intrigue of the plot there is lots of hotel bedroom-to-bedroom back and forth and hiding, etc. Simone's humor, combined with her good bearing, is great, and she is the highlight of the film to me.

Clouseau's bumbling and klutziness is there, just less-pronounced, less loud and dominant. The film flows well, with good dialogue and comedy, and elegant settings of upscale hotels and fancy parties. The wit and humor are perhaps not described as subtle, but just less loud and more intelligent and refined than that of the later films. It seems that many comedies have idiotic, goofy characters, to such an extent that they may not be funny, but in this film the five main characters are urbane and smooth. Even Sellers has that bearing, while being a klutz too. But sometimes the presence of such more refined characters does not matter if the people are not appealing and the comedy is not funny. Here, however, the characters are definitely very appealing and poised, within a well-written good script, making for a good chemistry.

There is a great scene in which Sir Charles attempts to seduce the princess, who is laying stomach down on a tiger skin. The verbal reigns over the slapstick there, as in many other parts of the movie. Still, the ending is not without the latter, and it has a good ironic twist. Yes, there will be more slapstick to come...
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10/10
Promise of Great Things to Come
Ephraim Gadsby22 April 2002
"The Pink Panther" is a risque (for its time) romantic heist farce starring David Niven and Robert Wager, as uncle and son jewel thieves. Also included is a small slapstick part was Peter Sellers (originally to be Peter Ustinov) as the French detective hot on their trail. While the romantic farce isn't bad, the exquisite slapstick timing of Peter Sellers not only kept this movie from being an innocuous but one-note affair, it also was the genesis of a comic legend. Actually two, since the cartoon Pink Panther appears in the credits.

There's no Cato or twitching Inspector Dreyfus (they come in the next Clouseau film, "A Shot in the Dark", one of the funniest movies ever made). Viewers who grew up on the later Pink Panther films that revolve around Clouseau are bound to be disappointed, but they shouldn't let their disappointment mar the movie. Peter Sellers is funny enough in every scene he's in (in fact, he does some of his best Clouseau work in this movie). But "The Pink Panther" should be approached as a film in its own right, and accept its terms as the movie defines them. This is a subtle bedroom farce based on a heist, and it has its unique, languid beauty.
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8/10
Three Thoughts about "The Pink Panther"
dafrieze21 May 2003
1) This is probably the most beautiful LOOKING slapstick comedy ever filmed. The sets, the scenery, the costumes, the photography - everything looks elegant and expensive.

2) For those of us who actually like the cultural atmosphere of the early sixties at least as much as that of the late sixties, this is a goldmine, ranking right up there with the early Bond films.

3) For insecure actors fixated on billing (i.e., where their names go on the credits): just remember that Peter Sellers got third billing on this film, and yet he's the one everyone thinks of when they think of "The Pink Panther." And not just because of the sequels - this was the movie that made him an American movie star. Billing can't compensate for genius.
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10/10
it wasn't easy
dustybooks7 February 2005
This is one of the cases in which saying a movie is very much "of its time" is a high compliment. To see THE PINK PANTHER today is to be transported to the stylish Blake Edwards '60s world of opulence, Mancini, and nutty but smart slapstick. The sequel A SHOT IN THE DARK may be funnier and more sophisticated, but PINK PANTHER is still a peerless, graceful treat, pure entertainment.

This doesn't really fit in that well with the rest of the series (of which I'm a big fan), but it's on a higher plane in a sense. Those seeking the usual slapstick fare will find plenty of it, not to mention an engagingly worldly edge lacking in the sequels. Not only is this a fine comedy, it's beautifully photographed and full of elegance. Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau is wonderful as always, but is neither the central character -- the jewel thief "The Phantom," played by David Niven, is the real protagonist -- or the source of the most laughs; Robert Wagner, the Phantom's nephew who shows up unexpected on the eve of a jewel binge, provides the movie with a force of sheer subversion. That's not to say the greatest moments aren't Clouseau's; particularly during the bedroom scenes with Capucine, Sellers is in top form.

