The PINK PANTHER Thread

DrunkIrishPoetDrunkIrishPoet Somewhere Beyond the Sea
I'm creating this “Pink Panther Thread” in order not to derail @Creasy47’s “You Favorite Films?” thread with a bunch of Pink Panther chatter. The Pink Panther film series has a lot in common with the Bond movies: it is nearly as old as the Bond series, has equally memorable musical themes, and has also survived multiple recasting efforts. There are good physical set-pieces, and also some overlapping cast members.
I’ll start off the discussion with a chronological list of each and every film in the series, along with my own biased thumbnail review.

The Original Trilogy:
The Pink Panther (1963, Blake Edwards) **** The original, and still the best. A sophisticated sex farce/caper comedy with an all-star cast. Director Blake Edwards was already famous for TV’s “Peter Gunn,” and the feature films Operation Petticoat and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Featuring David Niven’s elegance and grace, and the timeless beauty of Claudia Cardinale and Capucine, The Pink Panther is the kind of movie that will pause for a gratuitous musical interlude just because the song is cool and the singer is smoking hot.
A Shot in the Dark (1964, Edwards) **** Based on a French play (which did not feature Clouseau), re-written for the screen by William Peter Blatty (The Exorcist), there’s no pink panther in this one: it’s a murder mystery featuring Peter Sellers’ breakout character, Inspector Jacques Cousteau. So there’s more slapstick than in the original—but just as much sex farce. The sex in this case is provided by Elke Sommer (Casino Royale, 1967). Arguably one of the funniest movies ever made. This is the movie that introduces the supporting cast of Chief Inspector Dreyfus and Clouseau’s houseboy, Cato.
Inspector Clouseau (1968, directed by Bud Yorkin, who went on to revolutionize the sitcom in America by forming Tandem Productions with Norman Lear; also directed The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973) with Ryan O’Neal) UNRATED—no stars because I’ve never been able to watch the damn thing. As a kid I tried several times to watch this one on the late shows, but it’s not very good—not good enough for a kid to stay up late watching, anyway, not even a kid as crazy about Inspector Clouseau as I was in those days. I loved Alan Arkin in The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming! but his Clouseau didn’t work for me. Also, no Blake Edwards and no Henry Mancini—but it's an official Mirisch Films production, with animated titles by DePatie-Freling, so it is cannon.

The Sequel Trilogy:
The Return of the Pink Panther (1975, Edwards) **** Picks up where 1968’s Inspector Clouseau left off: with Clouseau busted down in rank from inspector to beat cop. Seller’s bizarre-o “French” accent has changed, too, becoming much harder to understand—a joke initiated by Alan Arkin (Arkin was also the first to wear the Inspector’s now-signature hat and trench coat). The Phantom has again stolen the pink panther diamond, and only Clouseau can catch him… or her, as the case turns out to be. This movie is nearly as stylish and elegant as the original, and almost as funny as the first sequel—in other words, it is practically the Platonic ideal of a pink panther movie.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976, Edwards) *** This is the one most people are familiar with, because for a while it was all over cable TV like a rash. Continues the story from the end of The Return of the Pink Panther, featuring the now-insane Chief Inspector Dreyfus creating a crime syndicate and constructing a doomsday weapon with the intention of using it to blackmail the world to kill Clouseau. Notable for the Oscar-nominated song “Come to Me,” sung by Tom Jones (Thunderball). The film was a hit and it has a lot of funny stuff in it—but the Law of Diminishing Returns was already noticeably beginning to take effect.
Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978, Edwards) ** By now Edwards and Sellers hated each other, so this movie concentrates on big physical gags and slapstick shtick where the aging actor could be replaced by a stuntman. Needless to say, it is not exactly what I would call “classy” or “elegant” or “sophisticated.” It is intermittently hilarious, however, and it was successful at the box office. Peter Sellers died in 1980, before production began on the planned “Romance of the Pink Panther.”

