Monday, 26 March 2007

A Shot in the Dark movie review ★★★★★★★★★☆

A Shot in the Dark DVD capture gallery

★★★★★ ★★★★☆
One of the funniest films ever made.
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Investigating the apparently straightforward murder of a chauffeur, hapless Detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau believes the beautiful maid, Maria, to be innocent even though she was found in a locked room with the victim and murder weapon (a gun) still smoking in her hand. Through dogged persistance, hilarious disguises, another 13 murders and 6 attempts on his own life, Clouseau sets out to prove his case.

◦ Peter Sellers: Inspector Jacques Clouseau
◦ Elke Sommer: Maria Gambrelli
• Writer (Screenplay): Blake Edwards
• Writer (Screenplay): William Peter Blatty
• Writer (Original Stage Play): Harry Kurnitz
• Writer (Original Play): Marcel Achard
• Director: Blake Edwards

Adult dialogue. Slightly gory and unpleasant scenes. Mild but extensive nudity, mild sensuality
Classified PG by BBFC. Parental Guidance.

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The first place to start discussing this movie is in a stack of classic sequences. The pool game scene, the nudist colony sequence, the final reveal, the oft-repeated trip to the police station.

The throwaway gag lines in this movie are also right out of the top drawer, better than most other comedy films out-and-out gags. "This pen has been fired recently", "Yes, it is my coat", "Would you kill somebody who tore your dress off?", "Goodbye my darl... er, Miss Gambrelli", "Then I submit, Inspector Balon, that you arrived home, found Miguel with Maria Gambrelli and killed him in a rit of fealous jage!", "Ah, that would be for me."

Clouseau's philosophies on life are staggeringly funny. On being told he may die of pneumonia: "Yes, yes, I probably will. But it's all part of life's rich pageant, y'know. We police have to put up with a lot of things in the course of our duties that in private life we probably wouldn't tolerate." On police investigative technique: "Well, you see in the police force, first we presume, then we find out." On prison: "Prison is bad enough without uncomfortable furniture." or "You can't have a contemporary prison without, er, contemporary furniture." On the identity of the murderer: "I suspect everyone" (which, as it turns out, is pretty much the case). On billiards: "Yes, I prefer the good old-fashioned playing cue." On whether he would kill for chief murder suspect Maria Gambrelli: "Of course!... erm, not." On being invited to examine the body of the victim: "I would be delighted!"

His unbelievable trouble with doors from the first movie continues. He gets dumped out of a first-floor window by one door, gets smashed in the face by his bathroom swing door, fails to notice chief murder suspect Maria being brought into his office via his own office door and puts his hand through the glass panel on another. He also has a problem with his hat when he examines the murder scene.

The cast is excellent. Sellers has never been better as the bumbling Inspector, thoroughly charming in his clumsy infatuation with Elke Sommers easy-to-be-infatuated-by murder suspect. Awesome support from the ever-brilliant George Sanders (as millionaire Monsieur Balon) adds to the melting pot and Graham Stark (as Hercule) makes the first of his regular Blake Edwards movie appearances.

Also of note, is the introduction of new regular characters, usually the most difficult aspect of sequels. Burt Kwouk as Cato, Clouseau's manservant. A menacing fight sequence turns into high comedy when the phone rings and Clouseau's mysterious assailant, Cato, interrupts his attack to answer politely. Best of all, Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfuss who progressively loses his sanity throughout the movie and boasts marvellous nervous afflictions such as the twitching eye and the alarming propensity to stab himself and chop parts of his body off.

Grief, I nearly forgot to mention the music. Remarkably there is no trace of Mancini's Pink Panther score and the entirely new music he composed including the opening song and the opening theme music is, frankly, a masterpiece.

This is the strongest addition to the Pink Panther series which has no apparent flaws. One of the funniest films ever made.

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