An interesting note is the similarity of THE PINK PANTHER in many ways to Alfred Hitchcock's TO CATCH A THIEF, made in 1955. The two films have more-than-similar story lines, and both are glitzy and glamorous, but the approach is different. PANTHER is a far less serious piece of work, yet in the end it has more substance, perhaps because it refuses to take jewel thievery with the stone-faced seriousness of its counterpart. Having said that, both are great fun, and what more could you want? There is simply so much to love about this movie it's hard to know where to begin. In the hopelessly romantic world Edwards and Mancini usually present, it's pleasant to see a darker and perhaps more vibrant edge shining through. BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S might be the quintessential Edwards film of the '60s, but it was released the same year as one of his best, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, a daring, violent, noirish outing that couldn't have been more different. In the layers of irony and comic wisdom of THE PINK PANTHER Edwards finds a middle ground, and it's savory.
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9/10
Successful high-end farce
Robert J. Maxwell16 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
The early and mid 1960s were an interesting period, sandwiched between the bland 1950s and the revolutionary end of the decade, a relatively prosperous period, people still dressed for dinner and the clothing styles were simple yet elegant. (Audrey Hepburn in those Givenchy outfits.) This flick is set firmly in that moment.

The plot has something to do with the theft of the pink panther, a diamond, but it's nothing more than the MacGuffin and is of no particular significance. The humor lies not so much in the overall story but in individual sequences, put finely together in pieces, like a jigsaw puzzle. Each movement seems choreographed carefully. Three times Peter Sellers tries to embrace his wife, Capucine, on a slick quilt, and three times her body slides off the bed under one of his arms. A good deal of effort went into milking each situation for its immanent comedy. Blake Edwards shares the writing credit, and he's done several other comedies that work in one way or another. It's odd because Edwards himself, in interviews, is not a witty person -- kind of somber in fact. ("That's Life" makes his ontological Angst explicit.) So it's all the more strange that this comedy doesn't try to say anything "important" -- soul clap its hands and sing. It's funny all the way through. I must have seen it a dozen times and there are some incidents that still make me laugh out loud. I'd much rather have my funnybone tickled than my thought provoked, wouldn't you?

The best sequence in the movie takes place in the bedroom of Sellers and his wife in Cortina d'Ampezzo, an upscale ski resort (aren't they all?). It's impossible to describe, really. It could have been written by Feydeau. Sellers is trying to get in bed with his wife Capucine, is called away, and she is visited by two men, Niven and Wagner, each unaware of the other. People hide in closets and under beds. Champagne bottles pop open at the wrong times. Sellers steps on his fiddle and remarks, "Once you've seen one Stradivarius you've seen them all." I will just mention two incidents. Wagner has been hiding from Sellers in a bathtub full of suds and when he comes up for air and climbs out, trying to escape, his form-fitting wool sweater is now dragging around his ankles. Niven escapes by climbing out a window but falls off the balcony. Next shot: a few people are chatting at the base of a vertical bank of snow. Niven, dressed only in a bathrobe, his eyebrows frozen, pushes his way out of the snowbank and finds himself a few feet from this group. With an excess of savoir-faire he shakes the snow from himself, salutes the group with a cheerful, "Good evening," and strolls away without explanation, leaving four gawking people in his wake. One more image from a later scene, which I won't try to explain. A zebra sneaks up to a buffet table and begins slurping out of the punch bowl. A man in a suit of full armor takes a whip and begins beating the zebra on the head, screaming, "No drinking on duty -- I'll have your stripes for this!" That's what farce IS.

The performers are all good, not that any particular attention from Thalia is demanded. Claudia Cardinale is pretty but a bit, I don't know, inanimate maybe. Wagner -- R.J. to his friends -- is handsome and plays a libidinous young con man. He's pretty good actually, as he plays the idealistic college graduate for Cardinale, and good physically, as he makes a foiled pass at a woman at the top of a ski slope and finds himself flailing downwards. Sellers is as good as he usually is, which is very good. Niven is in his element too, a lighthearted dandy, ever unflappable, only a step away from boredom no matter how outrageous the situation. The editor deserves plaudits for catching Niven half frozen, blowing into his cupped hands, and for cutting at the exact moment Niven looks up and his eyeballs bulge with distress. Poor Capucine. What an exquisite-looking woman. She may have begun her career as a model but she turns in a decent performance here, unlike many models before and after her. Her large eyes and feline body manage to suggest an almost childlike vulnerability beneath that womanhood. Of course death comes to all of us, but when it's self imposed, as in her case, it seems more than usually tragic.

