Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Elke Sommer and Peter Sellers go au natural
A SHOT IN THE DARK (1964). Director: Blake Edwards.

"I know I fell off the sofa, madame -- everything I do is carefully planned."

The second "Pink Panther" film with Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau is an amusing trifle that may just tickle your funny bone if you're in the right mood. Clouseau is called in when the chauffeur of Mssr. Ballon (the ever-wry George Sanders) is found dead in the bedroom of the maid, Maria (Elke Sommer). Maria is the chief suspect, but Clouseau -- smitten by her beauty and with no real facts to back him up -- is convinced that she is innocent. Highlights of the film include Clouseau's visit to a nudist colony where he wants to arrest someone for indecent exposure until he realizes where he is; a darkly comic segment wherein several innocent bystanders are wiped out by someone trying to kill Clouseau who has really lousy luck -- and aim; and the climax when clueless Clouseau confronts all the gathered suspects in the drawing room. Sellers is wonderful, matched if not bettered by Herbert Lom's hilarious turn as his apoplectic boss, Charles Dreyfus, who is literally driven mad by Clouseau's ineptitude. Martin Benson of The Cosmic Monsters plays a butler. Probably inspired by Sellers, Sommer [The Money Trap] is better than usual

Verdict: Some very funny stuff here. ***. 


Neil A Russell said...

I certainly can't think of any way to describe this movie better than you have Bill, other than to opine that I have always thought it the best of the Panther flicks.

Sellers was at the top of his performance game in the mid 60s. I don't know if you've already reviewed it, but his portrayal of Dr Pratt in "The Wrong Box" was one of the funniest he ever turned in.

That's certainly not to take away any of his roles before that either. For instance; all the characters he played in "Dr Strangelove", "The Mouse that Roared", even as far back as "The Ladykillers".

Amazing talent.

William said...

I haven't seen The Wrong Box in years so thanks for reminding me of it; I want to take a look at it again.

The consensus seems to be that "Shot" is the best Panther film. I;m going to be taking another look at the others in the next few weeks.

Yes, Sellers was a comic genius.