The Pink Panther

peter-sellers-pink-panther

We all have one or two — filmmakers and actors who we just can’t get behind no matter how much acclaim they receive. Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. You either love Wes Anderson’s style or you don’t. You either enjoy Tom Cruise’s charisma or you don’t. Other times it’s actually a matter of objective criticism, a certainty that the person is no good, and that’s the kind that can be very difficult to admit if most of the intelligent world considers the director or performer to be a genius. That’s also the kind of argument that can upset friendships, as I’ve known one critic to confess of regarding his stance on Stanley Kubrick — a stance he is not yet brave enough to put onto a public forum. After all, commenters can be so cruel. So can academic peers. My confession for today is relevant to the Kubrick one. I want to admit that I don’t like Peter Sellers. I never have. But it’s not enough anymore to admit that as a matter of opinion. I now believe that Sellers was in fact not a good actor, nor a good comedian. That’s not to say he wasn’t funny. He makes people laugh, so that’s irrefutable. Sense of humor is one thing, though, and talent is another. I can’t say that I’ve seen everything he was in, but how comprehensive a study must I make to find the exception? I’ve given him a chance over and over. I watched […]

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The Library of Congress opens up its big mystical vault once a year to toss in 25 films that it deems worthy (by stirring old clapboards into a vat of rat blood and reading the star alignment). This year was a big year that honors some of the fallen members of the community – notably Leslie Nielsen, Blake Edwards and Irvin Kershner. Safely stowed away as important cultural documents, The Empire Strikes Back, Airplane!, and The Pink Panther join 23 other films that will be forever kept in the hearts of those who care to apply for a Library of Congress library card (a three-step process that includes a photo being taken). Check the entire list (which is littered with incredible movies) below:

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Blake Edwards, born William Blake Crump, first got his break into entertainment on the “War of the Worlds” radio production from Orson Welles in 1938 and would go on to start a film career in the early 1940s. That career would blossom into a massively prolific stint in film as a writer, director, producer and actor. His legacy includes creating The Pink Panther series; directing classics like 10, Days of Wine and Roses, Victor/Victoria, Operation Petticoat, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s; and enduring as a comedic icon that has influenced the greats of the last fifty years. Sadly, Edwards died at the age of 88 this morning.

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Pink Panther 2 is not the worst movie ever.

I come not to bury Pink Panther 2 but to praise it. Not from the hilltops or anything, but it’s not like I want to write an open letter to the filmmakers or anything.

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If I had to describe the trailer for Blake Edwards’ original Pink Panther, I’d either call it “ridiculously hokey” or “surprisingly sexist.” The first is obvious, especially if you’ve already seen the movie which is a triumph of slapstick foolishness delivered expertly by David Niven and Peter Sellers.

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