Video Note:
Up at Cortina
20 July 2018

¶ We watched The Pink Panther — the first of Blake Edwards’s series of Eurotrash comedies. “Eurotrash” wasn’t the word back in 1963, but it seems to fit. How else to describe that noisy, aniline costume ball at the end? Claudia Cardinale maintains a certain prim dignity throughout, but she remains, after all, Claudia Cardinale, no diamond in the rough but simply a cabochon Tunisian adventuress. Poor Brenda de Banzie gamely impersonates a shrill party planner, not her sort at all, and for her pains generates the very discomfort more naturally aroused by Claire Trevor two years later in How to Murder Your Wife.

The real question is this, though: David Niven? David Niven was a leading man in 1963, despite being only ten years younger than the century. It was a convincing act at the time — it never seemed odd to me — but now he looks like a character actor pushed into the spotlight. Whereas Robert Wagner, who ought to have been the romantic lead, looks too young — soft, really. Perhaps it is the essence of this knockdown café-society milieu that nobody can be reliably clever and unscrupulously rich — fully attractive — before the age of forty.

The marriage enacted by Peter Sellers and Capucine is nothing more than farce curdled into sitcom.

Did I say that we watched it? Kathleen read mostly, then shopped for things at eBay. The Pink Panther was just as brainless as it was the first time. 

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