MSRP: $14.98

Commentry by Blake Edwards


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The Pitch

David Niven robs somebody.

The Humans

David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Herbert Lom and Capucine

The Nutshell

Sir Charles might be the world’s greatest jewel thief. In his secret life as the Phantom, Sir Charles targets Princess Dala’s prized Pink Panther diamond. When the diamond goes missing, everyone panics. Naturally, the bumbling French detective Inspector Clouseau gets called in to solve the case. 

The Lowdown

The film is a dated bedroom farce. Let’s just get that out of the way, as I have no love for Blake Edwards and his work. Most of his better films are saved by screenplays that were far too good for him to direct. Days of Wine and Roses, I’m looking at you. But, what makes a casual caper movie work? It can’t be all the comedic antics of Clouseau. At what point, does it become entertaining?

The Pink Panther is made a better movie by three actors. Peter Sellers and his legendary comedic timing. David Niven and his ability to be the suavest motherfucker ever to grace the Silver Screen. Robert Wagner and his ability to be Robert Wagner. The Holy Trinity of Cold War Comedy brings tomfoolery, sophistication and vapidness to new heights. This film works through the motions of a paper-thin tale about a rare diamond by being as 1-D as possible.

The film is very dated with its inability to decide whether it’s a caper or a romantic holiday movie. Henry Mancini’s well-known score sets a tempo that very few actors can match. Luckily, Sellers and Niven play off each other to find a happy middle ground. The bumbling inspector pushes the thin story along the path with his ability to never give up on a losing case. While, you have David Niven trying to bring an ounce of charm to a film that makes the Jeeves comedies look hip.

Unless you happen to be a fan of older Hollywood comedies, this won’t really wow you. It’s M. Hulot’s Holiday made for the Baby Boomers of a crass American landscape. That’s not a terribly bad thing. Americans have a piss-poor relation with the shit culture that we’ve bred and pushed onto the world at large. There are gems in the pop-void of the comedies, romances and other trivial passings of time.

What works with this flick is that it holds your attention with not a lot of material. You want to see Clouseau save the day. Sure, he’s an idiot that’s about two seconds from getting killed. But, he’s so sincere in the face of all adversity. Plus, he takes his violin to bed.

Then, there’s the unsung hero of the film. Robert Wagner plays David Niven’s nephew. There’s no connection between the very American Wagner and Niven’s performance. R.J. Wagner just shows up and kind of works like a talking setpiece. Sure, a lamp with a toupee would’ve been a funnier sight. But, you work with what MGM gives you. 

The Package

The DVD seems slightly less packed than its 2006 DVD predecessor. You lose a trivia track and some trailers to gain some quicky featurettes about the film’s production. There’s not a lot here that’ll set the world on fire. But, you get a fun time with a classic comedy. I would’ve liked to seen a more substantial approach to Sellers’ Panther adventures. But, I guess that I have to wait for a Collector’s Edition of A Shot in the Dark.

7.2 out of 10