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A Shot in the Dark (1964)
UK / English
"It's Sellers the Sleuth... and there's nothing he won't do to track down a body -- dead or alive! "
As murder follows murder, beautiful Maria is the obvious suspect; bumbling Inspector Clouseau drives his boss mad by seeing her as plainly innocent.
Peter Sellers Insp. Jacques Clouseau
Elke Sommer Maria Gambrelli
George Sanders Benjamin Ballon
Herbert Lom Charles Dreyfus
Tracy Reed Dominique Ballon
Graham Stark Hercule LaJoy
Moira Redmond Simone
Vanda Godsell Madame LaFarge
Maurice Kaufmann Pierre
Ann Lynn Dudu
David Lodge Georges
André Maranne Francois
Martin Benson Maurice
Burt Kwouk Kato
Reginald Beckwith Receptionist
Director: Blake Edwards
Producer: Blake Edwards
Writer: Marcel Achard,Harry Kurnitz
Panther No Panth, Ith Thill A Thilly Movie
"A Shot in the Dark", apparently, was intended to be a screen adaptation of a murder mystery stage play. Somehow, after the character of Inspector Clouseau caught on with audiences in "The Pink Panther", he got thrown into the mix here. The result is a movie that established the very essence of the Pink Panther movie series: murder mysteries where the "brilliant" detective just happened to be a complete klutz with barely enough brain cells to mesh two clues together.

Peter Sellers once again assumes the role of that complete klutz, with even more hilarious results than in "The Pink Panther." The film starts with a murder in the home of a French socialite, with so many shady characters creeping from room to room with lights coming on and off in true Pink Panther style that the audience isn't exactly sure who killed who. Through a bureaucratic mistake, the bumbling Inspector Clouseau is sent in. He meets the most obvious suspect, the beautiful, busty, blonde Elke Sommers, who shares top billing with Sellers. Trusting his hormones rather than the evidence, Clouseau launches a hilarious one-man campaign to prove the blonde's innocence.

A cast of supporting players that would become Pink Panther regulars is established here. Herbert Lom is Clouseau's twisted boss Commissioner Dreyfus. Burt Kwouk is Clouseau's Korean butler who engages in frequent training exercises with his master. Graham Stark, a close friend of Sellers, plays Clouseau's straight-laced side kick. The character wouldn't appear again until "Trail of the Pink Panther", although the actor would go on the play multiple roles throughout the rest of the series.

Henry Mancini scores again, but since Pink Panther wasn't intended to be the name of the franchise at the time, the famous theme music is gone. The new theme, however, is just as catchy and definitely could only be created by Mancini. The animated Pink Panther lurking around during the opening credits is also missing, though a new cast of animated characters takes his place.

Based on a mystery play, the movie is able to lampoon the conventions of murder mysteries pretty well, down to the drawing room conclusion. While the solution to the mystery is scattered, confusing, and almost non-existent, that's not really the point. Pink Panther films are about the comic misadventures of Peter Sellers' character, never about the plot.

With Clouseau finally portrayed as the hero rather than the film's antagonist, "A Shot in the Dark" sets the tone for the rest of the Pink Panther series better than "The Pink Panther" does, though the funniest sequels were still to come.

Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 4
Imdb rating: 7.5
Musician: Henry Mancini
Running time: 102 min
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3