Henry Mancini's score is part of the movie. It sounds as if he had a lot of fun writing it. It covers a wide range too. There are cartoon-like sound effects -- men swing at one another, deliberately missing, and the track goes "Wheee!" He works in some delightful variations on "Domani." He demonstrates it full blown in a very sexy samba number using Fran Jeffries who has a pelvic girdle that seems independent of the rest of her body. Wow. Then it becomes a slow dance, using the breathy Dexter Gordon-ish tenor sax that Mancini is so fond of. The physical climax of the film is backed by a rinky-tink gallop.

That physical climax, by the way, may be the weakest part of the film. All farces are faced with the same problem: how do you manage to top all the funny stuff that has come before? If you can't figure out a good answer, as Feydeau could, you must fall back on a pointless frantic chase, as this story does. (That's a minor carp, though.)

Yes, the early 60s were okay. Especially if you lived in Paris, drove a Ferarri, and went skiing at ritzy resorts and liked to drink champagne. The only thing most of us have in common with these elegant folk is that we like champagne. Pardon me while I open a Rolling Rock. Don't miss this one. It's worth repeated viewings too.
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6/10
First entry about classic character in which the famous Inspector is obsessed with the capture of a notorious jewel thief
ma-cortes7 January 2013
Amusing moments along with embarrassing in this first entry Inspector Clouseau with a likable Peter Sellers . This Pink Panther is starred by the great Peter Sellers as the inept and bungler Inspector of the French Surete but being the real starring David Niven as a glamorous thief nicknamed The Phantom . This first installment is a passable and acceptable comedy , in which bumbling and conceited French police inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) tries to catch The Phantom (David Niven) , a daring jewel thief whose identity and features are unknown - and is acting right under his nose. The Phantom attempts to steal a valuable jewel (The Pink Panther diamond is named not only for its color, but also for a tiny pink flaw shaped like a panther) whose owner results to be a gorgeous princess (Claudia Cardinale).

¨The Pink Panther ¨ release was the first part of series of Inspector Clouseau from French Surete and being the last entry ¨Trail of the Pink Panther¨ by the late Peter Sellers though he would follow playing but with outtakes in other films . The role of Inspector Clouseau was originally offered to Peter Ustinov ; despite being relatively unknown internationally, Peter Sellers was offered the part, and was paid 90,000 pounds . The second Clouseau film titled , A shot in the dark , was released only three months after this film . It followed by ¨Return of pink panther¨ and ¨Revenge of pink panther¨. After that , it was continued by ¨The curse of the Pink Panther¨ that turned to be another flop and starred by Ted Wass and ¨The son of the Pink Panther ¨ starred by Robert Benigni , this is the eight part of Closeau series and a light comedy . Between 1964 and 1993, nine Inspector Clouseau films would be released, although Inspector Closeau starred by Alan Arkin and the movies made after Peter Sellers's death are mostly not considered canon . The reason they still kept The Pink Panther in the title was because it had become synonymous with inspector Clouseau . The movie gets entertaining and hilarious moments here and there . The film was intended to have David Niven's character Sir Charles Lytton as the main character. However, Peter Sellers' portrayal of Inspector Clouseau was so loved by the crew , it became his character this film and the sequels focused on . Sellers modeled the character of Clouseau on the trademark of a box of matches which includes an image of Captain Matthew Webb . This slapstick picture contains amusing , funny scenes , fresh and diverting moments but also flaws and gaps . Peter Sellers steals the show parodying his classic character including his ordinary faces , grimaces and gestures . Appears as secondaries the exquisite Capucine , Robert Wagner , Brenda De Banzie , John Le Mesurier , some of them are the series' usual . The actors seem to enjoy themselves immensely but they are supposedly amusing holidays . An animated Pink Panther was created for the opening credits because writer and director Blake Edwards felt that the credits would benefit from some kind of cartoon character ; David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng decided to personify the film's eponymous jewel, and the Pink Panther character was chosen by Edwards from over a hundred alternative panther sketches. The Pink Panther introduced in the opening credits became a popular film and television character in his own right, beginning with the cartoon short The Pink Phink the following year . Lively and atmospheric music by habitual Henry Mancini with lyrics arranged by Johnny Mandel ; furthermore ,magnificent opening and ending cartoon titles . Colorful and glimmer cinematography by Philip Lathrop. The film is originally penned and directed,as always,by Blake Edwards. Several chuckles and gags , the result of which is one acceptable entry from series but inferior to successive outing such as , ¨A shot in dark¨ . Director Blake Edwards gets some inspired bits penned by him ; as he attempts to create his classic personage with enough success . The flick will appeal to Pink Panther series buffs and David Niven , Peter Sellers fans.
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5/10
Mildly funny in some places, but generally overrated.
MovieKen29 October 2008
I'd heard for years about how funny this movie is, and last night, I finally gave it a try. I haven't seen any other Pink Panther films, so I thought this would be the best place to start. Honestly, I wasn't very impressed.

