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« Oscar night ennui | Main | Best part of any Pink Panther movie »

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JFT

Lance,

First of all, I'm the cliche "first-time caller, long-time listener" so let me first say that I enjoy your blog greatly. Thanks for the interesting writing you do daily. Now that that's out of the way ...

Interesting piece. Enjoyed it. I have not seen either of the Martin "Pink Panther" films, so please forgive what may be a stupid question/observation.

You write:

"When Sellers' Clouseau is on the case, the joke is that Clouseau is often missing the obvious. When Martin's Clouseau is on the case, the joke is that the supposedly smarter people in the room are missing the clues Clouseau finds because they are too focused on his stumbles and bumbles."

Does that mean that Martin's Clouseau is in the same vein as Peter Falk's "Columbo"? Columbo always was bumbling his way around the over-confident crook and was able to solve the case via his a) being smarter than everyone (police and criminal) and, b) appearing so bumbling as to be not a threat, which usually resulting in the crook giving the game away without meaning to and/or realizing he/she were being played.

Again, I haven't seen the latest "Pink Panther" movies, so this may not be the case. But your quote reminded me somewhat of the old "Columbo" shows, so I thought I'd add my two cents worth.

Lance Mannion

JFT, We love the first time callers here, and thanks for all the kind words.

I hadn't thought about a Clouseau-Columbo connection. I wonder if Peter Falk did. He might have. He might have said, I want the bad guys to think they're dealing with an American Clouseau. Of course, Columbo never fell off the Pope's balcony while he was investigating a case, so there's that. With Columbo, we the audience were in on the joke with Columbo. With Martin's Clouseau we're often put in the position of the other grown-ups gaping in amazement and horror. In both of his Pink Panthers, Martin has Clouseau actually solves the crime or at least makes a major stride in a scene in which he appears to be at his most lunatic and inept, so the joke is on us. I don't think Sellers' Clouseau actually solved any of the crimes in his movies.

actor212

Lance,

Sellers admits that he plays Clouseau as a buffoon who has the knack for surviving.

The real-life parallel of Clouseau is George W Bush, someone who stumbles his way up the ladder. Clouseau does "solve" cases, if you consider that he gets credit for the solution that someone else (or even happenstance) provides.

He has to, else why would Dreyfus be so tempted to kill him for hogging all the glory?

JFT

Lance,

Well, I wasn't so much talking about Sellers version of Clouseau, who is a total buffoon who stumbles onto the solution through no credit of his own -- although in a sweet an innocent way that made him likeable. I don't see Sellers version as similar to Clouseau at all.

But from what you said, it sounds like Martin's version of Clouseau has a bit of the Columbo persona. The seemingly dim bulb who winds up being smarter than everyone and solving the case in the end.

Now I have to go see one of the new Pink Panther movies, I guess! Ha!

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