Tag Archives: Peter Sellers

Murder by Death

Directed by Robert Moore
Produced by Ray Stark
Written by Neil Simon
Starring Eileen Brennan
Truman Capote
James Coco
Peter Falk
Alec Guinness
Elsa Lanchester
David Niven
Peter Sellers
Maggie Smith
Nancy Walker
Estelle Winwood
James Cromwell
Richard Narita
Music by Dave Grusin
Cinematography David M. Walsh
Editing by Margaret Booth & John F. Burnett
Distributed by Columbia
Release date 23 June 1976
Running time 94 minutes
Country United States

Neil Simon’s Murder By Death is a spoof of all those mystery films (and novels) of the 1930s, 40s and 50s. At the time of its release Agatha Christie’s stories were undergoing a revival on the big screen as Murder On The Orient Express (1974) was released at around this time.

Murder By Death has a star-studded cast, with Truman Capote (the writer of Breakfast At Tiffany’s) hosts a murder in which he has invited the world’s greatest detectives, among them Inspector Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers) who is based on Charlie Chan. Whilst many may consider it to be politicall incorrect for Sellers to be playing a Chinese detective I find it to be OK, as he is parodying the Charlie Chan films from the 30s & 40s in which Warner Oland and Sidney Toler went yellow face to play the Oriental detective.

Also in the cast is David Niven and Maggie Smith whose characters are based on the society detectives from the Thin Man series of movies. James Coco’s Perrier is a spoof of Poirot, Elsa Lanchester’s Miss Marbles is of course based on Miss Marple, while Peter Falk’s Sam Diamond is based on Sam Spade from The Maltese Falcon, as portrayed by Humphrey Bogart.

There are a lot of quick fire jokes and if you are a fan of detective films you will love this. Not all the jokes hit the mark but most of them are quite funny.

The Pink Panther 2

Directed by Harald Zwart
Produced by Robert Simonds
Executive Producer: Shawn Levy & Ira Shuman
Written by Story: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Screenplay: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber & Steve Martin
Characters: Maurice Richlin & Blake Edwards
Starring Steve Martin
Jean Reno
Alfred Molina
Emily Mortimer
Aishwarya Rai
Andy García
Lily Tomlin
John Cleese
Yuki Matsuzaki
Johnny Hallyday
Jeremy Irons
Music by Christophe Beck
Theme by: Henry Mancini
Cinematography Denis Crossan
Editing by Julia Wong
Distributed by Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer & Columbia Pictures
Release date(s) February 6, 2009 (United States)
February 13, 2009 (United Kingdom)
Running time 92 min.
Country United States & France
Language English

Dammit I hate Hollywood sometimes. When I talk about Hollywood being all out of fresh ideas and being creatively bankrupt I am thinking about this movie and it’s predecessor specifically. Why did Steve Martin have to recreate the Inspector Clouseau character? Does he think that we will all forgot how brilliant that the late Peter Sellers was in the role in the 60s & 70s and accept his lame ass imitation?

This is the real problem of current Pink Panther movies. Sellers was Clouseau and anyone else is just a poor imitation. Steve Martin is an amazingly talented comedian and actor but he is not Peter Sellers. It is like the new version of Get Smart with Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart. How can anyone possibly accept him when Don Adams made the character so memorable? The same is true with Sellers and Clouseau and I cringe that there is news that another Peter Sellers’ classic, The Party, looks set to be remade with Sahsa Baron-Cohen in the lead role. Sigh! When will they ever learn?!

I watched The Pink Panther 2 today on Foxtel. It’s been great that the movie channels have been available to regular Foxtel subscribers at no extra charge for the last week or so. I never saw this at the cinemas and watched it today to see if it was as horrible as I thought it would be. I wasn’t disappointed. It just looked like a lot of Hollywood A-listers slumming it while Martin telephoned in his performance as Clouseau. I guess he realises that nobody would accept his version of the character over Sellers’, so he half-assed his performance. John Cleese also should know better but then again his recent choices of films haven’t been of the highest standard anyway. (When was he last in a really good film?) At least Aishwarya Rai looks beautiful, but that is about all this film has going for it.

The sad thing is that this film franchise is making money for Steve Martin and there is another sequel planned. This news makes me shudder!!! Please say it ain’t so Steve, the world is not ready for another crappy Pink Panther film.

Here is the trailer to the original Pink Panther film from 1963 that starred Peter Sellers and was created by Blake Edwards.