I still can’t get the comments to work right. It is hurting my lit-major brain to sift through that code. But perhaps someday I’ll stumble on the reason. Meanwhile, back in the lounge …
Do you think there are people out there that have seen the recent “Pink Panther” remake that haven’t seen the original? I think the answer is “yes,” and what a tragedy that is. Outside of a lamentable penchant for black eye makeup, the 1963 movie is almost timeless. Peter Sellers is at his comic best, and nothing beats the chase at the end, with the apes and the zebras and all the little French cars speeding through the roundabout. I dare you to change the channel during the last third of “The Pink Panther” — I just dare you.
The Pink Panther movies get more derivative after the first one, and Sellers eventually becomes a parody of himself, bumbling his addle-voweled way through pratfall after pratfall. Never again is there an equal to the sweet timing of Mrs. Clouseau as she fools her husband, who comes into the hotel room unexpectedly, into not noticing Sir Charles (behind the balcony curtains) and George (under the bed with a champagne bottle). Never again is the glamour of a ritzy 60s ski resort played up so well, as Princess Dala flirts with Sir Charles on a tiger-headed rug. “You want to win, Charles? Or be friends?” she asks him, before she passes out in a cloud of black glittery dress and smoky black eyeliner.
“The Pink Panther” showcased the days when a man could be both a thief and a gentleman; when princesses had inscrutable manservants showing up at their elbows with just the right type of martini glass; when a man dressed as an ape could grapple comfortably with another man in the same costume. It can’t be replaced. It can be remade, but it makes me unhappy to think there’s a crowd of folks who might hear “It Had Better Be Tonight” and don’t hum along. Mancini’s soundtrack is elegant and exotic, just like the Princess with her Pink Panther diamond, and 43 years later, is still worth every listening minute.
[These tracks have been removed. You can contact me if you'd like a copy.]
Henry Mancini – It Had Better Be Tonight (instrumental)
Henry Mancini – The Lonely Princess