According to Graham Stark, who plays Clouseau's assistant Hercule, in the scene where Clouseau gets his hand stuck in the globe, Peter Sellers ad-libbed the line "Look at that! I've got Africa all over my hand!"
According to Blake Edwards in the DVD boxed set documentary, a week into filming, Peter Sellers disappeared. When he returned, from an apparent holiday, Edwards was ready to kill him until Sellers told him of a peculiar hotel manager he met who had a funny French accent which Sellers was to give to the Clouseau character....Thus was born Clouseau's trademark odd pronunciations such as "beump" for bump and "meuths" for moths.
According to the DVD liner notes of the film's first release (before the Pink Panther box set), the audience enjoyed the Inspector Closeau cartoon that played over the credits so much that the entire preview audience applauded and gave the cartoon a standing ovation, to which the theater had to stop the movie until everyone settled again.
All the crimes involve members of the Ballon household. "Ballon" is French for "balloon". At one point Clouseau disguises himself as a balloon-seller.
Body count: 14 humans and 1 crow. (Four killed in the Ballon mansion, four by Dreyfus during Clouseau & Maria's date, and six killed at the end of the movie by the bomb Dreyfus put in Clouseau's car.)
Contrary to the oft-repeated rumor that "A Shot in the Dark" was filmed prior to The Pink Panther, it did not go before the cameras until September of 1963, the same month "The Pink Panther" was being previewed in Hollywood.
Every time Inspector Clouseau says Miguel, he pronounces it incorrectly by adding the sound of the letter u. All the other characters who say it pronounce it correctly (with a silent u).
First appearance of Kato (later changed to Cato) and Dreyfus in the Clouseau film series.
In the scene where Clouseau and Hercule try to synchronize their watches before Clouseau goes into the Ballon house, Peter Sellers and Graham Stark improvised the dialog.
In the scene where Clouseau rushes through a Paris apartment, only to go out the window - into the Seine - three cameras were set up to record the action. Of course a stunt double was employed, and told to "waggle" his legs on the way down, for more humour. The scene was filmed inside MGM's Stage 5 (in Boreham Wood, outside London) where a huge, 154,000 gallon tank, of tepid water, had been readied. Here, a set representing the first three stories of a French apartment house had been erected, right beside the tank. Because one cameraman had partly missed the fall the first time, the stuntman was asked to do it again. He changed out of his wet clothes, and duly did so, some minutes later. But the director felt he needed another, to be sure, and so a third take was done. Eventually only one camera angle was used, of course. The stunt man was paid about a hundred pounds for his part, it is believed.
None of the characters in the Harry Kurnitz stage play appear in the film since after Blake Edwards was brought in to replace the original director, he and William Peter Blatty rewrote the entire script.
Of the 9 murders committed in the film, four of them are victims of Dreyfus, and the only other murder not related to the mansion itself is that of the crow that Inspector Clouseau shoots. Clouseau is the only character who kills a non-human character, and Dreyfus is the only character who kills more than one person.
Only official Clouseau film not to use the name Pink Panther nor the cartoon character in the opening credits.
Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 50 Greatest Comedies Of All Time" in 2006.
The character of Maria Gambrelli first appears in this film and was played by Elke Sommer. The character resurfaced in Son of the Pink Panther, played this time by Claudia Cardinale, who played Princess Dala in the original The Pink Panther.
The film was adapted from the play "A Shot in the Dark" by Marcel Achard which opened at the Booth Theater on October 18, 1961 and ran for 389 performances closing on September 22, 1962. The original cast included Walter Matthau (Winner of 1962 Tony Award® Best Featured Actor in a Play), Julie Harris, William Shatner and Gene Saks.
The role of Maria Gambrelli was originally given to Sophia Loren, but she became ill and couldn't do it. The next choice was Austrian actress Romy Schneider , but she had a prior commitment.
This film was originally meant to have been an adaptation of the stage play by Harry Kurnitz. Walter Matthau and Peter Sellers were to have been the detectives, but Sellers did not like how things were going and wanted out. United Artists brought in Blake Edwards to keep Sellers on the project. Edwards looked at the script and thought that it might be better suited to the character of Inspector Jacques Clouseau, and rewrote the entire script with a young William Peter Blatty. It was released only three months after the original The Pink Panther.
Two of the movie's gags originated by accident: -1. When Clouseau buzzes the intercom for Miguel, then immediately corrects his own mistake: "Hercule!"
- 2. When Clouseau accuses Benjamin Ballon of killing Miguel "in a rit of fealous jage!" he obviously meant to say, "...fit of jealous rage." Peter Sellers was mortified at botching the line and asked for a re-take. Since both flubs got such giggles from the crew, director Blake Edwards decided to leave them in.