This film holds a special place in my heart.
I was blessed to have wonderful parents growing up.
This is a film we enjoyed as a family on many occasions.
When our extended family got together we would also share in the laughs from this little masterpiece.
Yes, Tim Conway and Don Knotts are essentially two Jacques Clouseaux in the same movie.
Knotts is a bit more of the straight man (in comedy parlance), but both are fumbling/bumbling idiots.
And that is, of course, why we love them.
Though The Private Eyes borrows heavily from the Pink Panther series, it has a charm of its own.
Filmed at the historic Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina (the largest privately-owned mansion in the U.S.), The Private Eyes is a good-natured film full of secret passageways and “spooky” scenes which are tame enough for a young audience. In fact, I would heartily recommend this as a Halloween movie fit for all ages.
Directed by Lang Elliott (who doesn’t even have a stub [red link] on Wikipedia), this film has aged fairly well. The only drawback is if one is familiar with Peter Sellers’ oeuvre. That’s the sad part about watching a plethora of films. On the one hand you see where all the influences came from (and that, in itself, is rewarding). On the other hand, you see where all the influences came from (and said influences might oft times be a bit too liberally lifted).
Ah, but this is the movies 🙂 Not cinema. Not hoighty-toighty. Hell, I don’t even know if I spelled that right. And I’m not gonna look. Because that’s entertainment. You just go with it. Comedy. Make ’em laugh!
Special mention should go to the sultry Trisha Noble who plays the role of Phyllis Morley. You might know her as Padmé’s mother in Revenge of the Sith. [Sorry, I refuse to write the whole title of that atrocious Star Wars film.]
Also worth mention (in the same vein) is Suzy Mandel who plays Hilda.
John Fujioka is quite funny as the samurai chef Mr. Uwatsum. His rapport with Tim Conway is pretty priceless.
Bernard Fox is very convincing as the insane butler Justin.
But let’s get to the point, shall we? Grace Zabriskie is certainly perfect in the part of Nanny (very Lotte Lenya) [not to be confused with Alotta Fagina], but…
we should dedicate this review to the late Irwin Keyes who played the role of Jock (Jacques?) the hunchback. Such a pithy role to portray a man with no tongue. And Irwin did it well. Mr. Keyes passed away only a few months ago and so it is appropriate that we honor his small but important contribution to this timelessly enjoyable film.
But remember, kids…next time someone asks you why you painted a picture of Don Knotts, just tell ’em (like Enid Coleslaw in Ghost World), “Because…I just, like Don Knotts.” Take it from Thora Birch… She has the right idea! And if they still don’t leave you alone, tell ’em about wookalars 🙂 [boy, oh boy, oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy…this buzzard pus is really starting to back up on me…]