Review of 'A Shot in the Dark'

a_shot_in_the_dark.jpg If you thought the first Pink Panther film The Pink Panther was silly, “A Shot in the Dark” dials up the silliness to unbelievable heights with Peter Sellers at his manic best putting on his best comedic performances of all time. If slapstick absurdist humour is not for you, then neither of this film as even from the opening minutes the viewer is swept away with it.

Hapless Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called to investigate the murder of a chauffer at the home of millionaire Benjamin Ballon (George Sanders). The chauffer was having an affair with maid Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer) who was found with a smoking gun in her hand and the dead man at her feet. Immediately enamoured the maid Clouseau considers her innocent despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary and proceeds to find the culprit. As the investigation progresses and the bodies mount up with Maria always present, Clouseau continues to protest her innocence and falls further in love…

This is the first Pink Panther film in which we experience some of the elements that would prove iconic in the series: The surprise, absurd, attacks by Kato (Burt Kwouk) on Clouseau at home; the inspector solving the case despite his incompetence; the increasingly incredulous and neurotic Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) whose dismissal of Clouseau gradually turns to deep hatred…and, of course, the incredible slapstick that permeates the series. This is Sellers in top form that happens to have some pretty good cinematography and story, if you care to pay attention to that sort of thing between bouts of laughter. The stuntmen worked overtime here with some truly painful looking sequences that literally rip apart the scenery.

Stupid, silly, absurd, and quite funny. A classic.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2022-09-18

Directed by: Blake Edwards

Studio: The Mirisch Corporation

Year: 1964

Length: 102 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Blake Edwards: