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Saturday, August 6

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U.S., 1964
Directed by Blake Edwards
Starring Peter Sellers, David Niven, Robert Wagner, Capucine, Claudia Cardinale
Screenplay by Maurice Richlin and Blake Edwards
35mm. Approx. 113 min.

Sellers’ English-mangling, incredibly maladroit Inspector Jacques Clouseau in his (and the series’) debut, here in the pursuit of her longtime nemesis, Davis Niven’s suave thief “The Phantom” (himself in pursuit of the eponymous priceless gem). Whose partners in crime include Indian princess Claudia Cardinale and Mrs. Clouseau, Capucine.


“In a picture about thievery, it is Peter Sellers who proves the most outrageous larcenist. He plays one of the oldest characters in the world, the fellow with two left feet, the would-be gentleman of the world who nonchalantly moves to light a cigarette in a moment of crisis, and ignites his nose. The character is set in Sellers’ first scene and the audience never relaxes thereafter waiting for the next doorknob to come off in his hand. Invention is rich and varied, and Sellers plays each variation with the unassailable innocence of the eternal hot-foot victim.
The audience is never disappointed.”

The Hollywood Reporter

Film Forum