The Pink Panther Reviews
The film is about a jewel thief called The Phantom who Insp. Jacques Clouseau (Sellers) has been chasing for the better part of a decade. He sees his chance to catch him by keeping close to Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) who is the holder of the famous Pink Panther diamond. The Phantom is there in the person of Sir Charles Lytton (Niven) who is prepared to steal the diamond from the princess through his suave demeanor and charm.
On the surface the Pink Panther feels like one of those '50's and '60's pseudo sex romps that promises a roll in the hay but never produces. Those films were like the cushioned soft core porn of the Leave It To beaver generation. Two people in the same bed!?!?! Shame! The Pink Panther rises above that from the performances of Niven, Sellers, Cardinale, Capucine (as Mrs. Clouseau), and a young Robert Wagner as the newphew of Sir Lytton. It's actually a funny film with Seller's stealing the show one bit after another. It's not as much of a time capsule as some of the other films of its era have become. A classic that started a twenty year franchise.
The clumsy inspector Clouseau was more like a secondary character here, but he was explored with more detail and with more hilarious results in the sequel.
Henry Mancini's score is remarkable.
It's less like any of the other films. While Sellers doesn't really show his true genius until the costume party scene. David Niven basically owns this original film as a womanizer who Clouseau believes to be the thief known as the Phantom.