Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) Director: Blake Edwards
After years of declining physical and mental health, as well as a fiery relationship with Director Blake Edwards, the brilliant comedian Peter Sellers returned one final time to reprise his role of the bungling and incompetent Inspector Clouseau. Peter Sellers blamed Blake Edwards for not appropriately directing the previous film. The impetus for the film emerged out of the box office demand for the Pink Panther series.
Once again, the plot does not concern the pink panther diamond. The mafia is after Clouseau so he goes undercover in a variety of ridiculus Godfather-esque costumes. Ignoring the disappearance in the previous film of Dreyfus (played by Herbert Lom) he inexplicably returns. Both the mafia and Dreyfus chase Clouseau until false news is released that Closeau has been killed. In a cruel twist of fate, Dreyfus is re-appointed as Chief Inspector and is asked to speak at Clouseau’s funeral but he passes out and falls into the grave when he spots none other than Clouseau.
While not the best Pink Panther film, there is some terrific, characteristic physical comedy in The Revenge of the Pink Panther. The theme of Clouseau’s death is ironic considering that Peter Sellers died a mere two years after its release (Sellers died in 1980). Sellers was in the midst of crafting another pink panther film called “Romance of the Pink Panther” but it was never created after he died. Remarkably after Revenge of the Pink Panther pink panther films continue to be made into the present-day. The follow-up movie (Trail of the Pink Panther in 1982) was a mash-up movie of unused footage from other pink panther movies featuring Sellers. It is confusing and episodic as an homage to Peter Sellers but is not a particularly remarkable film. Spin-offs continued through the 1980s and 1990s, including a ridiculous performance of Clouseau by Roger Moore, and a movie that features the offspring of Clouseau that is not particularly funny. The series was also rebooted in the 2000s with Steve Martin as the lead but I cannot bring myself to watch them. The two that have been thus far released have been mostly critically panned and there are apparently more pink panther films planned for the future.