Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Top Films: Not Pink, Not a Panther...Not Even a Series

Imagine a hero who is a pompous proud idiot who repeatedly lucks into being the most successful man in the world for his profession. Why is he so loved? Why do we not hate him for his undeserved success?
 
The Pink Panther movies are a bit of a mystery in their own right. The first movie started out as a fun heist movie but definitely not a slapstick comedy. The second (and best of the bunch) was not originally connected to the Clouseau character at all. Movies three and following were made purely for money. Sellers and Edwards could not stand each other by that point. The fact that the movies are so great and well regarded makes them somewhat like Clouseau himself; they seem to bumble their way into greatness.
 
Perhaps it is the fact that the Inspector is a good man; he is an innocent and a firm believer in truth and justice and that the good guys will always win that redeems these stories. Maybe it is the way that circumstances work amazingly in his favor and against evil every time in spite of his idiocy and incompetence. One could attempt to “baptize” this film and say that it is symbolic of real life. We are all so small and uninformed and lost in the grand scheme of things that the very fact that we can ever discover spiritual truth or achieve anything for the cause of good is not ultimately dependant on anything we do, but rather on Providential orchestration.

Actually, however, it all boils down to the talents of Peter Sellers. The man was a bit of a genius in being silly. We put up with Inspector Clouseau because we get such a kick out of watching him pull off this incredibly stupid character with such charm.

1 comment:

  1. Certainly we liked Sellers as Clouseau far better than Steve Martin. The differences are two: Sellers' Clouseau was absolutely convinced he was the world's greatest detective, disguise artist, martial artist, and lover. He was in fact at least moderately skilled in all of these, enough that confidence and luck could carry him through. And he closed his cases by doing first those things which any other cop would only do out of desperation.

    Martin's Clouseau was a cop who tended to make very grave mistakes, doubted himself constantly, could not fight a lick (he posed his way through his every fight scene), felt the need for Viagra, and though pretty creative when it came to camouflage, he never tried to disguise himself as somebody else. And he closed his case by noticing small details and using relatively obscure knowledge, like we expect of *great* detectives. No wonder we didn't like him very much.

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