David Niven stars as the suave and sophisticated Sir Charles Litton, leading a double life as a jewel thief with the moniker of “The Phantom.” Vacationing in a luxurious winter Alpine resort, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Litton aims to steal the Pink Panther diamond, a gem of great monetary value owned by the beautiful Indian Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale). Litton helps his cause by seducing and becoming the princess’s lover.
The Phantom keeps eluding the detective, even though Clouseau has been on his trail for years. He does it with the help of Clouseau’s wife Simone (Capucine), who is Litton’s lover and warns him about her husband’s moves. Also joining the hunt for The Phantom is Litton’s brighter but just as smug American nephew, George (Robert Wagner). Simone now has two probing men to keep off her lover’s trail, and George proves to be harder to fool as he competes with Litton for Simone’s charms in the bedroom. —Ozus’ World Movie Reviews
Blake Edwards’ stepfather’s father J. Gordon Edwards was a silent screen director, and his stepfather Jack McEdwards was a stage director and movie production manager. Blake acted in a number films, beginning with Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942) and wrote a number of others, beginning with Panhandle (1948) and including six for director Richard Quine. He created the popular TV series “Peter Gunn” (1958), “Mr. Lucky” (1959) and “Dante” (1960). He directed a diverse body of films, from comedies to dramas to war films to westerns, including such pictures as Operation Petticoat (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Experiment in Terror (1962), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Pink Panther (1963) and A Shot in the Dark (1964). After The Great Race (1965) he began fighting with studios. In England he surfaced again with The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), then went back to Hollywood and a real hit, 10 (1979). Victor Victoria (1982) won him French and Italian awards for Best Foreign… read more
Put 3/4 pound loaf sugar in a small kettle; add cold water to cover half of the sugar and stir until it is melted. Then place the kettle over a strong fire and boil the sugar to a crack. Add a few drops of vinegar, remove the kettle, dip it for a few minutes into cold water and let it cool off a little. Place the kettle in a pan of hot water to keep the sugar warm. Take a large knife in the left hand and hold it out straight before you. Take a silver spoon in the right hand, dip it into the sugar without touching the bottom of the kettle and let some of the sugar run off the spoon. Spin long threads back and forth over the knife from right to left. After a considerable amount of sugar is spun in this way take it from the knife, lay on clean paper and spin the rest in like manner. Half the sugar may be colored with cochineal to a delicate pink.
Utterly charming. The pace can be a tad slow in the scenes without Clouseau but I always find myself too caught up in the lush old-fashioned style to mind. I think this film might even have worked (in a different, slighter way) without Sellers. As things turned out, David Niven didn’t get his “Phantom” series but the world gained Clouseau and (in the next film) Chief Inspector Dreyfus and Cato. Thanks, Blake!
Every time Sellers is on screen the film shines. His comic timing, his subtle masking of pratfalls with faux sophistication, its all excellent. Other than that, the film has so much dead time and plods along uninterestingly for a good solid half of its running time. Not to mention the resolution which is just so ridiculous it had to be made in the 60s.