Saturday, 29 October 2016

1964, Film: “A Shot in the Dark”

The British-American coproduction "A Shot in the Dark" was released on 23 June 1964 in New York City. The comedy, based on Harry Kurnitz adaption from the 1961 French play "L'Idiote" by Marcel Achard, was directed by Blake Edwards. The main cast includes Peter Sellers, Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk, George Sanders and Elke Sommer. The music was written by Henry Mancini.

"A Shot in the Dark" is the second film in The Pink Panther series after “The Pink Panther” from 1963. Peter Sellers plays the clumsy French Sûreté Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French Sûreté. New in this film is Clouseau's exaggerated French accent, his boss Commissioner Dreyfus played by Herbert Lom and his loyal servant Cato played by Burt Kwouk.
Burt Kwouk as Kato and Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
Herbert Lom as Charles Dreyfus and Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
André Maranne as François, Herbert Lom as Charles Dreyfus and Reginald Beckwith
George Sanders as Benjamin Ballon and Tracy Reed as Dominique Ballon
Synopsis
When M. Ballon's (George Sanders) spanish driver, Miguel Ostos, is found shot dead, Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called to investigate the crime. All evidence points to Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer), the maid, to be the murderer. But Clouseau, being attracted to the beautiful girl, is convinced of her innocence...
George Sanders as Benjamin Ballon and Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau and Graham Stark as Hercule Lajoy
Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli
Main cast
  • Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
  • Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli
  • George Sanders as Benjamin Ballon
  • Herbert Lom as Charles Dreyfus
  • Tracy Reed as Dominique Ballon
  • Graham Stark as Hercule Lajoy
  • Moira Redmond as Simone
  • Vanda Godsell as Madame LaFarge
  • Maurice Kaufmann as Pierre
  • Ann Lynn as Dudu
  • David Lodge as Georges
  • André Maranne as François
  • Martin Benson as Maurice
  • Burt Kwouk as Kato
Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli, Burt Kwouk as Kato and Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli in the Radford Mini Cooper
Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli and Peter Sellers as Jacques Clouseau
Elke Sommer as Maria Gambrelli
Trivia
  • The adaption by Harry Kurnitz did not include Clouseau, the whole screenplay was rewritten by Blake Edwards and William Peter Blatty.
  • Maria Gambrelli was originally to be played by Sophia Loren, but she became ill. The second choice was Romy Schneider, but she had another commitment.
  • The 1963 Morris Mini Cooper by Radford that Peter Sellers drives in the movie was his own car. The special Cooper Radford conversion costed more than a contemporary Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.

Trailer "A Shot in the Dark" (1964)

Saturday, 22 October 2016

1963, Car spotting: car park at London Airport (now Heathrow)

Only the cars on first seven rows are recognisable.

First row, left to right: unknown car, Austin A55 Cambridge Mark II (Farina), Vauxhall Victor FB, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Austin (A40/A50/A55) Cambridge Mark I, Vauxhall Victor FB Estate, Ford Anglia 100E, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini.

Second row, left to right: unknown car, Hillman Minx, Ford Anglia 105E, Vauxhall Victor FB Estate, Simca Aronde P60, Morris Minor Series II convertible, unknown probably Renault Floride/Caravelle, Vauxhall Victor FB, Ford Anglia 105E, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, unknown car.

Third row, left to right: Ford Anglia 105E estate, Ford Consul Mark II (204E), Vauxhall Victor FB, unknown car probably Morris, Ford Anglia 105E, Ford Zodiac Mark III (213E), Ford Consul Mark II (204E), Austin-Healey 3000, Austin A35 Van, Ford (Consul) Cortina Mark I, Citroën ID/DS series I, unknown car probably Sunbeam-Talbot 90 Mk IIA.

Fourth row, left to right: Ford Anglia 105E, unknown dark coloured car, Ford Consul Classic (109E/116E), unknown car, unknown car, unknown car probably Hillman Minx, Vauxhall Victor FB, Sunbeam Alpine, MG A, Triumph Herald.

Fifth row, left to right: unknown car, Vauxhall Velox/Cresta PB, Vauxhall Victor FB, Ford Zodiac Mark II (206E), Wolseley (type ?), Morris 1100 Mark I (BMC ADO16), Singer Gazelle, Renault Dauphine, Vauxhall Victor F, Ford Consul Mark II (204E), BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini Van, Ford Anglia 105E, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Morris Oxford series VI (Farina).

Sixth row, left to right: unknown car, unknown car, Rover P4, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Ford Zephyr/Zodiac Mark II (206E), Vauxhall Victor FB Estate, unknown car, unknown car, unknown car, unknown car, Ford Consul Mark II (204E), Volkswagen 1200 (Beetle), unknown car, unknown car, Jaguar Mark VII/VIII or IX, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Austin A55 Cambridge Mark II (Farina) or Morris Oxford series VI (Farina), Ford Anglia 105E.

Seventh row, left to right: Ford Zephyr 4 Mark III (211E), Ford Consul Classic (109E/116E), Austin (A40/A50/A55) Cambridge Mark I, Ford Zodiac Mark II (206E), Ford (Consul) Cortina Mark I, Morris Minor Series II, Rover P4, unknown car, Triumph Herald, Sunbeam Alpine, Triumph Herald, Ford Anglia 105E, Ford Consul Mark II (204E), Ford Anglia 105E, Jaguar Mark IX, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Volkswagen 1200 (Beetle), Hillman Super Minx, BMC (Austin/Morris) Mini, Vauxhall Victor F.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

1962, Cars: Facel-Vega Facel II (type HK2)

In 1962 French car maker Facel-Vega starts to sell the new Facel II. The new GT coupé car, designed by Jean Daninos (Facel-Vega founder and president), was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1961 and received a very enthusiastic reception comparing it with the best Italian designs.

Facel-Vega advertised the Facel II as "Le Coupé 4-places le plus rapide du Monde" ("The Fastest 4-seater Coupé in the World"). The Facel II was powered by the American Chrysler 6.3 litre “Typhoon” engine, producing 265 kW with the Chrysler Torqueflite automatic gearbox (top speed: 225 km/h) and 291 kW with the French “Pont-a-Mousson” four speed manual gearbox (top speed: 247 km/h). It almost all out-accelerate its rivals like the Aston Martin DB4, Ferrari 250 GT and Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
Predecessor: Facel-Vega HK500
Facel-Vega Facel II
The car was standard fitted with Dunlop disc brakes on all four wheels, power steering, leather seats, electric windows and radio aerial. The Facel II was owned by some famous people, including Pablo Picasso, Joan Collins, Tony Curtis, Christian Dior, Ava Gardner (she owned three Facel's II), Herbert von Karajan, Danny Kaye, Princess Grace of Monaco, Yves Montand, Anthony Quinn, Debbie Reynolds, Frank Sinatra, Ringo Starr, François Truffaut, and Robert Wagner.
Facel-Vega Facel II
Facel-Vega Facel II interior
In 1964 the Facel company went bankrupt as a result the Facel II production stopped with only 180 Facel's II ever built.
Facel-Vega Facel II
Trivia:
  • Facel stands for “Forges et Ateliers des Constructions d'Eure-et-Loir”
  • Facel produced bodies of custom cars like the Simca 8 Sport (1951), the Panhard Dyna cabriolet (1952) and the French Ford Comète (1952) before the first Facel Vega model in 1955 
Facel-Vega Facel II