Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Pink Panther (1963)

It's a mystery to me what this film is doing in America's National Film Registry.

The first in a series of Pink Panther films moves so very slow. This kitty has arthritic paws.

There are some very funny moments, but viewers need nine lives of their own to sit through an almost two-hour film. Cinephiles, have some Fancy Feast to keep you going during this long film.

It's creepy to see David Niven, then 54, cast as a playboy making moves on the drop-dead gorgeous, and much younger, Princess Dahla (Claudia Cardinale). She would have been in her mid-twenties when this film by American director Blake Edwards was made. There's a lengthy, like a lot of scenes in this film, seduction effort by Niven's Sir Charles Litton on Dahla. This couple may be pitching woo by a fireplace, but there's precious little heat generated by this pair. Yikes.

The best things in this film are Henry Mancini's fine score - he earned the film's lone Oscar nomination - and a young Robert Wagner's work as the loutish nephew of Sir Charles. He has an eye for the ladies too, but is nowhere near as slick as Uncle Chuck.

Niven and Wagner are both interested in Mrs. Clouseau (Capucine). Another one of this film's extended scenes has the two of them hiding out in Clouseau's suite when the bumbling Inspector (Peter Sellers) returns unexpectedly. If The Pink Panther was like a good sex farce on stage, there'd be howls aplenty. Doesn't happen here. Give the filmmakers credit for setting up this scene, but the big laughs just can't be found.

The film's big chase finale, involving several cars, participants from a masquerade party and a jewel theft, has its moments of absurdity. But Edwards just keeps extending the scene. Yawn.

What a disappointment.

RATING: 4/10

1 comment:

Robert M. Lindsey said...

I agree with you. It's amazing to me that any sequels were ever planned. I thought the Niven-Cardinale fireplace scene was interminable.