Vic’s Classics – “A Shot in the Dark” (1964)

Clouseau: Well… that just goes to prove what I have said all along.
Dreyfus: What you’ve said, Clouseau, qualifies you as the greatest prophet since Custer said he was going to surround all those Indians!

Victor –

8 out of 10

Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers. Those two names alone conjure up images and thoughts of hilarity, slapstick, comedic timing and incredible sight gags. ASITD is the second entry in the “Pink Panther” films about the ever bungling and confused Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played with impeccable wit, timing and grand physicality by the late Peter Sellers. I choose to do this review for 2 reasons. 1 – I just came across it on netflix and watched it. 2 – I feel that those who have never seen a Pink Panther movie should at least read about one and see if they could muster a larf or two. Sellers and Edwards are worth the time and you won’t be disappointed.

There are a few welcome changes here in this entry. one being that Herbert Lom is introduced in this film as Peter Seller’s foil, Commissioner Dreyfus. Lom is just hilarious in the role as he gets further and further bothered and agitated by Clouseau’s ineptness. We are treated to Kato as well! Also, Sellers really lays the french accent on very thick here and as a result he cements, forever, his Inspector in comedic history.

The outrageously sexy female co-star, Elke Sommer plays Maria Gambrelli. Maria, a parlor maid is wrongly accused of offing her lover. Or did she really do it? Enter Clouseau to try and go to any length to prove her innocence. Even when most of the time it always points to Mara. The real antagonists are usually one step ahead of Clouseau who even manages to stake out bedrooms and even a nudist colony to get to the bottom of the case. The bad guys commit more murders to keep the blame on Maria as well. One victim being named “Dudu” haha I find that hilarious. Ahem. Anyway it’s a huge plot device, I know, for a simple slapstick comedy. But we get to see Sellers give it his all in a fantastic performance that is not yet dated, thank God.

I for one am glad that William Peter Blatty and Edwards decided to have Clouseau in this. It’s way too funny to have NOT had him in it. We once again get the famous music by Mancini even though there is no Pink Panther opening. Sellers and Edwards continued the gravy train of Clouseau’s adventures for 4 more movies with varying degrees of success. In this film Sellers is the main focus and it is not a film filled with subtle gags and references. It is an all out sight gag of a film that shines and heralds nicely from the 1960’s. Highly recommended! Enjoy. Oh and watching Sellers play pool is amazingly funny.

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