The Return of the Pink Panther

The Return of the Pink Panther

Infobox Film
name = The Return of the Pink Panther


image_size = 210px
caption = original movie poster
director = Blake Edwards
producer = Blake Edwards
writer = Blake Edwards
Frank Waldman
starring = Peter Sellers
Christopher Plummer
Catherine Schell
Herbert Lom
music = Henry Mancini
cinematography = Geoffrey Unsworth
editing = Tom Priestley
distributor = Theatrical Release
United Artists
ITC Entertainment
Home Video
Focus Features through Universal Pictures
released = May 21, fy|1975
runtime = 113 minutes
country = Cinema of the United Kingdom / FilmUS
language = English
budget = $5,000,000 (estimated)
gross =
preceded_by = "Inspector Clouseau"
followed_by = "The Pink Panther Strikes Again"
imdb_id = 0072081

"The Return of the Pink Panther" is the fourth film in the Pink Panther series, released in fy|1975. The film stars Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau in his third "Panther" appearance, after the original "The Pink Panther" (1963) and "A Shot in the Dark" (1964).

Herbert Lom also reprises his role as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus. The film also features the return of the character Sir Charles Lytton (the notorious Phantom), now played by Christopher Plummer rather than David Niven, who was unavailable but would later return for "Trail of the Pink Panther". The Pink Panther diamond once again plays a central role in the plot.

Plot

The bumbling of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) has resulted in his being demoted to beat cop by his boss, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who despises Clouseau to the point of obsession. However, the French government forces Dreyfus to reinstate Clouseau as a detective so that he can go to the fictional Middle Eastern nation of Lugash to investigate the theft of the fabled Pink Panther diamond, which has once again been stolen.

Clouseau's investigations at the Lugash National Museum, which he nearly destroys, lead him to believe that Sir Charles Lytton (Christopher Plummer), the notorious Phantom, is re-creating the most infamous heist of his career. Clouseau is delighted at this, and sees this as his only chance to get his revenge on Lytton for framing him and temporarily sending him to prison on the first film. Although Clouseau fails to uncover any leads into the theft, his bumbling allows him to survive several attempts on his life by a mysterious assassin. After staking out, and nearly demolishing, Lytton Manor in Nice, Clouseau is tricked into leaving France. He follows Sir Charles' wife, Lady Claudine (Catherine Schell) to a resort hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, where his attempts to investigate her repeatedly fail.

Meanwhile, Sir Charles reads about the theft and realizes that he has been framed. He goes to Lugash to investigate, encountering various underworld figures of old acquaintance, and foils several attempts on his life. Lytton eventually manages to discover the identity of the true thief – his wife, Lady Claudine. Because they were both bored with their quiet retirement, she stole the diamond for her own excitement, then sent her husband on a wild goose chase for his. Sir Charles makes a daring escape from Lugash and goes to Gstaad to find his wife and the diamond.

Inspector Clouseau, who has unknowingly been on the trail of the real thief all along, receives a telephone call from Chief Inspector Dreyfus telling him to arrest Lady Claudine. However, when Clouseau calls Dreyfus back to ask why, he is informed that Dreyfus has been on vacation for the past week. Dreyfus, now revealed as the assassin trying to kill Clouseau, prepares to shoot him with a sniper rifle as soon as he enters Lady Claudine's room.

Lady Claudine playfully confesses the theft to her husband, and hands the diamond over to him, so he can go about proving his innocence. They are cornered by Colonel Sharky (Peter Arne) of the Lugash Secret Police, who intends to kill them both. It turns out the Lugashi government has been using the theft of the diamond as an excuse to purge their political opponents. Just then, Clouseau barges into the room to arrest the Lyttons. Sir Charles points out that Colonel Sharky is going to kill them all, and Clouseau buffoonishly attempts to arrest Sharky. Suddenly, Dreyfus opens fire on the room, and manages to accidentally kill Sharky while aiming at Clouseau, who has ducked at the last minute to check his fly.

For his work in recovering the Pink Panther, Clouseau is promoted to Chief Inspector, and vows to bring Sir Charles to justice. Dreyfus is committed to a lunatic asylum, where he is straitjacketed and placed inside a rubber room. Sir Charles Lytton comes out of retirement, and continues to operate as the Phantom, while his wife's fate is unspecified. The movie ends with Dreyfus holding a crayon between his toes to scrawl "KILL CLOUSEAU" on the cell wall, while the animated Pink Panther appears to film him.

