The Pink Panther
Imagine you made a Marx Brothers film, and spent two-thirds of your screen time following Gummo and Zeppo. Looking at this film—which I really liked when it was new—after many years have passed, I realize that no one involved had the slightest idea what they had here. Top billing went to … Robert Wagner? I had entirely forgotten he was even in the film. Second billing, David Niven. When you think of the Pink Panther films you think of one thing only: Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Actually, about halfway through the shooting, Blake Edwards did realize that Sellers was stealing the show, which is why the movie was a big success and spawned sequels that are much better than the original. The problem is that no one in the audience gave a rap about the jewel of the title, they just wanted to see more Clouseau. Instead, we get a painfully awful five-minute seduction scene (that seems even longer) between Niven and Claudia Cardinale on a tiger-skin rug that climaxes with her passing out after half a glass of champagne. This is a very lame film, part smirking bedroom farce of the Doris Day school, part caper movie much inferior to just about any caper movie I can think of. Don’t waste your time.