The funniest "Panther"
Reviewer | 01/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The inimitable Peter Sellers strikes again as Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau, in this fourth installment of the classic "Pink Panther" series, "The Pink Panther Strikes Again," directed by Blake Edwards. Given the fact that the assessment of comedy is intrinsically subjective, this film is arguably laugh for laugh and sight gag for sight gag the funniest of the five (followed closely by the second of the series, the hilarious farce, "A Shot In The Dark). In this one, former Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is about to be released from the mental hospital-- in which he has resided since being driven crazy by Clouseau-- when on the very afternoon of his hearing he is visited by none other than Clouseau himself, who has come to speak on behalf of his former boss. Suffice to say that by the time Clouseau is through "helping," he is driven from the premises by the relapsed, raving madman, Dreyfus. And it's only the beginning of the inept French Inspector's antics that, before it is over, will include a trip to the Ocktoberfest, encounters with a dozen hit-men from around the world, a beautiful Russian spy named Olga (Lesley-Anne Down), a surprise Egyptian spy (who will remain nameless) and a one-man assault on a castle. As Laurel and Hardy proved so many times before, for every action there is a reaction; a theorem of which proof is unequivocally provided here by the relationship between Sellers and Lom. This was the film in which Edwards and his stars not only further devised, but honed to perfection, their foolproof formula for laughs: After the "first wave" of hilarity provided by Sellers, it is followed up-- in just enough instances to be totally effective-- by Lom's reaction to 1.) Sellers directly (as in the first, classic scene at the mental hospital), or 2.) Lom's reaction to Seller's antics as they are related to him by a third party. It's a one-two punch that never fails and which, in effect, derives twice the fun from a single gag. And it's brilliant. But at the end of the day, it must be noted that there is one element above all else that accounts for the success of this film, and that, of course, is the Man himself, Peter Sellers. Sellers must be regarded as-- if not "the," then at least one of the-- funniest actors ever to grace the silver screen. There was no end to the ways he could make you laugh; from the subtlest expression-- an eye averted or perhaps the slight raising of an eyebrow-- to the broadest slapstick, it was all within his personal domain, and he was the Master. Physically, practically all he had to do to get a laugh was show up; consider the scene in which he arrives at the hospital to visit Dreyfus: As he saunters across the lawn of the vast grounds surrounding the buildings, a croquet mallet and ball lying to one side catches his eye; there is just the slightest hesitation in his step, the subtlest change of expression in his eyes and the merest inclination of the head. And there, in that briefest of moments upon the screen, you know-- beyond the shadow of a doubt-- what is about to transpire. And you're right; a moment later Clouseau has the mallet in his hand and his foot on the ball, and even as it's happening-- just as you knew it would in that split second before it did-- he has you on the floor laughing. That was the gift-- and the genius-- of Peter Sellers. Was every film he made a classic? A great film? Of course not; but you would be hard put to find a single performance of his, even in a bad film (Like 1970's "There's A Girl In My Soup"), that did not embody that unique spark that defined him. It was certainly alive in his portrayal of Clouseau (possibly the definitive Seller's character), and in retrospect, what a shame it seems that there were only five "Panther" movies ever made. But so it is, and shall ever be. The supporting cast includes Burt Kwouk (as the ever faithful and attacking manservant, Cato), Andre Maranne (Francois), Colin Blakely (Alec Drummond), Leonard Rossiter (Inspector Quinlan), Richard Vernon (Dr. Fassbender), Briony McRoberts (Margo) and Michael Robbins (Jarvis). A funny movie that showcases one of Cinema's truly unique and funny actors, "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" is a side-splitting, fun movie you can watch over and over and never grow tired of. The best of the series, it stands as a glowing tribute to the comedic genius of Peter Sellers."
Pink Panther in pure James Bond territory - a laugh-fest
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 04/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It should really come as no surprise to anyone that my favorite of the Pink Panther movies is the 1976 laugh-out-loud fest THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN. I am a big fan of the James Bond movies and here we have the Pink Panther at its most James Bond-ish with a madman holding the world to ransom from his atop his remote secret lair. I am also a huge Lesley-Anne Down fan (see my review of 1981's SPHINX) and she appears here as a Russian secret agent.
There really is no unfunny sequences in this movie and Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau is in top form.
Returning as Clouseau's tortured superior Dreyfus is the always excellent Herbert Lom who, after having failed to eliminate Clouseau himself decides to kidnap a scientist, build a super weapon and have the rest of the world send their best assassins to kill the hapless Inspector. Of course things do not go according to plan for the villain and through luck, timing and happenstance a myriad of agents fail as the oblivious Clouseau wanders through the scenes.
One of my favorite scenes is the attempt by Clouseau to interrogate the staff of an English manor following the kidnapping of the professor. Just check out a couple of the exchanges, all handled expertly by Sellars.
Shawk: I'm Shawk trhe gardener
Clouseau: And what is it that you do?
Shawk: I'm the gardener!
Clouseau: Why didn't you say that in the first place?
Shawk: I did
Clouseau: Look, don't try to get funny with me!
LATER IN THE SCENE
Clouseau: Look, what was your name?
Couseau: The cook!
Shawk: The gardener
Clouseau: Arrrr.....now we are getting somewhere!
(After smashing a piano in a vain attempt to kill a bee)
Housekeeper: But that was a priceless Steinway.
Clouseau: Not anymore!
It's pure classic Pink Panther humor, and it's even more heightened by the very funny physical humor that Sellars mastered better than anyone (check out the scene on the parrallel bars for example) Overall this movie is very easy to recommend. If you want a couple of hours of some of the best comedy evern committed to celluloid you should pick this up."
This is a must for you movie collection!
Per Johan Hartviksen | Tolga, Norway | 10/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Dreyfus, Clouseau's old boss, has gone mad and wants to destroy the world with his X-ray machine in this movie. Our only hope is the incompetent chiefinspector, Jaques Clouseau, played by the comic genious Peter Sellers (1925-1980, died of a heart attack). Are you looking for the best classical Clouseau-scenes? This one includes the non-biting dog (really?), the inspector as a tooth-pulling dentist in disguise, and his attempt to get over a moat! As in the other Pink Panther films, this too hasn't got a really credible and reliable story, but that's just a part of all the fun. Watch it over and over again, and notice all the funny details and mistakes Clouseau makes. This is the best Pink Panther movie, no doubt about it! You MUST get this one in your collection!"