Time: 113 Minutes
Rating: Not Rated
AWARDS: Academy Award nomination for Best Score.
SYNOPSIS: Bumbling and conceited French police inspector Clouseau tries to catch The Phantom, a daring jewel thief whose identity and features are unknown - and is acting right under his nose.
BOTTOM LINE: Though this is considered a comedy classic, I have to say I was underwhelmed when I re-watched it recently. I'm not a huge fan of Blake Edwards' films, but I remembered this being funnier than it was. I think the main issue I had with it is there is not enough Peter Sellers. One can't separate him from his role as Inspector Clouseau and yet he's not the star of this film. David Niven is. Niven is a fine actor, but it's Sellers' outrageous behavior that makes you laugh and he's just not given enough screen time to make this film really work over the two hours.
For those of you interested in the plot, the Pink Panther is a world famous diamond Inspector Clouseau is watching in order to catch his nemesis, the Phantom, an infamous jewel thief, whose identity is not kept a secret to the audience. The film follows his bumbling efforts on the case and in the bedroom, as he tries to stop the Phantom and make love to his wife (played by the pretty yet vapid Capucine)...who isn't exactly helpful with either endeavor.
Sellers has some wonderful moments and the rest of the cast is pretty good as well, it's the lack of mystery in regards to the Phantom's identity that shoots this film in the foot right from the start. Keeping the audience guessing along with Clousseau would have made a real difference to me, but I guess the producers thought allowing the audience to feel superior to him once the better way to go. It's not a bad beginning to this comedy series, it's just not the best it could be. However, if you're looking for a little light entertainment filled with dashing men, beautiful women and pratfalls galore, this will fill the bill.