The first hour or so of this movie moves at a snail's pace, if even that fast. There seems to be an endless list of characters in this film whose backstories have to be established before anything happens. Though all the loose ends are tied up eventually, it just seems to take so long to get there that even the most patient viewer will find it hard to watch all the way through in one sitting.

The "comedy" amounts to little more than Peter Sellers falling down repeatedly. There are moments of witty dialogue, but not much to speak of, and while some scenes are mildly funny, even these scenes drag on so long that the comedy becomes stale and tedious.

David Niven and Robert Wagner are both annoying more than anything else, and same with the actress who plays Sellers' wife. Claudia Cardinale is pretty, but there just wasn't much else here that I really needed to see.

On top of all that, the ending was extremely disappointing and unsatisfying. It left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I'm actually sorry I wasted the time to watch this movie in the first place. I most likely won't watch the sequels.
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7/10
That Famous Pink Jewel Flaw
bkoganbing14 February 2008
For those of you who think The Pink Panther is a cartoon character from a good animated series, our pink feline started out as a flaw in a fabulous diamond. If you looked deep into the rock, you could see the shape of the pink one whose cartoon character started the credits on this film.

The film The Pink Panther could best be compared to, believe it or not, is The Road to Singapore. That film was probably the weakest of the Road series, but it showed that Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had a real screen chemistry and sequels were demanded.

But the guy who made the movie going public demand the sequels here was Peter Sellers. Take Sellers out of the film and you have an average caper film held together by the considerable charm of David Niven and the rest of the cast. The movie stars David Niven, but the man who stole it completely was Peter Sellers with his indelible character of that bumbling train wreck of a Surete detective Inspector Clouseau.

Niven is the famous Sir Charles Lytton, playboy to the world, but really a legendary jewel thief known as the Phantom. He's after the famous diamond with the Pink Panther flaw that's owned by exiled princess Claudia Cardinale. Clouseau is on the case, but he doesn't know that his wife Capucine his having an affair with Niven and keeps him in the loop on the investigation. In addition Niven has a nephew who doesn't know about his double life played by Robert Wagner who'd like to embark on that kind of life himself.

People should keep several feet away from Sellers because the man is a walking train wreck. But for all his bumbling and for all of his cheating wife giving Niven inside information, he actually does have a brain, a facet of the Clouseau character in this film that a lot of people overlook. The final chase scene is something out of Mack Sennett.

Peter Sellers made four succeeding Pink Panther movies and in the second one he got a good comic foil in the person of his frazzled supervisor Herbert Lom. But that comes later.

