Cinerama: The Pink Panther

Posted: September 11, 2009 in Cinerama

The Pink Panther

By Mike Derderian

One of the things that I enjoy in life are dreams—daydreams and night dreams. The first I love because we control them as for the latter they are the ones that take you to that parallel dimension where your soul will roam endlessly until daybreak.

I believe that once a person puts his tiresome head on the pillow and closes his eyes into the nocturnal slumber, his soul is taken by supernatural powers to the mystic world of never-never land. A place where a person finds himself with powers beyond imagination accompanied with a great feeling of confusion and loss at the same time for sometimes it almost feels so real that you can touch it.

Do your dreams come in color or are they in black and white? My dreams come in both, however, some people have their dreams all tarnished with the color pink—a color quite appropriate for females and is totally forbidden for us males.

I mean have you seen a man dressed in pink? Well I have seen a pink panther but I never saw a pink man, however, if you happen to see one than you should realize that your having a dream and it’s all in pink.

The Pink Panther is one the most famous cartoon characters ever created, I mean who wouldn’t know the slender looking feline that smokes a cigarette through a long filter at the beginning of every cartoon episode accompanied with that suave music composed by Henry Mancini.

The film based on this character is quite different, even though it is entitled “The Pink Panther,” we only see the charming panther at the opening and finishing titles. The movie is about Inspector Jacques Clouseau who is the worst inspector you would be unfortunate to meet.

Directed by Blake Edwards who is known for his slapstick, funny genre films as it is evident in this 1964 production, Blake had the successful comic element thanks to one of the greatest comedy actors of the century, the British funny man Peter Sellers, who portrayed inspector Clouseau. Next to Sellers the film was packed with actors, who were star icons during the sixties, like David Niven, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Wagner and Capucine.

With this all star cast, the film proved itself enjoyable and fun for all the family unlike nowadays films that are filled with trash themes that one cannot dare watch with the presence of his children or parents.

The film revolves around Inspector Clouseau and his failed attempts to capture the Phantom—a mastermind thief, who have been troubling the inspector for the past twenty years, Clouseau’s failure comes due to his clueless and accident-prone nature.

This time the Phantom is trying to steal the largest diamond in the world, which is called the Pink Panther and is owned by Princess Dala played by the enchanting Italian actress born in Tunis Claudia Cardinale.

In a very unlikely funny plot the whole cast meets at a skiing resort in Switzerland, where we first meet with Inspector Clouseau’s not so innocent wife Simone (Capucine), who is having an affair with Sir Charles Lytton (Niven). Coincidentally Sir Charles is staying in the next room close to the Clouseau’s so that every time the inspector is out he pays Simone a visit where you will find out who he really is.

Haven’t you guessed by now what I’m telling you? Yes, Sir Charles is non-other than the Phantom and Simone was helping him all along.

In one of the funniest scenes in the film Clouseau tries to amuse his wife by playing his favorite Stradivarius, the voice of strangled cat is what you will hear through the not so skillful inspector’s fingers.

After being persuaded by his wife that she had her fill of music and that she wants him to join her in bed, he happily goes to the bathroom and on his return hastily to jump in bed, we hear the voice of a strong crack.

The poor inspector had stepped on his violin, however, after a real sad and disappointed expression on his face he says, “Once you’ve seen a Stradivarius, you’ve seen em all.”

The film is truly a beautiful work of art from every aspect where we have the pleasure of enjoying exquisite scenery and the company of two charming ladies, and where also our senses are intoxicated by the musical score composed by Mancini.

Meglio Stasera (It Had Better Be Tonight), and Domani sung By Fran Jeffries are among the musical highlights of the film through a samba dance by Jeffries that will spin your head.

The scene that you should see is the massacred party held at Dala’s palace at the end, where Clouseau will try to capture the Pahntom. Funny costumes, cartoon like car chase and a catchy dialogue, no to mention the beautiful outfits designed by Yves Saint Laurent for the two female stars are all found in the last scene of this elegant pink film. Until next time hope you’ll have nice pink dreams and find the chance to see this classic comedy.

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