The second film in the Pink Panther series finds Inspector Clouseau investigating the murder of a Spanish chauffeur. The primary suspect: Maria, a lovely maid with whom the chauffeur was having an affair. Clouseau promptly falls in love with her, and does everything in his power to prove she's not the killer. Of course, where Clouseau's concerned, that means a trail of hijinks (and bodies) can't be far behind.
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Top 10 Fun Facts
- Hollywood legend has often repeated the rumor that A Shot in the Dark was actually filmed before The Pink Panther. Not true: Shot began filming in September of 1963, at the same time Panther was being screened in Los Angeles.
- Adding to suspicions that it may have come first, A Shot in the Dark is the only official Inspector Clouseau film that uses neither the name Pink Panther in the title nor the animated feline in the opening sequence.
- The script was originally intended as an adaptation of Harry Kurnitz's stage play, starring Peter Sellers and Walter Matthau as a pair of detectives. When director Blake Edwards came on board, he decided the story might be better suited to Inspector Clouseau (so long, Mr. Matthau).
- Exit, stage right: as a result of Edwards' changes, not a single one of the characters from Kurnitz's play appears in the film.
- As part of his facetious French accent, Inspector Clouseau insists on pronouncing Miguel's name with the "u." We'd love to hear him try "quesadilla."
- Sophia Loren was originally supposed to play Maria Gambrelli, but the actress fell ill and couldn't do it. Elke Sommer took the role instead.
- The character Maria Gambrelli returned thirty years later in Son of the Pink Panther, played by Claudia Cardinale - the actress who portrayed Princess Dala in the original Pink Panther.
- How's your French? A Shot in the Dark revolves around the Ballon household. "Ballon" means "balloon" in French - and at one point in the movie, Inspector Clouseau disguises himself as a balloon vendor. Don't say we never taught you anything!
- Improv alert: when Clouseau and Hercule attempt to synchronize their watches, Peter Sellers and Graham Stark came up with their dialogue on the fly.
- Not improv, exactly: Peter Sellers begged for a re-take after he stumbled over the line "in a fit of jealous rage - saying instead "a rit of fealous jage." Unfortunately for perfectionist Sellers, Blake Edwards thought it was giggle-worthy enough to leave in the film.