The Pink Panther is an average caper film that has two distinguishing things. One of the most enduring and familiar film scores in movie history by Henry Mancini and it's the start of a string of films like the Road picture series centered around Peter Sellers's most enduring character creation.
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4/10
Not as good as I remember
Brian Bagnall29 March 2004
I used to enjoy the Pink Panther movies when I was younger and thought I would see if it stands the test of time. Unfortunately it doesn't. The direction and script are pretty bad and things don't make much sense. I didn't laugh one time in the first hour and a half. There's even a strange musical number wedged in there that really dates the film.

Most of the cast is pretty good, including the awesome David Niven and a beautiful actress who looks a lot like Catherine Zeta Jones. Surprisingly, Peter Sellers is not very funny. His antics and bumbling are overdone and become tiresome after a while. It looks like he's trying too hard most of the time.

Makes me wonder why they did a sequel to this film.
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4/10
Warning: This Isn't The Typical Wacky Pink Panther Film
ccthemovieman-14 May 2007
The first half of this movie was terribly disappointing - a real bomb (in the old sense of the word). I say that AFTER I had seen all the others in the theater and then acquired the DVD set of Pink Panther films a couple of years ago. I couldn't wait to re-visit some of these "classics."

Well, this first movie stunned me in that you could hardly call it a comedy. That first hour was so slow, so annoying with unlikeable characters that I almost stopped the disc at that point. However, it picks up after an hour and gets better and better.

The traffic scene where the old man comes out, stands in the road and stoically watches cars driven by apes and others whiz by, is a classic - one of the funniest scenes I've ever witnessed on screen. Most of the comedy, as usual, was provided by Peter Sellers but his Clouseau really didn't start clicking until the next few movies.

If you think this is the normal riotous "Inspector Clouseau," you will be sorely disappointed. David Niven, Capuncine and Claudia Cardinale dominate the movie, not Sellers, and those first three give very dated performances.
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7/10
Good fun
Stephen Alfieri8 July 2004
I have seen all of the movies in this series, including the horror show that starred Roberto Benigni (the worst of the series). Having seen this movie years ago, I remembered it as being very funny.

After having seen it again a couple of nights ago, I'm happy to report that it is still just as funny as it was years ago. Yes it does seem a little dated and much more tame in spots, but there is nothing to compare to the gag where Sellers steps on his violin. Yes, much of the humor is old fashioned, and slapstick, but is there a funnier chase scene in any other movie? Does the bedroom scene with Sellers, Niven, Wagner and Capucine have any rival other than the stateroom scene in "A Night at the Opera"? Or how about the two gorillas opening the safe? This is truly funny stuff.

My only disappointment was realizing that Sellers is not in that much of the movie. Which is a shame if your not a fan of David Niven.

But this is a minor point. If you haven't seen it in a while, go out and rent or buy "The Pink Panther".

7 out of 10
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3/10
Overrated Drivel
exnihilow30 October 2005
I'm sure it was my high expectations that led to my deep disappointment at this film. The comedy wasn't funny at all: the clumsiness of Inspector Clouseau was nauseatingly overdone, and scenes such as the bedroom farce and the two gorillas looking in the safe dragged on and on. They made me wince at how heavy, sluggish, and flat they were.

Watching this, I had no sympathy or affection for any of the characters, save perhaps Inspector Clouseau, whose wife is a shameless tart who has been cheating on him for years. When she finally decides that she needs to take a sleeping pill to "calm her nerves" (ie. get out of doing her wifely duty because she's been doing Sir Charles), all I could think was, "Why stop with just one? Bring her the whole bottle." And as for poor Inspector Clouseau? Well, you'll see what happens to him in the end!
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Slightly missing the point.
Richard Album21 August 2002
There seems to be two entrenched sides to the debate about this film and I must come down firmly in the middle. I love all the Pink Panther films. The later ones for their genius slapstick, comic set pieces and one-liners and the first two, The Pink Panther and A Shot In The Dark, for their more subtle comedy and character development. These early two films are both romantic comedies and work brilliantly as such (by the way, has anyone ever seen the 1968 film, Inspector Clouseau, starring Alan Arkin?).

