I SAw a FiLm!
I wasn’t even aware that Arkin took a turn at portraying the bumbling and ridiculous officer of the law, but he indeed did, and it is every bit as patently silly as any of the other famous pictures starring the late great (though famously tough to work with) Peter Sellers. Arkin, a favorite and intense actor, fills the role in a smaller way, his accent less ludicrous, his face a bit less pointedly sad. Arkin has a bit of vigor in him that Sellers lacked. Still the film does not give the man a lot to do. The comic sequences are so button-down lock-step that only a toddler could find them funny, circling around the universal clown humor of things too big to fit in doorways and forgotten umbrellas.
The plot, something involving a set of escaped criminals who decide to use masks of Clouseau’s face to commit a variety of crimes. This is a popular movie trope and only in movies can people wear such skin tight, form fitting masks (as if bone structure and mouths somehow would exactly fit) to fool people. Heck the sweat from such a ridiculous move alone would be brutal. Many of the gags include Clouseau being introduced to a series of very Bond-esque gadgets, and him exhibiting some OCD with desk ornaments. He meets some lovely women, who in typical 60’s movie fashion are just inexplicably adoring of him, though, at least one for ulterior purposes. The most remarkable part of the film has Clouseau suddenly self-aware. He breaks down. He’s realized he’s a buffoon and entirely clumsy. The best line for me during this little litany of failure is him tearing up his wallet sized autographed picture of Sean Connery because he believes he doesn’t deserve it. This is a weird moment, and brings us to empathizing with him, rather than laughing at his arrogance. And while I laughed hard at the autographed picture destruction, it somehow didn’t fit the character canon. He is brought to his senses by a lovely lady who adores him, and he eventually manages to solve –sort of– the case.
This is running free on Prime (usa) and is pretty fun mainly for the style, music, and fashion of this sort of picture. There is some very space-age bachelor pad organ music that still sounds great.