Return of the Pink Panther

If you’re only going to watch one Pink Panther movie, this is the one I’d recommend. You get more of Peter Sellers than in the original installment, Chief Inspector Dreyfus’s tics and twitches are at just the right calibration, and Cato has really hit his stride.

There’s the usual slapstick, with perhaps a tad too many pairs of pants getting ripped, but the bit with the lightbulb popping up in the Swiss hotel room, and the scene where Clouseau and the bellboy are hiding in the sauna are nicely done. You also get Clouseau saying “minkey,” “phoehn,” and “rheume.”

But the best part’s the costumes. Peter Sellers’s Englishman’s parody of a Frenchman was never better than the telephone repairman, complete with goatee and espadrilles in his ticky tacky truck. The bumbling cleaner who vacuums up a parrot: we see it coming quite a ways off. It’s still hilarious.Lounge Lizard 2 And nothing tops the swinger putting the make on the suspect’s wife in the hotel bar.

Christopher Plummer doesn’t have much to do as the presumed jewel thief. He’s not as suave as David Niven, who played Sir Charles Lytton the first time around. There are a few nice touches in the scenes he’s in, like having  the theme from Casablanca playing on the piano when he arrives in the fancy hotel in Lugash (the scene was filmed in Morocco) and giving him characters reminiscent of Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet to play against when he is there.

Oh, and you get the pink panther animation over the titles, along with the Henry Mancini score. What’s not to like?

2 thoughts on “Return of the Pink Panther

  1. First, a note from your friendly neighborhood copy editor. “Putting the moves on” someone is a familiar expression, but I’m unsure about “putting the makes on.”

    I agree that the costumes are great fun, and so are the pronunciations of “minkey,” “phoehn,” “rheume,” and the like. The movie is a tonic. Maybe I should keep a copy around for times when the world begins to wear. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Hmmm, I thought I fixed that.

      I thoroughly recommend it as a pick-me-up. Along with Singing in the Rain, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Ninotchka or, if you go in for the “hair-of-the-dog” approach and would prefer to wallow in your sorrow, there’s always Judy Garland in A Star is Born.

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