Vic’s Classics – “A Shot in the Dark” (1964)

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What’s it About?

As murder follows murder, beautiful Maria is the obvious suspect; bumbling Inspector Clouseau drives his boss mad by seeing her as plainly innocent.

Directed by Blake Edwards

By Vic

Clouseau: Well… that just goes to prove what I have said all along.”

Dreyfus: What you’ve said, Clouseau, qualifies you as the greatest prophet since Custer said he was going to surround all those indians!”

Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers. Those two names alone conjure up images and thoughts of hilarity, slapstick, comedic timing and incredible sight gags. ” A Shot in the Dark” is the second entry in the “Pink Panther” films about the ever bungling and confused Inspector Jacques Clouseau, played with impeccable wit, timing and grand physicality by the late Peter Sellers. I choose to do this review for 2 reasons. 1 – I just gave it a re-watch. 2 – I feel that those who have never seen a Pink Panther movie should at least read about one and see if they could muster a big belly laugh or two. Sellers and Edwards are worth the time and you won’t be disappointed.

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There are a few welcome changes here in this hilarious entry. One being that Herbert Lom (The Dead Zone, Spartacus) is introduced in this film as Peter Seller’s foil, Commissioner Dreyfus. Lom is just eloquently hilarious in the role as he gets further and further distracted, bothered and agitated by Clouseau’s obliviousness and ineptness. We are happily treated to the incredible Kato, played by the amazing Burt Kwouk (Goldfinger) as well! Also, Sellers really lays the french accent on very thick here and as a result he capably cements, forever, his Inspector in comedic history.

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The outrageously sexy female co-star, Elke Sommer (Baron Blood) plays Maria Gambrelli. Maria, a parlor maid is wrongly accused of coldy dispatching and offing her lover. Or did she really do it? Enter Clouseau to try and go to any possible length to prove her innocence. Even when most of the time it always points to Mara. The real antagonists are usually one step ahead of Clouseau who even manages to stake out bedrooms and even a nudist colony to get to the bottom of the case.

The bad guys commit more murders to keep the blame on Maria as well. One victim being named “Dudu.”  Ha ha! I find that hilarious for the obvious reason. Ahem. Anyway it’s a huge plot device, I know, for a simple slapstick comedy. But we get to see Sellers give it his all in a nuanced, natural and fantastic performance that is not yet dated, thank God.

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I for one am glad that William Peter Blatty and Edwards decided to have Clouseau in this. It’s way too funny to have NOT had him in it. We once again get the famous music by Mancini even though there is no Pink Panther opening. Sellers and Edwards continued the gravy train of Clouseau’s adventures for 4 more movies with varying degrees of success. In this film Sellers is the main focus and it is not a film filled with subtle gags and references. It is an all out sight gag of a film that shines and heralds nicely from the 1960’s. Highly recommended! Enjoy. Oh and watching Sellers play pool is amazingly funny.

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Enjoy the Kato Attacks clip below!

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17 comments

    • That’s great news. I feel that the movies should definitely get more exposure with modern audiences. They are timeless and so screwball. I hope you enjoy them. Lots to like.

      Thanks for dropping by. Much appreciated!

  1. Great post! I watched a movie about Peter Seller’s life on HBO, and was sad to learn that he actually hated being in the Pink Panther films. He wanted to be viewed as more of a James Bond type of hero, but directors wanted him for his comedic genius.

    • Yeah, Sellers was very adept at comedy. He was brilliant in “Being There.”
      I’ll have to track that HBO film down. Would love to check it out. Do you recall the title?

      Thanks for stopping in!

    • Thanks! Glad you liked the post. This film is quite classic indeed. Always laugh my butt off whenever I re-visit it.

      I appreciate you checking in! Much appreciated .

  2. These early PP films always seemed like serious scripts that they took the character of Clouseau and threw him into the middle of it just to create an absurd chaos. That was what made his scenes so damn funny! Great review, are you going to review all of them? Look forward to it if you do 🙂

    • I wasn’t going to but after watching ASITD, I felt like I just had to re-visit them all and review them, so yes, I will be! Going to be a blast.

      Thanks for stopping by, Michael. Oh and I agree with what you said about the chaos in the film brought up by chucking Clouseau into the thick of things. And having Lom in the mix makes it even more off the wall.

    • Thank you, Mark! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I had a friend recently say the same thing about this entry. I can’t argue with you guys there. 🙂

      I appreciate you stopping by. It was great to hear from you!

    • Sellers is indeed the man, Keith! Totally agree. Also, this one is not my fav either but I still laugh my ass off every time I watch it.

      It was great to hear from you, Keith. I appreciate you checking in, man!

  3. Loved the review. I always thought that this was the best of the Pink Panther films. Peter Sellers was an amazing actor from these films to Dr Strangelove and Lolita. And I’m not a major comedy fan but the humor in this never seemed dated. I know in films of this era, the humor doesn’t go over well in later generations but it def has staying power.

    • You are so right! These films and that type of humor, these days, isn’t as appreciated, but it does have that staying power for sure.

      Sellers was just so nuanced and incredibly talented with comedy, low key or otherwise. And his timing was amazing.

      Thanks for stopping by, Eric! Glad you liked the review, man.

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