Starring: Peter Sellers, David Niven, Capucine
Director: Blake Edwards
Running Time: 115 mins
The Pink Panther is an American film following bumbling detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau, as he attempts to catch the infamous jewel thief, The Phantom, despite him living literally next door.
I loved this film. It’s fantastically silly, but its manic farce works so well that I was laughing my socks off right the way through. But it’s not just the comedy that makes this such a fun film. The story is pretty exciting, the acting is brilliant, and the direction is really stylish, and that all comes together to make a seriously enjoyable movie.
First off, let’s talk about Peter Sellers in the lead role as Inspector Clouseau. Clouseau is an unbelievably clumsy character, but I found it impossible not to laugh at all his slapstick antics, all of which Sellers brilliantly pulls off time and time again, somehow managing to keep the jokes fresh despite it just being a man falling over countless times.
But Clouseau isn’t just a hilariously silly man, he’s a loveable character. He’s got good enough wit about him to be able to eventually get a grip on the investigation, and the fact that he’s effectively the only main character who’s on the side of good makes him the one that you are compelled to support, and that makes watching him, falling over or not, so much fun.
The comedy in general is pretty simple. Whether it’s Benny Hill-esque chase sequences, awkward mix-ups or some ridiculous innuendo, it’s all light-hearted enough to enjoy, but still clever and original enough to laugh out loud at. I was laughing consistently throughout the whole movie, and that’s arguably the most important reason for why I enjoyed it so much.
Moving onto Blake Edwards’ direction: it was fantastic. He helmed other classic comedies such as Breakfast At Tiffany’s and The Party, but The Pink Panther, to me, feels like his most stylish film. Whether it’s the lush hotel, the lavish parties (which he directs so well), or the beautiful ski slopes, this is more than just a simple comedy, but a really good-looking and well-directed film, and that deserves a lot of praise.
The story, too, is pretty good. Although pretty simple for the majority of the running time, and taking a little long to get going at the beginning, it eventually develops into what is not only a funny, but genuinely exciting finale, and a brilliant punchline that I didn’t see coming one bit.
The only glaring issue that I have with this film is one scene early on, where The Phantom attempts to seduce the woman he is trying to steal the diamond from. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not so important, but it is a scene that lasts over ten minutes, and isn’t all that funny or important to the story. Yes, there’s a couple of good innuendo jokes in there, but for the most part, I was pretty bored during that scene, and that really ruined my impression of the film for a good ten minutes.
Overall, however, there’s no denying what a fun film The Pink Panther is. A fantastically funny comedy bettered by brilliant performances, lovely directing and a generally intriguing story, so that’s why it gets a 7.9 from me.