The real point about The Pink Panther is that the Inspector Clouseau character was supposed to be another in the line of Peter Sellers cameos in US films of the time. It was a David Niven film. It was during the shooting that Sellers, realising that he had a chance to make a real name for himself in America, set out to steal every scene, take-after-take. His part was continuously enlarged as a result (much to the alleged chagrin of Niven).

It is only looking back, in the light of the films that followed, that The Pink Panther seems a somewhat lesser comedy than the others.

This is a beautifully over-the-top sixties film. Stylistically it's very dated but a gem to watch, especially when you know that Peter Sellers was trying so hard to make an impact. I urge those of you who love the Pink Panther movies but are disappointed by this one to watch it again, armed with this knowledge, and appreciate the genius at work.
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4/10
A boring and over rated unfunny movie
Overlord_9922 March 2006
This movie is quite possibly the most boring and unfunny over rated movie ever. First scene mentions the actual jewel then we are introduced to some horrible boring characters in David Niven's Sir Charles, his nephew, the detective Jack Clouseau (played well by Peter Sellers - the only good thing about this movie), and Jack Clouseau's wife...who is quite possibly the most horrible adulterous character in the movie with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. She is simply put, a slut. And watching her fool her husband made me wish that Jack Clouseau would shoot her in the head at the end of the movie for cheating on him. Put sadly, that doesn't happen.

So then about an hour into the movie they actually mention the jewel for the first time and it seems like after 60 minutes of boredom the movie is finally gearing up. But it runs out of steam and goes pretty much no where. I wish i had never bothered with this horrible over rated movie.
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2/10
A Fantastically Funny Film, But One of the Worst Endings Ever
tom_dent2 January 2008
First off do not get me wrong I greatly enjoyed this film, it was beautifully written (mostly) and directed and of course Peter Sellers is absolutely fantastic as Inspector Clouseau as are the rest of the cast in their respective roles. However, the ending is completely unjust. And for me while I can love a movie, if I do not think the ending is justified and understandable then I will disapprove of the movie. Such is the case this time.

I must state this first off, when I watch a film or read a book where 'the bad guys', 'deserve to win' by some creatively genius planning or highly thought-out intellectually reasoning, then kudos to them and congratulations. However, this movie is entirely different.

The ONLY decent character in the film is the one to be punished. Inspector Clouseau loves his wife and by her words "has many redeeming qualities", he is, "Kind, loyal, obedient, faithful." Yet in the end he is the one to suffer and face jail. The other main characters are deceitful, manipulative, untrustworthy and well...just downright evil. Particularly as the two main women (one of course being the honourable Inspector's wife) conspires to Clouseau's downfall. Yes he is bumbling, foolish and an idiot, but he has good values and ethics as he only attempts to achieve his goal and job.

However, this movie suggests that these are undesirable qualities as Clouseau is the one who ends up the worst of all the characters. Although, as is stated in the final scene - women will be all over him when he gets out in just a few short years. I am sorry, but being a male 'just a few short years of jail' would be too much for me, no matter how many women throw themselves at me after I get out.

The movie while excellent for 95 percent of its duration fails to win me over in the final few minutes and this is where I begin to dislike it. I have never watched a movie that has gone from an 7 or 8 out of 10 to a 2 or 3 out of 10 so quickly. What this movie suggests is that being sneaky, underhanded, deceitful, devious, sly and indeed Machiavellian are ways that people should act to get ahead in life. Whilst, hard working, honest, truthful, faithful, compassionate and even those who love will end you up in jail. Whether or not this is the intention of the film makers it should be deplored.

Whilst it may be considered a great film and hilariously funny, the means can not justify the ends. However, this should not discourage anyone from watching this film which contains one the finest film comedic performances of all time.

2/10.

P.S. I could of course be accused of over analysing the film and taking it too seriously, when it should be enjoyed light heartedly and with good humour. Yet the ending still ruins it for me, no matter what angle I attempt to take it from.
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3/10
arch, milquetoast, pretentious and hopelessly dated
Pufferfyshe18 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
The original Pink Panther, like most dinosaurs, has left a wonderful heritage, but is rather ill-suited for contemporary survival.

