Inspector Clouseau travels to Rome to catch a notorious jewel thief known as "The Phantom" before he conducts his most daring heist yet--a princess' priceless diamond with one slight imperfection, known as "The Pink Panther."
To prove that he still is strong and powerful, Philippe Douvier decides to kill Clouseau. Once news of his "death" has been announced, Clouseau tries to take advantage of it and goes undercover with Cato to find out who tried to kill him.
Inspector Clouseau disappears, and the Surete wants the world's second best detective to look for him. However, Clouseau's enemy, Dreyfus, rigs the Surete's computer to select, instead, the... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
The best of the Pink Panther films, but not as funny as it should have been
When a murder occurs in the house of millionaire Benjamin Ballon, Inspector Clouseau is put on the case. When he makes a real pigs ear of it, Commissioner Dreyfus takes him off the case until political pressure forces him to put him back on it. The maid, Maria Gambrelli was found in a locked room with a gun in her hands and a body at her feet - all the clues appear to point to her, but Clouseau is too taken by her beauty to believe it could be her. He pursues a more complex theory, much to the chagrin of Dreyfus - but could his bumbling have brought him onto the right track.
In terms of cinema, 1964 was one of the best years of Peter Seller's career; not only did he make his best film with several great performances (Dr Strangelove) but he also made the best of the Pink Panther films with this entry. The two films are quite different - Strangelove is very much an all round performance(s) whereas Shot In The Dark displays his physical comedy to great effect. The basic plot is a murder mystery but it doesn't really matter who did what to whom as the focus of the film is the bumbling investigation of Clouseau. This is as funny as the character got and the material is pretty good. It depends a great deal on your personal taste as to how much you are laughing at this film. I found it funny but not as funny as I had hoped I would. The reason for this was that the film relied very heavily on Clouseau. The problem with this is that the comedy around Clouseau usually requires a small build up and hence a lag before the laugh
hence the laughs are spaced rather than consistent.
Of course, basing the film around Sellers is not a bad thing in itself, it's just the material that needed to be sharper and funnier. Although I like Sellers better in other things (namely Strangelove and The Goons) but he is the only man who could do this role and he does it very well indeed. Sommer is actually pretty good and manages to add to the laughs. Sanders is a nice addition even if he plays it straight most of the way; Lom on the other hand is increasingly funny as he breaks down - he is better here than in other films. Kwouk is given a small role but he shows that he has a flair for comedy (a flair that he has continued to show recently including his series with Harry Hill).
Overall, those hoping for a rip-roaring spoof may well be a little disappointed as it is not a laugh a second, even if it is still funny. The plot doesn't really matter and the material could have been sharper and more consistent, but it still stands out as the best of the Pink Panther films. All in all, 1964 and these two films is as good proof of Sellers' abilities as you could ask for and he carries this film here.
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