Not much to post lately, but here's a clip of the best part of Blake Edwards' The Pink Panther: the irrelevant musical number "Meglio Stasera (It Had Better Be Tonight)." It's sung by Fran Jeffries, who is otherwise totally irrelevant to the movie (too bad, because she's actually sexier than either of the leading ladies, Capucine and Claudia Cardinale, neither of whom are at their best in this movie). The Henry Mancini tune is one of his best, and Edwards' love of jet-setter culture -- the lavish settings, the cosmopolitan mix of American and European styles -- comes through here, as does his love of long takes: the whole number is done in just two shots.
While the number is, as I said, irrelevant to the story -- even Edwards, on the DVD commentary, says he can't remember exactly why he decided to put a musical number here -- it does highlight something about the characters, namely the way Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is separate and isolated from all the other characters: the "cool" characters, the jet-setting thieves and con artists, all sit together in the centre of the room, while Clouseau is off to one side. And when he tries to join in the dance number, he's out of step. It's part of the movie's casual cruelty that Clouseau, the only good person in the movie, is routinely humiliated by the other characters, all of whom are charming but amoral; Clouseau is the guy who believes in the law, and marriage, and all those other things that the movie dismisses as out of step. There's a reason he's wearing white in this scene: he's the innocent, lost in a cruel world -- but the strange thing about the movie is that Edwards seems to be on the side of the cruel people.