There is more than a little good dramatic acting, but the main draw is the comedy; and so we we have some pleasant conversations over sherry, in a tastefully decorated, open-plan lounge, while a variation of the plot of romantic misrecognition unfolds slowly and horribly, much as it has ever since early Shakespeare. Back then it was pretty exciting.

Now, in the hallowed Edwardian context of 1963, we are treated to endless, pointless repetitions of Sellers, Niven and others trying to hide in the same lady's bedroom.

Yes, that's it. They hide under the bed. They hide in the bathroom. Occasionally they even hide in the bath. Where is there left? Why, the closet of course -- but oh my goodness, somebody's coming!

Chances are, if you like the more precious episodes of Carry On and use the word "knickers" frequently, you'll like the original Pink Panther. If not, skip to the fourth instalment and enjoy unwatered camp, real sexual farce, a faster pace and some truly inspired sight gags.

I must respectfully, but forcefully differ with some previous reviewers as to this film's qualities. "Elegant?" Try arch, milquetoast, pretentious and hopelessly dated.
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6/10
A Milestone Despite Itself
Bill Slocum1 March 2005
While "The Pink Panther" launched one of film comedy's most celebrated franchises, it doesn't seem like director Blake Edwards had a clue what made it work. Peter Sellers makes his debut as bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau, but he gets lost in a supporting role in an antic caper comedy that tries to be sophisticated and slapstick all at once, with minimal success.

Something's off from the very beginning, where we see the familiar image of the Pink Panther toying with the opening credits, only instead of suavely making trouble for others, the cartoon cat becomes the butt of it. A similar fate befalls Clouseau in the ensuing movie, made into the fall guy by screenplay and his faithless wife alike. Instead of Clouseau bumbling his way to win the day, he falls short at every turn.

A friendlier, more mild-mannered character than he would become in later films, which makes the sadistic streak toward him here harder to take, Clouseau is largely a bystander in a story that focuses on the travails of jewel thief Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven), his ne'er-do-well nephew (Robert Wagner), the thief's lover (and Clouseau's wife, played by Capucine), and a princess who stands to lose her priceless diamond the Pink Panther to Sir Charles, not to mention her heart.

You kind of want to give "The Pink Panther" every benefit of the doubt when the princess is played by the lovely Claudia Cardinale. There's great music by Henry Mancini, notably the well-known title theme but also some incidental numbers that resonate with early-60s lounge chic. The scenery in the Italian Alps is fetching, and so are the Yves St. Laurent outfits the ladies wear. There's some charming conversation between Sir Charles and the princess that almost doesn't come off as contrived only because the actors sell it so well.

But the film is slow, especially for those of us used to the faster pace and surer humor of the later Panther films. Some will say the series became more adolescent after this first installment, but what really happened was Edwards dropped the pretensions on display here, not to mention boring Sir Charles, and figured out why the film succeeded as much as it did. Only a few months later, Clouseau was back on screen in the classic "A Shot In The Dark," and the Pink Panther series began in earnest.

Capucine is the weakest link, with her vinegary, put-upon face and unlikable role, yet she stars in the film's one brilliant sequence, where her character is wooed alternately by Lytton and his nephew sneaking into her hotel room, and then she has to protect both from discovery by a suspicious Clouseau. It works because there's a natural rhythm to it, a build-up that doesn't feel artificial and a quick succession of funny moments, like when one of the intruders hides in a bathtub, or a champagne bottle goes off at the wrong moment.

But the rest of the film feels more labored, with Clouseau tripping over everything and everyone, jamming his hand in someone's beer mug and poking his finger up another man's nose just to remind us we're supposed to laugh. Let's not even discuss that dislikable ending.

