Thursday, April 26, 2012
THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER
12 years after making The Pink Panther [and its sequel A Shot in the Dark] Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards revived their careers by re-teaming in another Inspector Clouseau comedy. The Pink Panther diamond has again been stolen, and fingers point at the Phantom (now played by Christopher Plummer), who is married and retired and innocent of the crime. He determines to discover who it is, just as Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is put on the case at the request of the museum from which the gem was lifted. [There's no attempt at continuity with the original films. Clouseau is seen as the man who "solved" the pink panther case, even though he was actually arrested for the crime at the end of The Pink Panther.] Catherine Schell is the Phantom's wife, and Herbert Lom is back as Inspector Dreyfus (his murder spree in A Shot in the Dark being similarly forgotten). Sellers and Lom are wonderful, Schell is competent, and Plummer, running around breaking fingers in a sadistic fashion you can't imagine David Niven [who played the part originally] employing, exhibits all the charm of a rabid skunk. Despite that, the movie is a welcome addition to the Clouseau filmography.
Verdict: Imperfect but very amusing. ***.