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Capucine in original "Panther"

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Auggie27
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Capucine in original "Panther"#1
Posted: 1/19/08 at 11:52am
Anyone else think this is a deliciously under-appreciated comic performance? She makes a masterful foil for Peter Sellers, who has justifiably been praised as the break-out performance in this film. His genius -- and improvised shenanigans with the Blake Edwards script -- threw the picture's somewhat creaky story out of balance, so that the David Niven/Robert Wagner jewel thievery seemed a device only to show off Clouseau, a supporting role originally written for Peter Ustinov.

Yet the Sellars bedroom farce scenes -- two difference set pieces-- would not work without the coolly elegant deadpan of Capucine as his adulterous, deceptive wife. Watch her reaction shots. Her clown-like tumble to the floor to avoid his embrace. And her fall on to the bar in a couphing fit. Absolutely perfect.

I don't really like the PANTHER series, except for this one. And though a classic to many, due to the introduction of this Sellars creation, it's strangely paced for a comedy, Edwards apparently loves set up, and in this one, it's simply too uninteresting to fill the screen (at 1 hr, 55 minutes, the material is stretched uncomfortably by today's standards). And the faux romantic material with Claudia Cardinale and David Niven seems to belong in another film entirely, and not a very good one. But when the farce beats kick in, notably in the Italian Alps and the bravura climax in/out of the Roman masquerade party at the end, the movie is sublime.

Capucine, a former model never really respected as an actor, including, apparently, by Blake Edwards, really does contribute greatly to the film's sophistication and ultimately offsets Sellar's finest work.

And MAD MEN fans: for a look at the early 60s jet set fashions, watch those Alps sequences, everyone in stretch pants in what we used to call "Necco wafer colors," upswept hair, dickees, and chain-smoking, of course. And skinny. Everybody took diet pills, and even Robert Wagner looks like he hasn't had a carb in weeks.

Especially fun to watch: Fran Jeffries, head-to-toe in clingy black, singing Mancini's "Meglio Stasera." Great song, covered by Michael Buble..
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
Updated On: 1/19/08 at 11:52 AM
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#2
Posted: 1/19/08 at 2:31pm
I don't agree with you about this film or the series, but I do agree with you about Capucine. She's the funniest thing about The Pink Panther.
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#2
Posted: 1/19/08 at 7:15pm
I agree with Auggie on several points. At an almost two hour running time the material is stretched. Sellers of course is genius in the film, that goes without saying. As far as Capucine is concerned I totally agree she is one of the funniest things in the film, she is a seriously underrated actress who actually gave some good performances in other films, Walk on the Wild Side being one of them.
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#3
Posted: 1/19/08 at 7:20pm
Oh, almost forgot to give props to the ever-so-lovely-and-luscious Fran Jeffries. Love "Meglio Strasera". Sadly on the soundtrack album to the film her version was not used (some b.s. having to do with recording contracts, etc.) but she's a treasure. She was also a stand out in 'Sex and the Single Girl' where she got to sing the movie's theme and another little ditty. She was still a knockout at age 40 and posed for Playboy not once, but twice.
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#4
Posted: 1/19/08 at 8:25pm
The Jeffries sequence witgh "Meglio Stasera" is hypnotic. Watch her choreographed moved with the fireside chorus boys with the marraccas! And everyone in those 60s ski togs.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#5
Posted: 1/19/08 at 8:53pm
I thought A SHOT IN THE DARK, was the first in the Panther series. It's based on the play of the same name.

That film also starred Sellers. Are you sure it was a supporting role for Ustinov? The Panther film was made due to the success of SHOT.

Nonetheless, Capucine is wonderful.
"It's not so much do what you like, as it is that you like what you do." SS

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana." GMarx
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#6
Posted: 1/20/08 at 4:21pm
Nope, PANTHER 1st, SHOT 2nd. SHOT had been a stage vehicle for Julie Harris. Needed major retooling to be a film, as it all took place in an office -- a talky, unfunny play about a French maid accused of murder. They transplanted Clouseau for the generic French inspector doing the investigation, and voila, a sequel.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#7
Posted: 9/8/08 at 11:53pm
Just because I love this song!

Meglio Stasera
Updated On: 9/8/08 at 11:53 PM
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#8
Posted: 9/9/08 at 12:53am
re: Capucine in original 'Panther'

Yay, Capucine. I'm a fan of hers and Audrey Hepburn (FTWDK they were close friends).
Walk on the Wild Side
Fellini Satyrican

...when will I see good transfers of these on Blu-ray ? : (

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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#9
Posted: 9/9/08 at 1:07am
re: Capucine in original 'Panther'

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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#10
Posted: 9/9/08 at 11:15am
I played Meglio Stasera over the weekend! I love that the song is on the film's menu. I cannot stop watching it, and especially treasure the moment when Fran shouts "Ragazzi!" And the chorus boys jazz step their way into the foreground for some archly choreographed back-up. Ah, the early 60s...
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#11
Posted: 9/9/08 at 3:14pm
I love this film, but that song is certainly a highlight!
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re: Capucine in original 'Panther'#12
Posted: 3/16/09 at 9:13am
Had to revive this thread, as I watched it again this weekend. Capucine is simply sublime. Perfection. And what a timeless look throughout the film. Charles Busch -- it's time for hommage.
"I'm a comedian, but in my spare time, things bother me." Garry Shandling