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 world's worst detective, N.Y.P.D. Sergeant Clifton Sleigh. Sleigh obtusely bungles his way past assassins and corrupt officials as though he were Clouseau's American cousin.Written by
O.K. I know that most people see "Curse of the Pink Panther" as being a pretty weak film. Granted, it is weak compared to the great Panther films (Return, Strikes Again, A Shot in the Dark) and the good Panther films (Revenge, Trail and even Son)but somehow, I liked this better than the initial Panther film. For one thing, it doesn't drag on like the original film (again it could just be me)and give Blake Edwards credit for at least attempting to continue the series.
Looking back at Edwards' previous five films ("10", "S.O.B.", "Victor/Victoria", "Trail of the Pink Panther" and "The Man Who Loved Women"[which I persist in admiring even in the face of universally dismal reviews], I suppose it was a tough act to follow those great films with "Curse" perhaps it was a way to get out of his UA contract so he could make more important films at Columbia (including the great "Micki and Maude", "That's Life", "Blind Date" and "A Fine Mess")
But by all means, Edwards hasn't made a bad picture. "Curse" is very much worth a look, to see how the series might have turned had it not been a DUD at the box office. As for the casting, one might condemn Ted Wass for even attempting to fill the enormous shoes left behind by Sellers, but he gives it a good try and makes his own niche as an entirely different kind of stupid detective. And as usual, Herbert Lom is hilarious as Chief Inspector Dreyfus. He really holds the film together and how he never received an Oscar nomination is beyond my understanding.
If you haven't seen the other Panther films, one might look at "Curse of the Pink Panther" as a very good, even great comedy. However, if you have seen the other films, "Curse" will look tissue thin by comparison. But that didn't stop me from finding much to enjoy in this film. You owe it to yourself to give this a look.
*** out of 4 stars
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