Return of the Pink Panther: Blu-ray

Sunday, 10 January 2016 00:00 Written by 

Return of the Pink Panther - out now on Blu-rayThe world’s largest and most valuable diamond has been stolen and that can only mean one thing: Peter Sellers is called on to reprise what is probably his most famous role as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau. The detective is on back the trail of master cat burglar The Phantom, aka Sir Charles Litton (the iconic Christopher Plummer – who has played everything from Chang in “Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country” to Captain Von Trapp in “The Sound of Music”). All may not be what it seems however, as Litton is engaged in his own hunt for a thief.

All of the usual ingredients of Blake Edwards’ hit comedy are present: Herbert Lom plays Clouseau’s twitching, nervous wreck of a boss, Burt Kwouk’s Cato keeps us and the Inspector in suspense as his servant and sly martial arts plaything, and Henry Mancini’s timeless and sublimely slinky theme tune sets the tone. Effortlessly glamorous Catherine Schell (Maya in season 2 of Space: 1999, and Countess Scarlioni in the classic Doctor Who story “The City of Death”) co-stars as Lady Claudine Litton.

This third outing for Seller’s incarnation of Clouseau thrives on its familiarity, especially the detective’s constant physical mishaps and buffoonery. Laurel and Hardy’s comedy works by placing the duo in a clearly-defined scenario and telegraphing the mayhem about to occur, and the Pink Panther movies delight us in much the same way.

As Clouseau, Sellers (“Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”) combines impeccable timing, an hilarious ‘Allo ‘Allo!-style mock French accent, unflappable determination and loveable charm to make one of my favourite movie characters of all time.

There are so many stand-out moments in this film but a few choice examples include Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Lom) disastrously confusing a gun-shaped cigarette lighter with a real gun, Clouseau and Cato’s super-destructive play-fight in their apartment, and the Inspector’s ingeniously cack-handed attempt to masquerade as a hotel room cleaner, much to the alarm of a poor parrot!

In addition to Clouseau’s slapstick routines, Plummer gets some proper action scenes that spice up the film a bit, and he equips himself admirably as the suave and occasionally menacing millionaire playboy.

The film is not perfect and a few of the gags do fall a little flat, but they are definitely the exceptions in what is otherwise a brilliantly funny showcase for Seller’s talents.

There is no bonus content on the disc at all, but fortunately the quality of the Blu-ray’s visuals and the relatively low price of this release help us to accept its shortcomings.

“The Return of the Pink Panther” (1975) is out now on Blu-ray, courtesy of Fabulous Films. The main feature has a running time of 108 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £14.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

 

 

Last modified on Sunday, 10 January 2016 10:31

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