The After Death Trilogy:
Trail of the Pink Panther (1982, Edwards) ** Reporter Joanna Lumley (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) investigates the disappearance of Inspector Clouseau. This movie is bad, but it functions as a Greatest Hits compilation reel of Peter Sellers in action, so I’m giving it 2 stars anyway. Good to see David Niven and Capucine again, too.
Curse of the Pink Panther (1983, Edwards) * Introduces Ted Wass as inept American detective Clifton Sleigh, assigned to find the missing Inspector Clouseau. This movie is just as bad as Trail of… but without the redeeming virtue of Peter Sellers flashbacks—so it only gets 1 star, and that star is for David Niven, who classes up even the cheesiest of cheeseburgers (I’m looking at you, Murder By Death). This was to be Niven’s final film performance, which is a shame. Capucine and Robert Wagner also turn up. The movie was a box-office bomb and earned unanimously scathing reviews.
Son of the Pink Panther (1993, Edwards) ZERO STARS This movie stinks on ice. Italian clown Roberto Benigni (Life Is Beautiful) takes on the role of Jacques Clouseau Junior. This movie was a box-office fiasco everywhere except in Italy, and earned unanimously scathing reviews. After this picture, director Blake Edwards retired from filmmaking for keeps, and composer Henry Mancini just went ahead and died.
And that should be the end of things… but wait! There’s more!!

The Modern Reboot Trilogy:
The Pink Panther (2006, Shawn Levy; Cheaper by the Dozen(2003)) *** I’m giving this movie 3 stars because, well, because I really like Steve Martin—and while his take on Inspector Clouseau is not a patch on Peter Sellers, at least he does his own version of the character and not just a Peter Sellers impersonation, like Alan Arkin did. Plus, this was the first film since 1975 to actually feature the Pink Panther Diamond. It’s not a great film, but it is better than your average Pink Panther movie. It made money despite mediocre reviews.
The Pink Panther 2 (2009, Harald Zwart; Agent Cody Banks (2003)) ** An inferior sequel to a movie that’s not actually as bad as everyone says, it is itself surprisingly not as bad as expected. Steve Martin is funny as always, and once again good use is made of the Pink Panther Diamond as a McGuffin. Did not make much money and got generally poor reviews.
The Pink Panther 3: Due to the underperformance of PP2 at the box office, and third part is not forthcoming.

So, how would YOU rank the Pink Panthers?
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Comments

  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    edited December 2019 Posts: 29,633
    I'm not going to rank them (and I have never had any interest in seeing the post-Sellers entries), but this looks like a good place to throw out an anecdote (that I may have mentioned in the past).

    Back in the summer of '78 my cousin and I were at a drive-in (we went often, so I have no idea what we were seeing that night), and I remember we were pretty drunk. The previews were running and suddenly there was the 007 Gun Barrel up on the screen, theme music and all. My cousin (I was 15 that summer, he was 18) yelled out, "James Bond!", but I knew something fishy was up because where the center of the gun barrel should have been white, it was pink. Sure enough, instead of Bond, Clouseau comes walking out. His gun gets caught in his trench coat, he can't get it out, gives up and dejectedly walks off screen. We both broke up laughing hysterically (at the time we were fans of both franchises). That was the entire teaser trailer for REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER.

    That would be such a great gem to post on here, but I have not seen it since, have not found it ion YouTube (or any other site) and have not encountered anyone else who has seen it! No info comes up with a Google search. But I saw it and it was cool!
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    I'm gong to post this on the Originals thread as well. Greater chance of someone who was alive and going to the movies then to see it and respond.
  • My Ranking...
    A Shot in the Dark
    The Pink Panther
    The Return of the Pink Panther
    The Pink Panther Strikes again
    The Revenge of the Pink Panther

    I only regard the above films as true Pink Panther films.

    The Trail... was a cash grab of sorts with poor outtakes.

    Curse... Could not be saved by a Sir Roger cameo and was awful.

    Son... Again awful.

    I am a fan of Alan Arkin though his film is very far removed from the Sellers films, Arkins effort is not a film I rush to revisit.

    The first Steve Martin film had its moments and is the best since Revenge...

    It's a shame Sellers never got chance to make his pet project Romance of the Pink Panther
  • DrunkIrishPoetDrunkIrishPoet Somewhere Beyond the Sea
    Posts: 120
    @Fire_and_Ice_Returns, your rankings and analysis are right on -- obviously you know whereof you speak.
  • edited December 2019 Posts: 12,644
    @Fire_and_Ice_Returns, your rankings and analysis are right on -- obviously you know whereof you speak.

    I love the film series and a life long fan of Sellers from his early radio work with The Goon Show and short films to his British films (I rewatched I'm alright Jack a few nights ago) and onto Hollywood.

    The Running, Jumping and Standing Still film.
  • Posts: 14,365
    I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?
  • edited December 2019 Posts: 12,644
    I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.
  • Posts: 14,365
    I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.

    Noted! I really should give the rest of these films a watch. I liked the first one.
  • I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.

    Noted! I really should give the rest of these films a watch. I liked the first one.

