Friday, October 18, 2013

The Pink Panther (1963)

Director: Blake Edwards

Writers: Blake Edwards, Maurice Richlin

Composer: Henry Mancini

Starring: David Nivin, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinale, Brenda de Banzie, Colin Gordon, John Le Mesurier, James Lanphier, Guy Thomajan, Michael Trubshawe, Riccardo Billi

More info: IMDb

Tagline: You only live once... so see the Pink Panther twice!!!

Plot: 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.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

It's been a couple of decades since I saw any of the PP movies.  I remember this one being rather weak, especially when compared to the second film, A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964), one I remember a lot more fondly.  Anyway, I never miss a chance to see a classic film in a movie theater so I catapulted my ass to the Castro Theater in San Francisco while there on business.  It was an amazing experience.  First of all, the theater is close to a hundred years old and it looks like one of those giant movie palaces from the old days with a beautiful decor and a gargantuan screen complete with curtains.   That's the scene.

Then Robert Wagner comes out and does a little Q&A with TCM's Robert Osborne, telling us about his experiences working on the film. That was so very cool.  To top it off, the tickets were free.  The movie starts and it's magical.  As it's the first in the series, Edwards and Sellers hadn't hit their stride the the characters.  That happens in the next movie.  Sellers is underplaying the character in comparison to the later pictures and he's brilliant.  I love the long unedited shots, giving the actors a chance to, you know, act.  The scene at the ski lodge with the girl performing the fantastic song, "It Had Better Be Tonight", is impressive, sexy and very funny and if my memory serves, there wasn't a single edit.  By the end of the picture (which has a sour ending for Clouseau) I was enthralled with the entire experience. 

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