Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Film #2 for Claudia Cardinale week: The Pink Panther (Not on the 1001 movie list, but I needed something a little lighter after The Leopard.)

I grew up going to see all The Pink Panther movies during the 70’s. The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Return of the Pink Panther and The Revenge of the Pink Panther. The success of all of theses movies all hinge on Peter Sellers comedic portrayal of the bumbling but dedicated French Police Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

So it was quite a surprised the first time I viewed the original Pink Panther on television and saw that the biggest role in the film was David Niven’s as the Phantom. I kept hoping for more of Clouseau. I eventually got some, but I was largely disappointed. The second film in the series, A Shot in the Dark, which starred Sellers front and center, I liked better.

Viewing the original The Pink Panther today, it’s actually a pretty fun, if lightweight heist film with the charming Niven supported by the comedy of Sellers and the beautiful supporting ladies Claudia Cardinale and Capucine. The titles with the cartoon pink panther are lively and of course the Pink Panther theme by Henry Mancini has been drilled into my head for all time.

But is it good enough for the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list?
I would include it in my book, but with an asterisk. Next to the asterisk should read: “Viewer has the option of seeing A Shot in the Dark ,The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Return of the Pink Panther or The Revenge of the Pink Panther as substitutes. All feature Peter Sellers as Clouseau. The Trail of the Pink Panther or The Curse of the Pink Panther are not acceptable substitutes as these films were pieced together after Sellers’s death. Alan Arkin or Steve Martin portrayals as the character are also unacceptable substitutes for the purpose of inclusion on this film list.

The Pink Panther cartoon: Many of us have fond memories of The Pink Panther animated series that aired on Saturday morning, but how many of us remember the short lived cereal called Pink Panther Flakes? For the record, they tasted an awful lot like Frosted Flakes.

Claudia Cardinale in The Pink Panther

First of all don’t get Claudia Cardinale and Capucine confused: I do remember the first time I saw this, I couldn’t keep straight which was which, but for the record Claudia was the princess and Capucine was Mrs. Clouseau.

After all these years can’t you still keep it straight?: For the purpose of this week’s Claudia Cardinale blogs, I thought about watching another Peter Sellers/Cardinale film, What’s New Pussycat? The only problem is Peter’s co-star in this was Capucine.Oops.

Claudia Cardinale’s entrance: The first glimpse we have of Claudia has her smiling on the ski slopes where she has a 'cute meet' with David Niven. Most of her other entrances are in Yves St. Laurent gowns and are accompanied by romantic music, circa 1964.

Films acknowledgement of Claudia’s place in the universe: In the opening credits we see the animated Pink Panther wolf whistle when Claudia’s name enters the credits. If the mere sight of Claudia’s name can get an animated character hot and bothered, who am I to argue?

Claudia on a 1-10 scale for The Pink Panther: Despite the elegant gowns, my main quibble is that I kept wishing Claudia had let down her hair a little more. I’m speaking literally, of course. Then we have the scene where she gets intoxicated on top of a tiger skin rug. Grrrrr! Claudia ranking: a 10!

Next up: Once Upon a Time in the West


  1. I liked Pink Panther a lot, but I thought A Shot in the Dark was better and funnier. Great post!

  2. I didn't even realize until my recent viewing that Peter Ustinov was going to be Clouseau until he backed out of the production at the last minute.