    A Shot in the Dark is my favorite if you liked the first film A Shot in the Dark should be easy to get into. The only real narrative arc now I think about is the Character Dreyfuss, it probably is better to watch them in order.
  • Posts: 14,365
    I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.

    Noted! I really should give the rest of these films a watch. I liked the first one.

    A Shot in the Dark is my favorite if you liked the first film A Shot in the Dark should be easy to get into. The only real narrative arc now I think about is the Character Dreyfuss, it probably is better to watch them in order.

    A Shot in the Dark also features Elke Sommer, which is a plus! I'll look forward to watching them all. I might drop watching the reboot films though.
  • I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.

    Noted! I really should give the rest of these films a watch. I liked the first one.

    A Shot in the Dark is my favorite if you liked the first film A Shot in the Dark should be easy to get into. The only real narrative arc now I think about is the Character Dreyfuss, it probably is better to watch them in order.

    A Shot in the Dark also features Elke Sommer, which is a plus! I'll look forward to watching them all. I might drop watching the reboot films though.

    You may want to watch some of the other films out of curiosity though the five films I listed in my ranking are the only great ones IMO.

    I like Steve Martin so I occasionally watch his recent films if they are on TV, the first one has a few good gags.
  • Posts: 14,365
    I've only watched the first one of the Pink Panther series. Should they be watched chronologically?

    There is not a continuous narrative other than the actors involved obvious change in age, there is quite a gap between the second and third Sellers film. The films themselves do evolve in tone and become more set piece based. Sellers is on fire in The Return of the Pink Panther, that film is hilarious it's a good film to start with.

    Noted! I really should give the rest of these films a watch. I liked the first one.

    A Shot in the Dark is my favorite if you liked the first film A Shot in the Dark should be easy to get into. The only real narrative arc now I think about is the Character Dreyfuss, it probably is better to watch them in order.

    A Shot in the Dark also features Elke Sommer, which is a plus! I'll look forward to watching them all. I might drop watching the reboot films though.

    You may want to watch some of the other films out of curiosity though the five films I listed in my ranking are the only great ones IMO.

    I like Steve Martin so I occasionally watch his recent films if they are on TV, the first one has a few good gags.

    Thanks, I'll take note of that as well!

    (Sorry for cluttering the discussion with my question :-) )
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    So, no one has any info on the teaser?
  • Birdleson wrote: »
    So, no one has any info on the teaser?

    I was only four at the time, though I am sure I have seen it as I have a vague recollection of Clouseau leaning through the gun barrel hmm. I would be interested to watch it, I have had the films in various formats over the years I am wondering if it is on any extra content.

    I did find this recent homage though...

  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CAModerator
    Posts: 29,633
    That’s pretty great.
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Defender of Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Éric Serra & the Bond double bill of '83!
    edited December 2019 Posts: 4,885
    I absolutely love this series. I like these films so much it is the only film series next the Bond films and the LOTR trilogy with more than two entries in my favourite film list.

    As with the Bond films, my ranking of the Panthers is rather uncommon, but here we go:

    1. Revenge of the Pink Panther *****
    2. The Pink Panther Strikes Again *****
    3. A Shot in the Dark *****
    4. The Pink Panther *****
    5. Trail of the Pink Panther ****
    6. Return of the Pink Panther ****

    Apart from the Sellers ones I have only seen Curse and the remake. Didn't like either of those.

    Also, great story @Birdleson! I'd love to see that teaser trailer.
  • Posts: 1,334
    Big fan of the series, myself. I just got the original film collection on DVD a couple months ago. Timeless comedy.

    I'm amazed nobody has mentioned Roger Moore's cameo as a disguised Clouseau in Curse of the Pink Panther, supposedly shot during a break from OP. It's a lot of fun.
  • DrunkIrishPoetDrunkIrishPoet Somewhere Beyond the Sea
    Posts: 120
    @BT3366 Thanks for posting this clip! Roger Moore is my second-favorite Clouseau--he does a really great job in this sketch.
  • edited December 2019 Posts: 12,644
    BT3366 wrote: »
    Big fan of the series, myself. I just got the original film collection on DVD a couple months ago. Timeless comedy.

    I'm amazed nobody has mentioned Roger Moore's cameo as a disguised Clouseau in Curse of the Pink Panther, supposedly shot during a break from OP. It's a lot of fun.

    I mentioned Sir Roger in my ranking post above ;)
  • edited December 2019 Posts: 1,334
    Sorry about that Fire and Ice Returns, I did a glance through the posts and didn't see it.

