Meet Inspector Jacques Clouseau - the bumbling French detective whose career is one gigantic bananapeel. Showcasing the comic genius of Peter Sellers, this "delightful caper" (Leonard Maltin) brimswith "winning charm" (Th... more »e Film Daily) and clever slapstick. David Niven, Robert Wagner and Capucineco-star in the sidesplitting film that launched one of the greatest comedy series of all time! Arriving at an Italian ski resort with a large diamond known as the Pink Panther, Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) encounters the suave Sir Charles (Niven), who also happens to be the notorious jewel thief The Phantom. Can Clouseau (Sellers), the clumsiest inspector ever to trip over a case, stop SirCharles' plot...or will The Phantom steal the "cat" and leave Clouseau holding the bag?« less
"This, the first of the exquisite Pink Panther series, is an amazing film. To know that originally Peter Ustinov was cast to play Jacques Clouseau as a straight, inept French detective is a sobering thought. After Ustinov dropped out, of course, Peter Sellers got the role and after consultation with Blake Edwards, decided to make him not only inept, but also bumbling and accident prone, a characterization that defines how we think of Clouseau today. This film is interesting in that since it is the first of the series it is interesting to see the origins of the character, and how different he is here than in later 'Panther' films. Here is clumsy and prone to pratfalls, but is less flamboyantly slapstick than in the later films. The film also stars the wonderful David Niven, who plays the perfect suave English thief, and a very young Robert Wagner as his equally debonair nephew. Female stars are the beautiful Claudia Cardinale and Capucine, two of the top European actresses and models from the era.The movie is a bit more sedate than the later films in the series, but still is one of the funniest movies of the sixties. 'A Shot In The Dark', also released in 1964, as the first sequel, began the transformation to the later formulas with additions such as the wonderful Herbert Lom. 'The Pink Panther' does introduce the animated 'Pink Panther' short for the first time, as well as the often imitated, never duplicated title theme. Other viewers will have their own favorite scenes, and the costume party is surely one of the highlights of the film, but for my money the best scenes in the film revolve around Clouseau trying to woo his wife by playing his Stradivarius violin, over many protestations. The look of pain on David Niven's face during his playing is worth the price of the film alone If I were doing it today, I would buy this DVD as part of the multi DVD 'Pink Panther' set, where it also includes a few interesting bonuses such as a 'trivia track', which adds great tidbits about the film.Peter Sellers was a comic genius, and the world still waits for another genius of his stature. I think we will be waiting a long, long time."
firstname.lastname@example.org | 12/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This first Pink Panther movie is as good as the next "A Shot in the Dark." Both are excellent films, with a sound story, a creatively hilarious and smart screenplay, a well-developed set of characters, and a unique style of filming that elevates "slapstick comedy" to the highest level of sophistication. there are so many quotable lines that are well-worth to write them down as you watch the movie. The soundtrack song "Meglio Stasera(It had better be tonight)"is excellent and written to fit perfectly into the theme and mood of the film. Fran Jeffries sings it very well to a crowd of people by a fireplace, and she is as delightful as this scene itself. Claudia Cardinale and Capucine show style and charm in their roles. The title sequence runs over 7 minutes and it is as good as the movie itself. The 60's represent, in my opinion, the highest point in fashion and general pop culture which truly reflects the highest level of sophistication and taste; in this context, this movie is one of the movies that best represent the 60's. I agree with the other viewer that this movie should figure in the 100 Best movies of any list. The DVD is great with the finest picture quality; check the trailer because it is hysterically comical and very original, not the case of modern movie trailers. This movie is ideal for a cozy evening with friends and your favorite martinis. I just wish there were a special DVD edition with Director Blake Edwards' commentary on separate track, and of others involved in the making of this masterpiece."
