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To prove that he still is strong and powerful, Philippe Douvier decides to kill Clouseau. Once news of his "death" has been announced, Clouseau tries to take advantage of it and goes undercover with Cato to find out who tried to kill him.
The bumbling Inspector Clouseau travels to Rome to catch a notorious jewel thief known as "The Phantom" before he conducts his most daring heist yet: a princess' priceless diamond with one slight imperfection, known as "The Pink Panther".
Inspector Clouseau disappears, and the Surete wants the world's second best detective to look for him. However, Clouseau's enemy, Dreyfus, rigs the Surete's computer to select, instead, the... See full summary »
Charles Dreyfus escapes from the mental asylum and tries to kill Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau. He doesn't succeed at first, so he takes on another strategy, namely to build a Doomsday machine and demand that someone else kills Jacques Clouseau, or Dreyfus will use the machine to wipe out whole cities and even whole countries... With about 22 assassins from all over the globe on his tail, Clouseau decides to find Dreyfus alone and put him back in the mental asylum.Written by
Lars J. Aas <email@example.com>
This was the fourth movie in the Pink Panther franchise and, despite the title, the titular diamond that was the namesake of the original and The Return of has nothing to do with this entry. By now, Pink Panther had come to mean not gimmick for the sake of a comedy plot, but the world of the wonderfully inept Inspector Clouseau, and a vibrant brand of latter-day screen slapstick.
One of the most consistently brilliant elements of the earlier pictures was Clouseau's relationship with the increasingly demented Dreyfuss. For The Pink Panther Strikes Again, this relationship becomes the central premise of the whole movie. As such the scope is there for more-or-less continuous comedy with very little else to complicate it. Apart from, that is, a James Bond spoof slant, with Dreyfuss taking on the role of the eccentric super villain. This in turn allows for some large-scale actiony gags, reminiscent of the wilder escapades of silent comics Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd. Peter Sellers's stunt double Joe Dunne received a lot of work here.
This also allows for a greater part to be taken in comic staging by director Blake Edwards. A Shot in the Dark was nearly all Sellers, and that was very good in its way, but for Strikes Again we really get to see Edwards's outsize and somewhat surreal comic creations at their most unbridled, from the perfectly-timed three way fight between Clouseau, Cato and Dreyfuss to Clouseau's bungled attempts to get into Dreyfuss's castle. But Edwards still has a way with the smaller comedy confection, as usual his trademark tactic being to make almost everything invisible to the audience, showing just enough to make a gag work. For example, there is a very funny set-up in a public toilet where we only see the feet at the bottom of the cubicles.
There's a lot of verbal comedy too in the Blake Edwards/Frank Waldman screenplay, which is of a middling quality and gets a little tiresome at times. But as we see for example in the scene where Sellers interrogates the professor's house staff, Sellers and Edwards have brilliant timing in punctuating a talky scene with physical gags. Occasionally the humour gets just a little too silly, and there are a lot of clichés – such as the "that is not my dog" line, which I'm sure predates this movie, and the stepping-on-a-rake gag, which predates cinema.
But perhaps this latter is a deliberate tribute to the staples of slapstick. It becomes apparent, as Clouseau inadvertently survives numerous assassination attempts, that he succeeds purely by virtue of the fact that he is a slapstick hero and a wake of chaos must follow him wherever he goes. It is a kind of meta-comedy. And herein lies one of the slightly disappointing things about this movie. Often Clouseau is saved, not directly by his incompetence, but by sheer luck. When a giant pretzel stops him getting skewered by a killer disguised as a buxom wench, it is funny, but it is not really a Clouseau gag. It seems, with Sellers's lessening interest in the franchise (not to mention the heart condition which kept the aforementioned Mr Dunne employed), that perhaps the character around whom the whole thing revolved was beginning to be watered down.
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