HOME   News   Reviews   Adv Search   Features   My DVD   About   Apps   Stats     Search:
  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Greek, Dutch, Portuguese, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Animated menus
  • Trivia track

The Pink Panther

MGM/MGM Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 110 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Numero-uno lead of Blake Edwards' The Pink Panther was meant to be British actor and long-time Hollywood idol David Niven, playing the role of jewel thief Sir Charles Lytton. Lytton is on the trail of the fabulous Pink Panther diamond, owned by the luscious Arabian Princess Dala, played by Claudia Cardinale. But while Niven is still named in the film's titles as the lead, the jewel-thief is about to have that ranking stolen from him.

The film was to have featured a French detective, hot on Lytton's trail, to be played in a serious and sober Poirot-ish way by Peter Ustinov. Ustinov pulled out, and Sellers came in. And the immortal Inspector Jacques Clouseau was born. Sellers became the de-facto lead and the rest is history.

So come to Pink Panther Land and see how, as a result of a one-hour conversation between Sellers and director Blake Edwards, the role was totally subverted and one of the great comic characters of all time was created. The Pink Panther movies aren't Sellers' finest roles - those accolades belong to his turns in I'm Alright, Jack, Dr Strangelove and, possibly, his playing of Quilty in Lolita. But these are certainly his funniest roles, and the ones for which he'll be most fondly remembered.

To be totally honest, by itself The Pink Panther hasn't stood the test of time too well. It is directed with painful longeurs, the comic zest of some of the later entries in the Panther oeuvre is missing, Sellers hasn't yet fully developed his character and Blake Edwards obviously still thinks the creaking plot is important.

But we're watching the birth of something mad. And alongside Sellers we're also able to enjoy constant appearances by two remarkably beautiful women, Capucine and Claudia Cardinale. Throw in an early appearance by Robert Wagner for good measure and there's something for everyone. And the madcap car chase sequence which closes the movie, with its allusions to silent-film comedy, is still beautifully paced and totally hilarious.

My reference re: David Niven playing the jewel thief and having the role stolen from him isn't exactly original. I read it a few minutes ago, in the optional trivia track subtitle panel which flashes up on request throughout the movie. But it's a good line, so why not re-use it? After all, some of the best gags from The Pink Panther were recycled constantly, to pretty good effect.

  Video
Contract

This is a fair-to-excellent widescreen anamorphic transfer which betrays some print-wear (some minor flecks and transitory scratches) but nothing serious. Colour values are for the most part very natural and well rendered, while night-time scenes, the best test, present good tonal detail.

It is in all probability presented better here than the movie has appeared in any format for about three decades, and it is good enough to suggest that this will remain its top DVD incarnation, with no further improvement until the long-promised industry-standard higher-definition format rolls along.

  Audio
Contract

The basic stereo sound has been reprocessed into Dolby Digital 5.1. It's hard to imagine why this has been done; there seems very little surround work going on and the sound does have a slight cavernous feeling about it which suggests that a more meaty two-track presentation might have been the way to go. But the soundtrack is always up to the task of presenting the famous Mancini music to good effect, as well as delivering crisp and clear dialogue.

  Extras
Contract

Initially available in a set of six discs, most features have been piled onto the final disc. But this initial disc features a good-quality widescreen trailer, with the original part-animated, part-live action montage. It is showing some wear, but is quite clean and exhibits natural unbleached colour.

There is an optional commentary track by director Blake Edwards. He presents quite a good mix of film reportage and personality anecdotes. Unlike at his recent Oscars appearance, he finishes most of his anecdotes. He is prone to long pauses between remembrances, but does eventually wake up and continue on.

And, as mentioned, there is an optional subtitle track which is actually a trivia track. Select this and during the movie pink text panels will alternately pop up on left or right of the screen - in tiny type, sometimes disappearing too fast for quick comprehension (and I'm a speed-reader) - but worth persevering with for the in-depth background they give.

Try listening to Blake and reading the trivia track at the same time - that'll test your two hemispheres!

  Overall  
Contract

Initially available in the box set and for rental, this will eventually be released as a solo movie. But since Sellers fans will have to buy the complete set, there's no real option here.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3901
  • Send to a friend.

    Cast your vote here: You must enable cookies to vote.
  •   
      And I quote...
    "The first Pink Panther flick left a lot of room for development - but it's still fun to get in on the ground floor."
    - Anthony Clarke
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Panasonic A330
    • TV:
          Loewe Profil Plus 3272 68cm
      Recent Reviews:
    by Anthony Clarke

    A Fistful of Dollars (Sony)
    "An essential Spaghetti-Western, given deluxe treatment by MGM."

    Stripes
    "Falls short of being a classic, but it gives us Bill Murray, so it just has to be seen."

    Creature Comforts - Series 1: Vol. 2
    "Delicious comic idea given the right-royal Aardman treatment. "

    The General (Buster Keaton)
    "Forget that this is a silent movie. This 1927 classic has more expression, movement and sheer beauty (along with its comedy) than 99 per cent of films made today."

    Dr Who - Claws Of Axos
    "Is it Worzel Gummidge? No, it's Jon Pertwee in his other great television role, as the good Doctor battling all kinds of evil on our behalf."

      Related Links
      None listed

     

    Search for Title/Actor/Director:
    Google Web dvd.net.au
       Copyright DVDnet. All rights reserved. Site Design by RED 5   
    rss