First Pink Panther sets the stage, but pales besides others
Daniel J. Hamlow | Narita, Japan | 01/02/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Inspector Jacques Clouseau is hot on the trail of the Phantom, a jewel thief whom he describes as "the shrewdest, cleverest, most ingenious criminal in all the world." And he's never seen him. Clouseau thinks that his next target is the Pink Panther diamond belonging to Princess Dalla, ruler of an unspecified country near India. Yet at very extraverted socialite Angela Dunning's party in the snowswept mountainside in Cortina D'Ampezzo in Northern Italy, he believes that one of her guests is the Phantom.He is totally devoted to his wife Simone, but that isn't reciprocated. Behind his back, she is having an affair with the famed middle-aged debonair playboy, Sir Charles Lytton, and due to a misunderstanding, manipulating his nephew George, a college graduate from America.However, Sir Charles is up to some machinations, as he has an accomplice steal Princess Dalla's dog, only to get into a skiing accident, and he's very keen on gaining the Princess's confidence, who has the reputation of being the "virgin queen." However, some bubbly loosens her up, and the pretty Claudia Cardinale does a good job in portraying her in that state.Other funny scenes involve Simone trying to hide both Lyttons in her hotel room while Jacques is in the bathroom. Both Lyttons' attempts to escape are foiled by room service or Jacques emerging from the bathroom. And the bewildered old man trying to cross the street, only to have cars zipping past him every other step, including two driven by men dressed in gorilla costumes, Clouseau shouting instructions, and even a pantomime zebra (don't ask!), has got to be a classic.As a pilot movie for the character of Inspector Clouseau, it's not bad, but compared to the later entries, where the slapstick, silly French mispronunciations of English words, pain and destruction gags, and unexpected comical kung-fu fighting made the series a laugh riot, this pales considerably. Yes, Clouseau is a bumbler, clumsily stepping on feet, tripping over objects, getting his hand caught in something, etc. but the scenes with David Niven (Sir Charles), Robert Wagner (George), Capucine (Simone), and the princess outweighs Peter Sellers presence in this movie. Hence a change in formula and cast, with Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk, Andre Maranne, and Graham Stark in A Shot In The Dark, also shot and released the same year, where Peter Sellers and his antics took center stage, resulting in a marked improvement and a classic comedy.The animated opening titles are amusing, featuring the famed cartoon character and Henry Mancini's immortal theme. And Fran Jeffries singing an Italian version of "It Had Better Be Right" is a musical highlight in the movie. As for where they got the name the Pink Panther, it's because of a flaw in the diamond, a tiny discolouration that resembled a leaping pink panther--hence the name."
email@example.com | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Pink Panther" is as good as the next "A Shot in the Dark". Both are examples of how to make excellent comedies, with a sound story, a creatively hilarious and smart screenplay, a good set of characters, and a unique style of filming that elevates "slapstick comedy" to the highest level of sophistication. There are so many quotable lines that are well worth to write them down as you watch the movie. The interchange between the Princess and David Niven from their first meeting has not only humor but also wit and "serious" commentaries that can be easily overlooked if one is not paying a special attention to these scenes. The soundtrack song "Meglio Stasera(It had better be tonight)" is delicious and perfectly defines the mood of the film. Fran Jeffries, who sings it to a crowd gathered in a fireplace, is as delightful as the scene itself. Claudia Cardinale and Capucine are gorgeous and show style and charm in their roles. Please note the title sequences because they are as funny as the movie itself. The 60's represents , in my opinion, the highest point in fashion and general pop culture which truly reflects the highest level of sophistication and taste in a world that was gradually losing its innocence and cynicism was taking hold; in this context, this movie is one of the movies that best represent the 60's. I agree with the other reviewer that this movie should figure in the 100 best movies of any list. This DVD is great with a good quality of picture; check the trailer because it has a hysterically comical and very original mix with animation, which is not the case of modern movie trailers. I only wish there were a special DVD edition with Director Blake Edwards' commentary, and of others responsible of this movie, on a separate audio track."
A Real Steal
AntiochAndy | Antioch, CA USA | 12/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Pink Panther" is an elegant comedy. That's something they seem to have forgotten how to make, nowadays. It is nothing like the sophomoric stuff churned out by the likes of Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, et al. It is not about somebody's school days, there are no cheerleaders in it, nor is there anybody called "Dude" in it. Instead, "The Pink Panther" features David Niven as a charming jewel thief called "The Phantom", Claudia Cardinale as Princess Dala, owner of the world's largest diamond, Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, and Capucine as the Inspector's wife who just happens to also be the accomplice of "The Phantom".Yes, as you may have guessed by now, this comedy actually has a plot. It also has lots of witty dialogue, some lovely European scenery, and Oscar-winning music by Henry Mancini. Even the animated credits were critically acclaimed, and the animated Pink Panther went on to a successful cartoon career. But don't think it's all style and finesse. There is also plenty of classic slapstick as well, most of it supplied by Sellers. It was this movie that introduced Inspector Clouseau (as played by Sellers) to the world. Sellers would go on to make several sequels in that role. Throw in a huge costume party with too many gorillas, a car chase, and a couple of busy evenings in the Inspector's Alpine hotel room, and you have a movie that manages to be both elegant and very funny at the same time. This should be in your video (or DVD) library."