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A Shot in the Dark (1964)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Mystery  |  23 June 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 18,398 users  
Reviews: 108 user | 45 critic

When rich M. Ballon's spanish driver is found shot dead, Inspector Jacques Clouseau is the first official on the scene. All evidence suggests Maria Gambrelli, the maid, to be the murderer. ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dominique Ballon
Graham Stark ...
Moira Redmond ...
Vanda Godsell ...
Madame LaFarge
Maurice Kaufmann ...
Ann Lynn ...
David Lodge ...
André Maranne ...
Martin Benson ...
Reginald Beckwith ...
Receptionist at nudist camp


When rich M. Ballon's spanish driver is found shot dead, Inspector Jacques Clouseau is the first official on the scene. All evidence suggests Maria Gambrelli, the maid, to be the murderer. But Clouseau, being attracted to the beautiful girl, is convinced that she is hiding something. So, he has her released from jail and tries to follow her secretly. Things do not work out the way the inspector wanted and people keep being murdered, and each time innocent Maria seems to be the killer. But with someone important wanting Clouseau and nobody else to cover this case, his tolerance-challenged boss Charles Dreyfuss is close to losing his mind when casualties keep turning up. And Clouseau keeps on causing trouble without knowing it... Written by Julian Reischl <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This is a real high calibre comedy! See more »


Comedy | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

23 June 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quand l'inspecteur s'emmêle  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006. See more »


When Jacques Clouseau finishes interviewing Maria Gambrelli, the world globe has Australia clearly in view. After she leaves, Clouseau goes to the window, and then goes to spin the globe, and the globe has been repositioned with Australia no longer dominant. See more »


Dreyfus: François would you please call for a doctor.
Françios: Are you ill?
Dreyfus: I seem to have stabbed myself with the letter opener.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits are presented in a cartoon sequence with wording appearing on pieces of paper held by the cartoon characters, and so on. See more »


Referenced in Inspector Gadget (1999) See more »


Shadows of Paris
Music by Henry Mancini
Lyrics by Robert Wells
Performed by Fran Jeffries
See more »

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User Reviews

Sequel? Prequel? Hard to tell, but it has some laughs
11 January 2005 | by (Cincinnati, OH) – See all my reviews

The germination of the "Pink Panther" series of comedic mystery films is a complicated one. The first film in the series, "The Pink Panther", was actually the second one to be filmed! This film, "A Shot in the Dark", was originally intended to be the adaptation of a stage play, but director Edwards and actor Sellers refit the main character to accommodate the persona of Inspector Clouseu, which they were developing for "The Pink Panther". However, when the film was completed, it wasn't released and was deemed unfunny. Then when "The Pink Panther" was a hit, the studio released "A Shot in the Dark" as a sequel and a series was born. This explains why elements from the first film are absent from the second (Mrs. Clouseu anyone?) and why the second (actually first!) set the tone for the following films more than the first (actually the second! Confused yet?) Here, Sellers is front and center as the hapless and ever-clumsy Inspector. Freed from sharing screen time with a higher billed co-star (David Niven in the previous film) and without a particularly coherent plot to follow, he is allowed to engage in pratfall after pratfall and scenario after goofy scenario. Today's audiences may not completely go for the subtle, meticulously timed method of comedy shown here with emphasis on set up and repetitiveness, but patient and observant audience members should still find the film funny. By now, so much of the material has been cribbed or expanded upon, some of the edge is lost, but enough of the humor and situational gags are amusing enough to make the film worthwhile. Sellers insists upon the innocence of curvy stunner Sommer, a maid who has been found in a locked room with a dead body and a smoking gun in her hand. Time after time, he lets her out of prison and the body count increases. His thorough incompetence drives his superior (Lom) to insanity. Sommer's employer Sanders, a man of great wealth and taste, is also appalled by the bumbling Sellers, never more so than when he manages to practically trash a billiard room during a friendly game. One famous sequence has Sellers tracking Sommer down in a nudist colony. The modest Inspector navigates the idyllic hideaway using any available object to cover himself as the campers frolic behind shrubs and other props. Reed glams it up, but gets little to do as Sanders' bitchy wife. Another memorable sequence has Sellers and Sommer on a date with victim after victim falling prey to an assassin that's after Sellers. It's all a farcical enterprise that one must be in the mood for to fully enjoy. Otherwise, it becomes a little tiresome, but fans of physical comedy ought to lap it up. The remaining sequels were all sort of hybrids of "The Pink Panther" mixed with "A Shot in the Dark" and had fair success until the death of Sellers made it difficult to continue (but continue they did, using outtakes and other footage of the man! Anything to make a buck!) Henry Mancini provided some nice music, notably over the animated title sequence.

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