DVD Review: Curse of the Pink Panther
By Jeff Swindoll Feb 5, 2006, 20:57 GMT
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, NYPD Sgt. Clifton Sleigh. Sleigh obtusely bungles his way past assassins and corrupt officials as though he were Clouseau\'s American cousin. ...more
To many Panther fans, Curse of the Pink Panther also has the reputation of somewhat of a thorn in the side. With the unfortunate death of star Peter Sellers, it was considered that Clouseau had also gone to the grave.
Instead Blake Edwards attempted to revive the series beginning with Trail of the Pink Panther and continued with this film both being shot back to back.
Trail has an uncanny sense of déjà vu since it used alternate takes and cut scenes of the late Sellers from other Pink Panther films. Curse also has somewhat of the same sense since much of the same cast from Trail is used. In fact, Curse almost plays as a sequel to Trail.
The Pink Panther diamond is stolen once again and Inspector Jaques Clouseau, correction Chief Inspector, is hot on the trail. During the course of his investigation he mysteriously vanishes. The French government desperately wants to find out what has happened to France’s greatest detective. Chief Inspector Dreyfus is put in charge of the investigation. Not wanting to actually find Clouseau, Dreyfus has the computer programmed to find the world’s greatest detective hacked to find the complete opposite. That detective is New York’s worst, Clifton Sleigh (played by Ted Wass). Things do not go Dreyfus’ way as Sleigh turns out to be just as much a thorn in his side as Clouseau ever was.
David Niven, Robert Wagner, and Capucine reprise their roles from the original Pink Panther both in Curse and Trail. Regulars Herbert Lom and Burk Kwouk also reprise their Panther roles. Many of the Trail cast are also present either in the same roles or playing different characters.
Panther musical veteran Henry Manicini also contributes the score. Robert Loggia also appears reprising his gangster role from Trail (though not the same gangster he played in Revenge of the Pink Panther). Joanna Lumley, another holdover from Trail, appears in a different role in Curse.
I can’t truly say that I hate Curse. The problem lies in the fact that Peter Sellers’ shoes are so hard to fill because Sellers was so identified with the bumbling Chief Inspector. Curse has several great moments of slapstick, the adventure of the instant companion and the final resolution of what actually happened to the missing Inspector Clouseau. I guess it can’t be too much of a spoiler since it appears on the back of the packaging, but Clouseau is played by Roger Moore (billed as Turk Thrust II in the closing credits) since Clouseau had plastic surgery and chose Moore’s countenance to replace his own.
Moore’s performance is the highlight of the picture. Another problem is that David Niven was literally on his last legs and this turned out to be his last film. He was dubbed by Rich Little and when his vocals are heard without Niven being onscreen the results are passable. However, when Niven is in scene it sounds more like Rich Little and not Niven in my opinion. My opinion being that Little was trying to hard to fit Niven’s lip movements and ends up losing the impersonation. Another problem is that at nearly two hours, the movie could have about 20 minutes of extraneous material cut and might’ve played better.
Curse is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs. This may be the first time that is has been presented in it’s original aspect ratio since I do not recall it being so on laserdisc or VHS.
For being so badly looked upon on the Panther canon, I’m happy to report that the quality of the video is very good. The only extras present are the film’s theatrical trailer, a trailer for the Pink Panther film collection, and a MGM promotional trailer.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has also released several other Pink Panther treats in time to get fans ready for the Steve Martin led remake that is about to hit the big screen.
They include the Pink Panther Gift Set which includes the never-before-released Son of the Pink Panther. In addition, the set includes The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Trail of the Pink Panther, and the Curse of the Pink Panther. These titles are also available individually. The set has several special features including two features and six original cartoons.
The series of animation shorts, which were created between 1964 and 1980, grew out of the Academy Award-winning cartoon The Pink Phink. The set includes two special featurettes; a “Learn to Draw The Pink Panther” featurette; storyboard to screen comparisons; and original theatrical animated openings.