Cast

*Peter Sellers as "Insp. Jacques Clouseau"
*Christopher Plummer as "Sir Charles Lytton"
*Catherine Schell as "Lady Claudine Lytton"
*Herbert Lom as "Chief Insp. Charles Dreyfus"
*Peter Arne as "Col. Sharky"
*Peter Jeffrey as "Gen. Wadafi"
*Grégoire Aslan as "Police Chief Lundallah"
*David Lodge as "Mac"
*Graham Stark as "Pepi"
*Eric Pohlmann as "The Fat Man"
*André Maranne as "Sgt. François Chevalier"
*Burt Kwouk as "Cato Fong"
*Victor Spinetti as "Hotel Concierge"
*John Bluthal as "Blind Beggar"
*Mike Grady as "Bellboy"
*Peter Jones as "Psychiatrist"

Cast notes:
*Carol Cleveland, known to many for her regular appearances on Monty Python's Flying Circus, has a small part as a swimming pool diver.

Ownership

Like the previous three Panther films, "Return" was released by United Artists. However, United Artists was not directly involved in the production of this film.

At the time of its release, UA sold their rights to independent company ITC Entertainment, which intended to make a Pink Panther television miniseries starring Sellers and Lom. However, early in pre-production, ITC made the decision to make a feature film.

Although UA continues to hold the copyright as well as theatrical distribution rights (as MGM currently holds theatrical rights to the ITC feature film library), they do not hold all other ancillary rights, including home video. This caused "Return" to enter litigation for a brief time, which is why MGM Home Entertainment did not include "Return" in a 2004 DVD box set of "Pink Panther" films or the 2008 "Ultimate" collection, and will not do so for future collections. MGM was also not given permission to include material from this movie in its 2006 publication "Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide to the Coolest Cat in Town", although footage from the movie does appear in the ending credits of Trail of the Pink Panther, since due to theatrical distribution rights, they could include it in a feature film and consequently, that film's home video release.

The remaining rights to "Return" have reverted to Universal Pictures (via its Focus Features division), which recently assumed the video rights from Artisan/Lions Gate Home Entertainment.

Quotes

The film opens with Clouseau on a street beat, arguing with a blind street minstrel and his monkey if he had a license. Meanwhile, Clouseau is totally unaware of a bank heist going on in the background, and even returns a dropped wad of bills back to the robbers whilst engaged in an argument with the minstrel. Clouseau pronounces "license" as something sounding like "le sanz", and "monkey" as "muin-key", continuing the hilarious vaudeville slant of the film. Later he is questioned by his superior, the Chief Inspector Dreyfus.....
*Chief Inspector Dreyfus: You let the blind man go. He was a lookout for the bank robbers!
*Inspector Clouseau: How can a blind man be a lookout?
*Chief Inspector Dreyfus: How can an idiot be a policeman? Answer me that!
*Inspector Clouseau: It’s very simple. All he has to do is enlist, and....

Miscellany

* Recently the "Return of the Pink Panther" has been re-released on DVD for the European market (DVD region code 2).
* Catherine Schell can be seen laughing on at least two occasions in the film - once when Clouseau impersonates a telephone repairman to infiltrate her home, and again when he meets her in a restaurant and pretends to be "Guy Gadbois", a ladies' man. This magnifies the impression that Lady Lytton sees Clouseau as "cute" rather than as a real threat. These scenes are frequently proferred as classic examples of corpsing, and it was not uncharacteristic of Sellers to goad his fellow actors to break character, but Schell has maintained in various interviews that she always considered it in character for Lady Lytton to be amused at Clouseau's antics.
* The film broke box office records when released. For a comedy movie, it was considered a huge success, which naturally justified the release of the equally successful sequels.,
* Richard Williams did the animated open and close titles for this picture and "The Pink Panther Strikes Again", due to DePatie-Freleng's work on the "Pink Panther" shorts and other cartoon projects for TV and film.
* In the first two Pink Panther films, Peter Sellers played Clouseau with a straight French accent. With this film, he began using the exaggerated accent that has become associated with the character.
* The scene in which Sir Charles Lytton arrives at his hotel in Lugash is an obvious homage to the film "Casablanca". The song "As Time Goes By" can be clearly heard playing on a piano in the background. As Sir Charles meets with his contact he also asks for "The Fat Man" (a reference to the rather large Sydney Greenstreet, who played Señor Ferrari in "Casablanca"), and tells the contact to have a drink of Renault (the name of Claude Rains' French police prefect character).

External links

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