The slow burn is a time-honored method for the transmission of comedy in the movies. The slow burn is a way of describing the eventual progression of frustration toward a point at which it finally erupts into physical expression. One of the greatest actors in movie history when it comes to the slow burn died on September 27, 2012.
Imagining "The Pink Panther" movies without Peter Sellers is difficult enough, but try to imagine that series of comedy films without Sellers or Herbert Lom. Herbert Lom had an even longer career in the movies than Peter Sellers, but he never quite achieved the heights of fame. Lom managed to do what Sellers barely managed: he straddled the line comedic actor and dramatic actor. Even so, it verges on the unimaginable to write about Herbert Lom without speaking directly to his absolute vital significance in the evolution of the Inspector Clouseau movies.
Long-suffering is putting it mildly when it comes to describing Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Imagine if you had to be the boss of an idiot whom the rest of the world inconceivably viewed as some sort of savant? Well, you don't have to imagine it: just think back to when you were the boss of George W. Bush and all those Republicans though he was some kind of genius!
Remember how long you suffered the vanity of fools? That is what Herbert Lom was forced to do in his role as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Lom played Dreyfus over the course of several movies and that burn was slow and brilliantly executed until, at last, he went entirely cray-cray. If you really want to watch Herbert Lom at his best, go for "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" in which Lom gets the chance to actually become the villain against whom Clouseau must put his formidable luck.