    Like DrunkenIrishPoet says, there are so many connections between Bond and Panther. Both were tentpoles for UA throughout the decades. The UA logo before the film was always a way to get the adrenaline going in anticipation of something special to come with the theme music and title sequences.

    Like Bond, my family were fans of Panther movies, as my parents saw the originals on dates. When I was little, I watched the Pink Panather cartoons on Saturday mornings and even ate Pink Panther cereal. My first Panther film was Return in the summer of '75, so those '70s films were the ones I love the most. Besides the cinema showings, it was always an event to catch a showing on Sunday or Friday nights on the ABC Network in the U.S.

    Strikes Again is my favorite. I remember going to see it on a winter Saturday in early '77 as a school kid with my mom and uncle and just enjoying it because it was globe-hopping, kind of like Bond. That little theme music when Clouseau is doing something goofy always stood out and I still like to use a Sellers/Clouseau accent to say "rim" for "room" and frequently use "I knew that" to cover something I didn't.

    Return is my second favorite. In addition to being my big introduction of the series, I recall how cool and Bond-like Christopher Plummer was in that film. It was even cooler later finding the Fat Man was the voice of Blofeld himself.

    I saw Revenge in the summer of '78 and felt let down as it seemed to be more broad and too much emphasis on the villains and their plans. I get trying to bring Kato in for more, but he's much better in small doses. Still my least favorite of that '70s trilogy.

    I saw the '80s films on cable. I actually enjoyed Trail and Joanna Lumley with its cameos and clips. Never saw all of Curse or Son, just bits. Watched the Martin remake and found it amusing but never bothered with the sequel. Beyoncé's casting seemed like a gimmick. This series shouldn't depend on that; it should be about Clouseau. That's what made the earlier films so appealing was the supporting characters and their interactions with Clouseau.

    While I appreciate the original two films as classics, they just never measure up to the '70s for me. That's what's so fun about having that DVD set is I can enjoy and discover new things about the series. As a bonus, any time I do something goofy I can channel my inner Clouseau and laugh at myself.
  • DrunkIrishPoetDrunkIrishPoet Somewhere Beyond the Sea
    Posts: 120
    BT3366 wrote: »
    ...any time I do something goofy I can channel my inner Clouseau and laugh at myself.

    I am the same way, @BT3366 Whenever I stumble or fall, I bounce back with a hearty, "that felt good!" And anytime a friend or loved one drops or breaks something, I always berate them with, "clumsy fool!"
  • edited December 2019 Posts: 2,105
    I haven't watched them in a long while, but my favorites have, from childhood, been the original movie and Strikes Back. Latter might've been because it's basically a parody of a Bond film. Shot is also pretty good, although I first saw it in my adult life and don' t have nostalgic chains to it.
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 7,359
    I definitely experienced the Pink Panther-James Bond connection over the years, @DrunkIrishPoet.

    DJPCU97XYAINdoj.jpg

  • Posts: 4,381
    Another connection :



    And in 1977, I remember that before TSWLM, the short program they showed (they did that in those days, you know ?) was a Pink Panther cartoon (although I don't remember which one).
  • I definitely experienced the Pink Panther-James Bond connection over the years, @DrunkIrishPoet.

    DJPCU97XYAINdoj.jpg

    I love that poster, I want that framed
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Defender of Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Éric Serra & the Bond double bill of '83!
    Posts: 4,885
    I definitely experienced the Pink Panther-James Bond connection over the years, @DrunkIrishPoet.

    DJPCU97XYAINdoj.jpg

    I love that poster, I want that framed

    Absolutely brilliant!
  • Great photos of Peter Sellers with Sir Roger larking about...
    6517ee39d9daa6f0752132a58b805766.jpg
    PS036.jpg
  • GoldenGunGoldenGun Defender of Timothy Dalton, George Lazenby, Éric Serra & the Bond double bill of '83!
    Posts: 4,885
    Great photos of Peter Sellers with Sir Roger larking about...
    6517ee39d9daa6f0752132a58b805766.jpg
    PS036.jpg

    They look like they're having a great time. I'm sure there are some great pictures around of Rog and David Niven too, as they were very good friends.
  • Posts: 7,939
    It’s a franchise I plan on getting into at some point as I love the theme tune...

    Actually ironically enough there are a few theme tunes that I know and yet have never watched the show or film they are associated with (Airwolf, Peter Gunn etc)

    As my wife will be home on weekends for the forseeable future any idea which film I should start off with
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