Starring: Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders
Director: Blake Edwards
Running Time: 102 mins
A Shot In The Dark is an American film and the sequel to The Pink Panther. Following the murder of a Spanish chauffeur at the house of the prestigious billionaire Mr. Ballon, bumbling police inspector Jacques Clouseau is called out to investigate.
First things first, this definitely isn’t as good as The Pink Panther, but as far as sequels go, it is one of the better ones. Featuring another fantastically funny performance by Peter Sellers, more of the brilliant slapstick we loved from the first movie, and a story that, whilst not always so intriguing, builds over the course of the film to give an excellent ending.
What baffles me most about this film is how Peter Sellers’ acting just never gets old. The first movie was just watching Clouseau fall over again and again and again, and this time round, we get the same thing, but even more, and yet it’s always so much fun to watch. Okay, maybe I wasn’t laughing out loud as much as the first film, but there was never a time where I felt that Sellers’ insanely stupid performance was getting tiring; it really is absolute comedy gold.
But, much like The Pink Panther, A Shot In The Dark isn’t all about watching Clouseau fall over a lot (although that does happen. A lot.), and there are heaps more jokes to enjoy too. With some fantastic running gags, slightly more bawdy slapstick, and brilliant new characters like the hilarious Commissioner Dreyfuss, there’s still a hell of a lot to laugh at the second time round, and that’s something very rare when it comes to comedy sequels.
Moving onto the plot, it’s largely the reason why this isn’t quite as good as the first film. Yes, the mystery is interesting, but unlike The Pink Panther, where it always went hand in hand with the laughs, and in fact was the main source of a lot of the laughs, the plot here is both a little less intriguing, and a lot more detached from the comedy.
For the first half of the film, I didn’t really care all that much about the mystery that’s being solved, because I was just getting a real kick out of watching Clouseau get into all sorts of kerfuffles in the most unimaginable ways possible. Having said that, however, the story does grow, and as it moves into the second act, and we get another curveball thrown at us in the form of the ‘phantom assassin’, it gets a lot more interesting, and makes for another genuinely exciting finale.
Overall, A Shot In The Dark is a great continuation of the series. It may not be as comedically impressive or intriguing as its predecessor, but in the end, Sellers’ performance, the new jokes and the ending all came together to make another thoroughly enjoyable film, and that’s why I’ll give this a 7.5.