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The Trail of the Pink Panther

MGM/MGM Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . G . PAL


"In a comedy, if it's not funny, it's not good. And it's just that simple."

Those words came from respected comedy director and creator of the Pink Panther series, Blake Edwards. He was speaking about film-making, at the time of the launch of the penultimate Panther movie, Revenge of the Pink Panther. Pity he didn't remember those words four years later.

That was when, two years after Peter Sellers had died, Blake Edwards decided to launch onto a not exactly anxiously waiting world a final instalment in the Pink Panther film cycle, On the Trail of the Pink Panther, a film cobbled together with some new but unused Sellers gag-clips, some old and used clips thought worth recycling, and new footage using Joanna Lumley as a television reporter on the trail of the missing Chief Inspector Clouseau.

She interviews people from his past and present. Herbert Lom is omnipresent, in overworked and heavily padded scenes, even a very aged David Niven is resurrected from the first Panther movie.

While some of the previously unseen Sellers gags are great, the rest is pitiful. It's about 20 per cent of a movie. It could have been a fine half-hour tribute wrap-up to a great actor. As it is, it tries to walk a tightrope between affection and exploitation - and it fails.


This montage of new and old scenes presents a bit of a problem in giving us a unified screen appearance, but the anamorphic widescreen presentation is probably the best this material could deserve. Quality varies from scene to scene depending on source, but the new material is invariably excellent.


Sound levels on the new Dolby Digital 5.1 surround layer are well-matched from the different sources, without too great a contrast between new and old footage. Dialogue is clear and music adequate. The mixed nature of the footage means the overall effect is not as strong as in the previous movies in the series, but it's good enough for this material.


There is a very routine non-anamorphic trailer in fair condition, which has nothing going for it at all creatively.


This is of value only as part of the complete Pink Panther movie set. Don't even think of renting it separately.

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      And I quote...
    "The final Pink Panther movie was made two years after its star, Peter Sellers, had died - and it smells like it."
    - Anthony Clarke
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