The Pink Panther
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has comic slapstick violence and some sexually suggestive material, but kids will split their sides with laughter. A lot will go over their heads, but there's enough action and pratfalls to keep them interested. You may want to point out that in real life con artists and thieves are not so funny.
What's the story?
In THE PINK PANTHER, Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven), a globetrotting bachelor who is in secret a super-thief called the Phantom, has been making fools of police around the world for 15 years. No fool is bigger than Inspector Clouseau, whose been pursuing the Phantom all that time, always one step behind. That's because Clouseau's adored wife Simone (Capucine) is Lytton's secret accomplice -- and mistress. Clouseau correctly reasons the Phantom's next target will be the Pink Panther diamond worn by Indian princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale), who is due to visit a ski resort in the Alps. Clouseau travels there to catch the thief, and brings Simone with him. Sir Charles shows up and begins using his considerable charm on Princess Dala. Bumbling Clouseau misses all the signs his treacherous wife has no interest in him, but he does gradually suspect Sir Charles. To complicate matters, Sir Charles' nephew (Robert Wagner) and turns out to be a con artist who also plans to steal the Pink Panther, during a costume ball.
Is it any good?
Viewers who seek out the first-ever Pink Panther on video might be disappointed to find Peter Sellers isn't the star of this caper flick. He's funny, but the traits of epic-scale slapstick lunacy that made Clouseau famous were to evolve later, in spinoff/sequels. The costume ball is the only part of the picture that really comes to life with the slapstick that Sellers fans came to expect. Most of The Pink Panther is stagier, drawing-room comedy, heavy on pillow-talk dialogue and lovers ducking in and out of adjacent hotel rooms.
While the sex-oriented banter is old-school Hollywood -- very coy and civilized and likely to go over kids' heads -- even young viewers might notice that Clouseau is played with more realism and less clowning. He is actually a rather sad character. He fails to notice his Simone's indifference to him, and she puts off his passionate advances with complaints that she can't "relax" (in fact, she's seeing Sir Charles at every opportunity). While grownups and older kids might enjoy the verbose farce and the charisma of the stars, younger kids may get more entertainment value out of any given Pink Panther cartoon.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how this first film compares to the zanier, more slapstick, subsequent Pink Panther movies.