Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
Released on June 23, 1964
Directed by Blake Edwards
Written by Blake Edwards and William Peter Blatty
Cast: Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders, Herbert Lom, Tracy Reed, Graham Stark, Moira Redmond, Vanda Godsell, André Maranne, Burt Kwouk, Bryan Forbes, Reginald Beckwith
The absolutely hilarious follow-up to The Pink Panther, written and directed again by Blake Edwards, with Peter Sellers now firmly established in the lead as Inspector Clouseau, who is called upon to solve several murders at the country estate of wealthy George Sanders, his wife, and their hired help. After a ‘revolving door’ opening sequence that set up the story, the film settled into a series of comedic scenarios in which Clouseau bumbled his way from one event to the next, all the while dealing with the witnesses and prime suspects in the murders, his long-suffering boss Herbert Lom, and his manservant Kato, played by Burt Kwouk.
A million more laughs than its predecessor, or any one of its multiple sequels and remakes; filled with sight gags, non sequiturs, one-liners, deadpan responses, physical humor, ad-libbing, and an overall sense of craziness that thankfully remained intelligent at all times. All of the actors and their characters were wonderful, but for me the movie succeeded because of Sellers, whose comic timing and skills were amazing, and to me were similar to that of an oafish Groucho Marx. There were great farcical moments and dialogue everywhere—even Henry Mancini’s score was funny—but my favorite scene had to be the ‘gather all the suspects together in one room’ wrap-up, where the jokes flew a mile a minute.
And credit too must be given to the directorial work of Edwards, and the screenplay from William Peter Blatty, who also wrote the surprisingly unfunny The Exorcist. Elke Sommer was beyond cute as the murder suspect who became Clouseau’s love interest; during their date night, if you peeled away the outer layers of murder and mayhem that was transpiring around them, you would see that their time spent together was really quite heartwarming and sweet. I can watch this movie again and again, and it will always make me laugh…it’s easily one of my favorite comedies of all time. (9/10)