The bumbling 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.
Ballon household: Benjamin Ballon and his wife Madame Ballon, Henri Lafarge the head Butler and his wife Madame Lafarge the Cook, Miguel Ostos the Head Chauffeur, Maria Gambrelli the third maid, Pierre the second Chauffeur and his wife Dudo the head Maid, Georges the Gardener and his wife Simone the second Maid, Maurice the second Butler. Affairs: Monsieur Ballon and Maria, Maria and Miguel, Henri and Dudo, Madame Ballon and Henri, Pierre and Simone. Who killed who: Madame Ballon accidentally shot Miguel because she suspected her husband of having an affair with Maria and wanted to kill him. Madame LaFarge killed Georges because he threatened to break up with her. Simone killed Dudo to eliminate her because she was in the way of her affair with Pierre. Monsieur Ballon killed Henri because he was having an affair with his wife. Blackmailers: Georges blackmailing Monsieur Ballon (Seen leaving Maria's room). Maurice blackmailing Madame Ballon. (Seen leaving Maria's room).Written by
When Clouseau answers the door bell and finds a package (a clock with a bomb) you can see clearly that someone has left the keys in the door lock as he opens the door. See more »
Commissioner Dreyfus... Ah, yes, my darling... I was just about to call you. I'm on my way. I've got the cheese and the beaujolais... What?
... My love. Kiss the children for me, hmm?
[covers phone mouthpiece; answers intercom]
Your wife is on the other line.
Tell her I'm out of town.
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The title sequence is of an animated Inspector Clouseau bumbling around, getting into scrapes. See more »
Although "A Shot in the Dark" is really the second film in the Pink Panther series, in many ways it is a beginning, as the first film to showcase Peter Sellers' bumbling Inspector Clouseau as the highlight of the film, overcoming the first film's occasional shortcomings due mainly to devoting too much screen time to David Niven's jewel thief, when what audiences really wanted was more Clouseau. Well here, their wish came true as there are virtually no scenes in the film without Clouseau present, and it is all the better as such. There can be no doubt that Peter Sellers is one of the greatest comedic actors of all time, and he is the primary reason the film is so enjoyable.
Director Blake Edwards is wise enough to latch onto this fact, and indeed, the entire premise of the film is essentially just a series of opportunities for Sellers to make full use of his brilliant physical comedy skills wrapped around a twisty murder mystery, as Clouseau struggles to prove that the prime suspect, the beautiful maid Maria (Elke Sommer) is not guilty, despite an increasing load of evidence proving otherwise. Introduced here are also Pink Panther regular characters Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) and Clouseau's lethal assistant Cato (Burt Kwouk), instructed to attack him when he least expects it to keep his guard up. (said instances including when in the bath, and in bed with Maria)
The storyline is admittably simple, with only a few basic twists to conceal the murderer's identity until the end, and mainly does exist to give Peter Sellers full reign to do what he is so very skilled at doing - evoking laughs out of the most ordinary situations or what would have been deemed immature and juvenile if attempted by another actor. (the primary reason Steve Martin's latest re-hash is almost certain to flop - he can never hope to compare to Sellers in his iconic role) And of course, Henry Mancini's unforgettable jazz theme music is a welcome addition to an already great movie.
It may seem strange that the only film in the series without the words "Pink Panther" should turn out to be the best in the series, but such is the case here. The film may seem somewhat dated, and perhaps not quite as witty as it would have been back in the 1960s, but Sellers' unique comedic talents assure that the entertainment value of the movie remains classic, even 40 years on.
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