Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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I finally saw Laura a year or two ago. Either by TCM, streaming or DVD I've been watching a lot of movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

Speaking of Vincent Price, I just rewatched His Kind of Woman (1951). The stars of the movie are Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, who are both very good, but Price steals much of the movie. He plays a ham actor who has made a lot of swashbucklers. The main conflict in the movie is a deported gangster who wants back in played by Raymond Burr (he's the monster in this Price movie). Price's hobbies are Jane Russell, hunting and fishing. He is constantly tossing out lines from various Shakespeare plays. His hunting skills come in handy later in the movie.

Just watched Promising Young Woman (2020). It is excellent.

The Pink Panther, the diamond, doesn't appear in A Shot in the Dark, but does actually return in The Return of the Pink Panther.

A Shot in the Dark was based on a play by Harry Kurnitz which was adapted from a French play by Marcel Achard. The title is from Kurnitz's version. The film is more the template for the later Sellers Clouseau films than The Pink Panther.

The copy on the poster puns on a slang expression. The same pun turns up in the opening of You Only Lives Twice.

TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER: This is the third movie to feature the theft of the Pink Panther diamond... sort of. It is stolen in the first scene, Clouseau is assigned the case, then he goes missing, the diamond is never found and the case goes unsolved. "Trail" was released after the death of Peter Sellers and utilizes outtakes and deleted scenes from previous films. This movie is a pretty obvious attempt by Blake Edwards to go to the Peter Sellers well one last time. I read the reviews and did not see this on in the theater. I did not see it, in fact, until I bought a set of Peter Sellers' Pink Panther movies in 2004.

Clouseau retraces the locations of the previous films allowing Edwards to utilize leftover footage from the previous films. Then his plane goes missing and the plot shifts from the diamond to a reporter researching the life of France's most famous detective. This gives Edwards the opportunity to film new scenes of actors from the previous films being interviewed and provides an excuse to supplement the film with multiple "flashbacks." Trail of the Pink Panther is to Inspector Clouseau as Super Monster is to Gamera. 

Speaking of the set, it includes every one except Return of the Pink Panther, and I think I've finally figured out why (just a guess). At first I thought perhaps they had room in the box for only five movies, but no, there is an additional "bonus" disc that is not very long which could easily have been fit on another disc (if not left off entirely). Here's what I think: in Trail of the Pink Panther, David Niven and Capucine reprise their roles as Charles and Lady Litton, bit in Return Charles little was played by Christopher Plummer and he had a different wife. I think Return was left out of the set in service to "continuity" (as if that were a big concern). In either case, the set would have been better served, if not to include them both, then to have left out Trail in favor of Return.

The extras disc also provided some insight into A Shot in the Dark. The Broadway play starred Walter Matthau as the detective (who was not Clouseau).  Peter Sellers agreed to do the film, but didn't really want to. To make a long story short, he lobbied the studio to replace the director with Blake Edwards. Between the two of them, they decided to insert Clouseau as the detective. Much of what is remembered as Inspector Clouseau today (including the accent, which was not as pronounced in The Pink Panther) came from Sellers' adlibbing the script. 

In addition the the short documentary of the history of the series, the bonus disc also included several of the cartoons and a ten-minute feature on how they came about. 

But, as bad as Trail was, it is still not the end of the end of the Pink Panther/Inspector Clouseau series.

I'll have to check out His Kind of Woman -- with that cast, you can't go wrong! Another off-type Price role I've seen recently is Leave Her to Heaven, in which he plays a suitor who gets thrown to the side when Gene Tierney (again) encounters a handsome novelist, played by Cornel Wilde. (He's honestly better off.) It's a hell of a movie, which we saw as part of last year's virtual Noir City film festival. 

And now I realize I should just watch a bunch of Gene Tierney movies. There was a silly noir-nostalgia movie I watched a LOT as a kid -- The Man With Bogart's Face, starring Bogie impersonator Robert Sacchi. It co-starred Michelle Phillips, who was styled very much like Gene Tierney (a resemblance I'm sure the main character remarks upon). So in many ways, Gene Tierney is the face of noir to me. 


Richard Willis said:

I finally saw Laura a year or two ago. Either by TCM, streaming or DVD I've been watching a lot of movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s.

Speaking of Vincent Price, I just rewatched His Kind of Woman (1951). The stars of the movie are Robert Mitchum and Jane Russell, who are both very good, but Price steals much of the movie. He plays a ham actor who has made a lot of swashbucklers. The main conflict in the movie is a deported gangster who wants back in played by Raymond Burr (he's the monster in this Price movie). Price's hobbies are Jane Russell, hunting and fishing. He is constantly tossing out lines from various Shakespeare plays. His hunting skills come in handy later in the movie.

Re-watched Ran (1985) Great movie, but not what you'd call cheerful.

CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER: This is another one I never bothered to see in the theater due to bad reviews. I saw it only once before, the last time I went through the entire run of PP movies, some 15 or so years ago. The movie begins with the exact same scene of the Pink Panther diamond being stolen as was in Trail. The movie then picks up with a new detective assigned to find both the Pink Panther and Inspector Clouseau. Chief Inspector Dreyfus is assigned to program a computer to find the perfect man to solve the mystery, but he doesn't want Clouseau found, so he programs the computer to find the worlds least competent detective. 