You have a good moment here and there, a nice performance of "It Had Better Be Tonight" by the here-and-gone Jane Fonda lookalike Fran Jeffries, and Sellers taking what might be called a practice run at his signature role. But "The Pink Panther," while fitfully entertaining, is hardly memorable, and overstays its welcome by half-an-hour. Fortunately, Edwards and Sellers wasted little time getting it right with "A Shot In The Dark," and a rich vein of real comedy would be tapped for all to enjoy.
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5/10
Not that good
skiop7 December 2002
In France, Charles "The Phantom" Litton is planning to steal the Pink Panther jewel from Princess Dala. Also there is Inspector Jacques Clouseau, who has been chasing the Phantom for years. But little does Jacques know that his wife Simone is helping Litton in his crimes.

Seeing this movie for the first time 38 years after its release, it doesn't seem that good. It's just your average 1960's comic caper. The plot really isn't anything special. It's not that funny, either; most laughs derive from Simone having to live with Jacques. And finally, the ending is fairly weak.

Overall, "The Pink Panther" isn't a bad movie and certainly no worse than similar films of the era. But it could've used either more plot complications or more laughs. Ideally, more complications played straight.

I'd recommend it if you like crime movies and don't mind the movie being dull and misogynistic.
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2/10
Bumbling and inept, but sadly I'm not just talking about Inspector Clouseau here
jimbo-53-18651128 October 2015
For me, The Pink Panther is one of those films that seems to offer viewers what I like to call 'humour of the lowest common denominator'. It becomes evident very early on and throughout the entirety of the film that the only running gag that's on offer here relates to our bumbling and inept Inspector Clouseau. At sporadic intervals in the film we'll witness him trip over violins, walking into doors, fall over, have doors opened into him etc. It's something that is moderately amusing for about 5-10 minutes, but wears thin fast. Aside from sight gags the script offers no real laughs and it just shows a real laziness on behalf of the writers.

The story involving 2 people (one of whom is simply known as The Phantom) trying to steal a precious jewel from a princess certainly held a lot of promise, but for the first 75 minutes it gets no real focus and it just seemed to veer from one pointless scene to another. I think a big failing with this film is that it spent most of its time showing Clouseau as being inept in a clumsy way rather than making him inept as a detective - the latter certainly would have made the film much funnier. There also isn't much of a mystery here which to me defeats the whole purpose of the film. Most of the dialogue is inane and irritating, the story is dull and unengaging and the turn of events at the end are both ridiculous and nonsensical.

The only part of the film I found to be mildly amusing was the scene where Clouseau's wife is trying to prevent him finding the 2 men in their room. Like I say it was only mildly amusing and sadly, for me, the film failed to register any big laughs at all.

If you like seeing cheap sight gags such as Peter Sellers falling over things, him walking into doors etc then you'll be well catered for here. However, if you prefer comedy where the humour stems from the characters and situations being funny then you're probably best avoiding this one.
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4/10
Not enough of Sellers, too much of Niven
ExpendableMan1 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I re-watched this today alongside 'A Shot In The Dark' and 'Revenge of the Pink Panther' having got the DVD box-set for Christmas as I have very fond memories of watching the series as a child and laughing myself stupid. But in all honesty, this original is one of the worst and is certainly nowhere near the 'laugh-out-loud-constantly' anarchy of later entries in the series.

And the reason for this is simple, Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau does not get enough screen time. This film was crafted as an ensemble comedy and Sellers, while obviously the most endearing character, plays a secondary role to David Niven and Robert Wagner, who play the uncle and nephew thieves attempting to steal the fabled diamond, with the help of Clouseau's wife of all people.

Needless to say, this could have been pulled off if Niven and Wagner's characters weren't two of the most snobbish and egotistical creeps of all time. Clouseau's good natured but stupid behaviour makes him the most endearing character of all, the fact that his own wife is aiding the villains makes him even more sympathetic and the end result is highly unsatisfying when Niven and Wagner get away with their crime, because the female characters are just so terribly, terribly besotted with them. So Sellers gets very little screen time and the two arrogant criminals you want to see getting their comeuppance walk scott free after framing him.

Stick to the sequels, aside from the madcap party scene at the climax, this is nowhere near as funny, charming or satisfying at all.
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