Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Pink Panther

The notorious cat burglar known as The Phantom (David Niven) has eluded Paris police inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) for years, and the bumbling detective hasn't even the slightest clue as to his identity, probably because the thief's inside mole happen's to be his own wife (Capucine)! Now all three, along with The Phantom's shifty nephew (Robert Wagner) wind up at a French Chateau where the cat burglar plans to strike again, stealing the invaluable Pink Panther diamond belonging to a beautiful Middle Eastern princess (Claudia Cardinale). The first entry in the Pink Panther series isn't quite the gag filled laugh riot I remembered as a kid, with Peter Sellers barely being in it, playing more of a supporting role. David Niven adequately fills the void though playing the dashing burglar and Capucine and Claudia Cardinale are quite stunning in their roles. While the film tends to drag at times, it is highlighted by three late, wonderful sequences: first a boudoir mixup scene, then one at a costume party, which is culminated in a pretty great chase number. Though not as plentiful as remembered, "The Pink Panther" offers a few laughs, a lot of glamour, some well realized sequences, and of course the inimitable Peter Sellers, although in reduced form.