That detective ends up being Sgt. Clifton Sleigh of the New York Police Department, played by SOAP's Ted Wass. Ted Wass is no Peter Sellers, and Sgt. Sleigh is no Inspector Clouseau, but Wass provide some very funny physical comedy bits throughout. The only thing I remembered about the movie is a scene I actually recall from seeing the trailer in 1983:

"Slay? As in 'kill'?"

"No, as in 'one horse open.'"

The movie itself is actually comparable to the three most recent Sellers movies (not including Trail), except, as I indicated, audiences were unwilling to accept Wass/Sleigh as a substitute for Sellers/Clouseau. I had completely forgotten about the ending, which (I discovered) I love. [SPOILER] Clouseau has undergone plastic surgery and, when the bandages are removed, he is played to perfection by none other than (wait for it)... Roger Moore! Moore, I must say, is far superior as the second Jacques Clousteau (or third, if you count Alan Arkin) then he was as the second James Bond. [END SPOILER]

Return, Strikes Again and Revenge form something of a "trilogy within a series," as do Trail, Curse and Son. As with Trail, David Niven and Capucine reprise their roles from the original Pink Panther as Charles and Lady Litton, and this time they are (re)joined by Robert Wagner as Charles' nephew George. This movie is better than it's remembered, although it does seem to carve Return out of continuity (but I don't want to get into Inspector Clouseau's "Earth 1 continuity" and "Earth 2 continuity" and so on. 

Return is a better movie than either Trail or Curse (certainly better than Trail), but there is a certain draw to the continuity from the original to Trail to Curse. As I said, Curse itself is a better movie (especially the ending!) than it is generally remembered. 

Laugh-a-minute, that King Lear.

The Baron said:

Re-watched Ran (1985) Great movie, but not what you'd call cheerful.

My wife and I watched The Predator (2018) and The Tomorrow War (2021) Friday night.

There are a lot of things to talk about, but first up in the queue is this: Both movies assumed that climate change would kill humanity within the next two generations.

So.

I re-watched The Great Escape (1963) last night.

I saw this yesterday. I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before. I'm going to repost my review in full.

A mobster turns informant; he's played, implausibly, by diminutive, cartoon-faced Mickey Rooney. Before we reach the (sung) final credits, Jackie Gleason goes on an LSD trip, Frankie Avalon invites a mother and daughter into his high-tech love pad, Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith, and Cesar Romero appear-- not as Batman's rogues gallery-- alongside future Bond villain Richard "Jaws" Kiel, Slim Pickens operates a switchboard, and Groucho Marx makes his final big-screen appearance-- as "God."

The film starts with retired hitman "Tough Tony" (Gleason) and his wife Flo (Carol Channing) flipping channels in a manner that foreshadows the chaos that will follow. Their daughter (Alexandra Hay) arrives with her hippie boyfriend (John Phillip Law). His long-haired, body-painted friends will soon follow. Then Tony receives word he has one last job to do.

Hilarity tries to ensue. Psychedelia follows.

This 1968 attempt to exploit the late 1960s counterculture was destined for disaster, but it should have been a more entertaining disaster. Ralph Kramden Gleason on acid? It gets a few laughs, but too few, given the subversive comic potential. An improbable cast do unexpected things and prove... sporadically amusing. The musical ode to the garbage can, for example. Other gags are dated and dubious, while the music isn't late-sixties enough. Save for the occasional sitar, it plays like 1950s Broadway.

Incredibly, Otto Preminger directed. He had by then made his mark on Hollywood. Doran William Cannon penned the script. His next, Brewster McCloud, would be Robert Altman's oddest project, which is saying something. Otherwise, Cannon's legacy includes a few now-forgotten films, the disastrous 1980 adaptation of Brave New World, an episode of Knot's Landing, and whatever this thing was supposed to be.

The final act features some fun manic inventiveness, but it's not enough. Despite the talent pool (which also includes Peter Lawford, Arnold Stang, and supermodel Luna), Skidoo remains an obscure and only moderately interesting curiosity.

First, some old business...

"[Roger] Moore, I must say, is far superior as the second Jacques Clousteau (or third, if you count Alan Arkin) then he was as the second James Bond."

It occurs to me that Roger Moore is actually the third James Bond, following George Lazenby, so he is the third Clouseau as well as the third Bond. Alan Arkin is the George Lazenby of the Pink Panther movies. Moving on...

SON OF THE PINK PANTHER: First of all, the opening credits! they are presented in a combination live action/animation style similar to that of Who Framed  Roger Rabbit?, but with a new arrangement by Bobby McFerrin. Unfortunately, the opening credit sequence is the best part of the movie and it's all downhill from here. Inspector Clouseau's son, Gengarme Jacques Gambrelli (2nd class) is played by Italian funnyman Roberto Benigni, but if Ted Wass is a pale imitation of Peter Sellers, Roberto Benigni is a pale imitation of Ted Wass. In an interesting bit of casting, Claudia Cardinale, who played the Princess in the original Pink Panther, was cast as Maria Gambrelli, Jacque's mother. 

It's too bad they didn't go on to create other Pink Panther movies after Trail with Roger Moore cast as Clouseau. Ten years passed between Trail and Son, and another 13 would pass before Steve Martin was recast as the inspector. It has now been another 12 years since the sequel to that, so I think it's safe to say the Pink Panther series has run its course. 

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