The success of The Pink Panther (1963) created a new comic favourite in the accident-prone form of Peter Sellers’ Inspector Clouseau of the Paris Surete, so a sequel was inevitable. But this is where the Clouseau character was properly invented, along with his driven-to-distraction boss, Dreyfus.
Clouseau lurches towards the solution of a murder mystery adapted from plays by Harry Kurnitz and Marcel Achard, and by trying to clear saucy French chambermaid Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer) of shooting her Spanish lover leaves a trail of additional bodies in his wake – before finding that all is revealed in a nudist camp.
Suspecting the true killer is a jealous man who would rather kill than see Maria with another, Clouseau takes her on a tour of French nightclubs, using himself as bait and sure that the killer will strike.
And strike he does . . . no less than seven times. Unfortunately, Clouseau doesn’t notice the dead bodies left in his wake. Each an innocent unsuspecting bystander who was mistaken for him.
“Give me ten men like Clouseau and I could destroy the world,” blurts his bewildered boss Herbert Lom.
A Shot In The Dark still stands up better than Austin Powers (1997) – and doesn’t require constant winks to the camera to work.
Inspector Jacques Clouseau
Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus