The Pink Panther (1964) | A Shot In The Dark | Inspector Clouseau
The Return of the Pink Panther | The Pink Panther Strikes Again | Revenge of the Pink Panther
Trail of the Pink Panther | Curse of the Pink Panther | Son of the Pink Panther
I have always failed where others have succeeded.
- Inspector Clouseau
Three years after being committed to a psychiatric hospital, Dreyfus seems completely cured. However within minutes of being visited by Clouseau his insanity returns and once again he is determined to kill him. Dreyfus escapes, recruits the world's greatest criminals and sets up an evil organisation dedicated to destroying Clouseau. After stealing a vast fortune he kidnaps Professor Fassbender, a scientist who has discovered a potential weapon. Dreyfus tortures Fassbender's daughter, forcing him to construct the doomsday machine.
Clouseau is sent to England where he helps Scotland Yard investigate the kidnapping. The only witness is Jarvis, the butler, who also doubles as a singer in the Queen of Hearts club. Sadly Jarvis is killed, but not before Clouseau discovers a clue leading him to Munich.
With the Doomsday Weapon complete, rather than using it to kill Clouseau directly, Dreyfus threatens the world with a terrible ultimatum; kill Clouseau or else. Dreyfus demonstrates his power by hijacking the world's television broadcasting networks and by making the UN Building disappear. The President of America is furious, calling the CIA, FBI and the Pentagon, determined to find out who won the game of American Football he had been watching before Dreyfus rudely interrupted.
Meanwhile, the world's greatest assassins converge on Munich and, due to Clouseau's luck, end up assassinating each other. Only the Egyptian and Russian assassin remain while Tournier, a member of Dreyfus' organisation, disguises himself as Clouseau to gain entry to his hotel room and kill Clouseau himself. The Egyptian assassin kills Tournier, thinking he is Clouseau, before seducing Olga the Russian assassin by impersonating Clouseau in a dark room. Olga then falls in love with the man who she believes to be Clouseau, and helps him identify the tattoo on Tournier's body that had led Clouseau to Dreyfus' headquarters in the gothic Mondschein Castle.
Will Clouseau be able to assault Mondschein Castle, rescue Professor Fassbender and his daughter, prevent Dreyfus from destroying England and serenade the beautiful Olga in peace and quiet?
Characters and actors in bold appeared in other films in the series.
|Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau||Peter Sellers|
|Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus||Herbert Lom|
|Olga Berriossiva||Lesley-Anne Down|
|Cato Fong||Burt Kwouk|
|Sergeant François Chevalier||André Maranne|
|Section Director Alex Drummond||Colin Blakely|
|Superintendent Quinlan||Leonard Rossiter|
|Hugh McClaren||Dudley Sutton|
|President of America||Dick Crockett|
|American Admiral||Robert Beatty|
|American Secretary of State||Byron Kane|
|Professor Hugo Fassbender||Richard Vernon|
|Margo Fassbender||Briony McRoberts|
|Jean Tournier the Bank Robber||John Sullivan|
|Munich & Alpenros Hotel Clerks||Graham Stark|
|Incomparable Ainsley Jarvis, the Butler||Michael Robbins1|
|Mrs Leverlilly||Vanda Godsell|
|Doctor Duval||Geoffrey Bayldon|
|Egyptian Assassin||Omar Sharif|
|Italian Assassin||Deep Roy|
|Norwegian Assassin||Herb 'Sado' Tanney|
This film has the largest cast of any Pink Panther film, reflecting its international setting. Key scenes occur in France, England, Munich and even in The White House, America. The White House scenes have no impact on the rest of the film; however the characters of the President and Secretary of State are clearly based on Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger for great comic effect.
Lesley-Anne Down appears only in two scenes as Russian assassin Olga Berriossiva. At the time she was best known for being in the film Pope Joan and in the television series Upstairs, Downstairs. In 1986 she would win a Golden Globe for her role in North and South.
Colin Blakely had previously played Doctor Watson in The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, a similar role to his performance in The Pink Panther Strikes Again. Leonard Rossiter was best known for his starring role in television comedies Rising Damp and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, although he had also appeared in 2001: A Space Odyssey (as a Russian). Robert Beatty would later be demoted from admiral to tanker captain for Superman III before himself playing the US President in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
Richard Vernon was an actor who had appeared in films such as Goldfinger and A Hard Day's Night, and was Slartibartfast in both the radio and television series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. John Sullivan, who played Tournier, was an experienced stuntman and the film's stunt arranger, having previously worked on Zulu and would later work on Moonraker. Michael Robbins was best known for the On the Buses sitcom and films.
John Clive, who plays Chuck, the Queen of Hearts club's Maitre d', had previously been John Lennon in Yellow Submarine, and had appeared in The Italian Job, A Clockwork Orange and three Carry On films. He would later return in Revenge of the Pink Panther.
Geoffrey Bayldon had appeared in numerous films, and had been Q in Peter Sellers's mock Bond film, Casino Royale. Omar Sharif plays a brief cameo appearance, having previously appeared in Blake Edwards' The Tamarind Seed2. This was Deep Roy's first film role – he would later go on to play a raft of curious characters including Droopy McCool in Return of the Jedi, Teeny Weeny in The NeverEnding Story, all the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Keenser in Star Trek (2009).
Dick Crockett, who played the American President, was a friend of Blake Edwards. He started his career as a stunt man, including for William Shatner in an episode of Star Trek. He worked with Blake Edwards on many of his films, first as a stunt man, then as a stunt co-ordinator, becoming an associate producer for films including The Pink Panther. Blake Edwards' film 10 is dedicated to him. Another friend of Edwards was Vanda Godsell, who appears as Mrs Leverlilly. She had played a similar role in A Shot in the Dark. Peter Sellers' close friend from his RAF days, Graham Stark, returns, playing the hotel clerk whose dog does not bite. Similarly, Blake Edwards' friend Herb Tanney returns to have a minor role, this time under the name 'Sado'.
According to Michael Sellers in his biography of his father PS I Love You, Peter's eldest daughter also briefly appears in a non-speaking role:
'Sarah [Sellers] was not smitten with show business. She... was seen as a fairground booth attendant.'
The Making of The Pink Panther Strikes Again
After the phenomenal success of The Return of the Pink Panther, United Artists quickly commissioned a sequel from writer Frank Waldman. Waldman already had a sequel in mind, which was drafted when the The Return of the Pink Panther project was going to be a long 26-episode television series, and was to follow on from that project.
Peter Sellers had had a heart attack shortly after finishing The Return of the Pink Panther; however after years of failure, he refused to let his ailing health prevent him from being successful again. Scenes involving physical comedy on the part of Inspector Clouseau were performed by his stunt-double, Joe Donne. This is why whenever Clouseau falls into a moat or engages in other physical activity, it is always seen in long-shot.
This was the third comedy detective role that Sellers had played in a row, having been in spoof detective film Murder by Death alongside David Niven following The Return of the Pink Panther. By the middle of the filming his initial enthusiasm began to wane, and he became involved in a battle for control of the film with director Blake Edwards, who would write:
This one is harder for me than Return of the Pink Panther was. That was a kind of lark. This one is a real chore. When I'm being commercial, not to put down being commercial, it's harder to generate the same kind of madness and spontaneity.
Sellers ad libbed and contributed idea after idea until the original version of the film was 124 minutes long. The film was cut down by over 20 minutes for its cinematic release, deleting entire sequences, such as Professor Balls' first appearance. Peter Sellers, at the end of the film, was disappointed by the fact that these scenes were cut, and once again fell out with Blake Edwards. Co-star Herbert Lom described this for the BBC documentary The Peter Sellers Story with the words:
When they were not on speaking terms Blake would say to his assistant "Would you tell Mr Sellers I want him to come down the stairs and sit at that table over there" and the messenger would go to Peter, and Peter's assistant would then say "Mr Sellers doesn't want to come down there, he wants to sit over there" and so on. And we used to stand there, the other actors, looking up at the ceiling, wondering what it would all lead to.
Blake showed me telegrams he had received; "You are a rotten human being", "I don't need you to get work, love Peter".
Sellers would later lose interest entirely in the film, preferring to be silly and set up practical jokes. Lesley-Anne Down would later say:
There would be at least an hour of doing absolutely nothing that was to do with the script or the scene, indeed, and it would just be Peter being very silly and little by little we would start working on an idea or a line and it would just be one shot and very often that's all we would get in a day, we would get one shot. A film which had a schedule of 11 or 12 weeks ended up taking 20 weeks to do.
Michael Sellers agreed with Lesley-Anne Down's description of his father as being more interested in practical jokes than the finished film. He described the recording of the classic 'Does your dog bite' scene in PS I Love You with the words:
Graham Stark was always a victim for film set pranks. On [The Pink Panther Strikes Again] scenes were deliberately halted so that Graham would have to refill his pipe. Tobacco was replaced by marijuana and Graham was stoned out of his mind at the end of the day's filming and unable to fathom out why the morning after.
Like The Return of the Pink Panther, the film made over $100 million.
This film's original cut was 20 minutes longer than the version released in cinemas, and included many scenes excised from the finished film. These included the first scene after the credits where Clouseau visits Professor Balls for the first time and buys his disguise, ripping his bag of shopping on the way home. Another scene excised was Clouseau's journey from Paris to London, much of which actually appeared in the film's trailer despite not actually being in the film itself. This particular scene has Clouseau assuming that Alex Drummond's name is Scotland Yard, and without it a scene included in the film where Clouseau calls him Yard does not make sense. These scenes were later used in Trail of the Pink Panther.
Henry Mancini returned to form for the film's soundtrack. As the character of the Phantom does not appear in the film, the only time that the Pink Panther theme is heard is over the credits, interspersed with snatches from famous film themes over the years. Instead of the Pink Panther theme, a new tune written for this film, 'The Inspector Clouseau Theme' is heard at times of Clouseau clumsiness.
There are two songs written for this film, with lyrics by Don Black and Mancini providing the melody. The first, 'Until You Love Me', is sung by the character of the Incomparable Ainsley Jarvis in Gay club 'Queen of Hearts', with the singing voice reported to be Mrs Blake Edwards, Julie Andrews herself. This is a quiet, romantic song. The second song, 'Come To Me', is much better and, sung by Sir Tom Jones, would receive an Oscar nomination in 1977. However, the Oscar went to Barbra Streisand for 'Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)'.
A soundtrack album was released for this film. It contained the songs:
- 'Main Title From The Pink Panther Strikes Again/The Pink Panther Theme'
- 'The Inspector Clouseau Theme'
- 'The Great Quasimodo Disguise'
- 'Bier Fest Polka'
- 'Come to Me' (Instrumental)
- 'Until You Love Me'
- 'Come to Me '
- 'Along Came Omar'
- 'Until You Love Me' (Instrumental)
- 'The Inspector Clouseau Theme' (Reprise)
- 'The Evil Theme'
- 'Exodus from the Castle'
- 'The Plan/The Snatch'
- 'Until You Love Me' (Alternate Instrumental Version)
- 'The Doomsday Machine'
- 'Organ Interlude by the Ex-Chief Inspector Dreyfus'
- 'End Credits'
This film is the Pink Panther series at its most creative. Herbert Lom as Dreyfus is allowed to get out of his office and roam free, becoming an excellent and entertaining villain. The Pink Panther Strikes Again is the first film with 'Pink Panther' in the title not to feature the diamond.
Appropriately enough, the film credits are played in a cinema as the film itself is a homage to cinema. In many ways it is a cross between James Bond films, Dr Strangelove, and two classics set in France, Phantom of the Opera and Hunchback of Notre Dame. The insane, cackling Dreyfus, living in his gothic castle, playing the organ, essentially transforms into the Phantom of the Opera. Herbert Lom had played that role in Hammer's 1962 film version. Clouseau disguises himself as Quasimodo the Hunchback, and is actually seen floating past Notre Dame while the bells ring after an explosion in his flat. Curiously, Lesley-Anne Down would later play Esmerelda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1982. The name Dr Fassbender itself comes from Sellers' character in What's New, Pussycat? while the kidnapped scientist and daughter plot is similar to The Mouse that Roared.
Like Dr Strangelove, the film talks of a Doomsday Machine, with Herbert Lom's Dreyfus physically resembling the Russian ambassador who informs the President of the Russian doomsday machine in that film. There is a similar presentation of the American President too, who is portrayed as a man more interested in supporting his team, Michigan, and having an American Football bedside lamp and a Michigan duvet set, than he is in world events, such as the destruction of the UN Building through Dreyfus' use of Fassbender's device, known as 'Operation Looking Glass'.
By far the biggest influence is James Bond. One of the assassins has a shoe-knife like From Russia with Love's villain, Rosa Klebb. 'Clouseau' also seduces a Russian agent, just as Bond does with Tatiana Romanova in the same film. Many of the cast, including Burt Kwouk and Richard Vernon, had been in Goldfinger, a film which features a giant laser. The previous Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun also featured a laser. The Pink Panther laser design has been increased to maximum to create Dreyfus's phallic super-weapon. Tom Jones, the singer who sang 'Thunderball', has been brought in to sing the film's main song, 'Come to Me'. Peter Sellers was an actor obsessed with the character of Bond. When approached for the role for Casino Royale in 1964 he hired a work-out expert and began a rigorous body-building campaign, which is believed to have contributed to his heart attacks.
In fact, the film anticipates the direction that Bond films were going. The next two Bond films to be released following The Pink Panther Strikes Again, The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker, would feature crazy rich men living in their own fortresses, whether beneath the sea or in space, plotting to destroy the world either with nuclear submarines or toxic space orchids. Dreyfus's doomsday machine, in comparison, is not that far fetched. As with both those Bond films, The Pink Panther Strikes Again ends with the villain's lair exploding and the hero getting into bed with the girl, only with a twist.
Other influences include previous Pink Panther films. With Dreyfus now the villain for this film, a new set of detectives to play the roles vacated by Dreyfus and François are introduced: Superintendent Quinlan and Section Director Alex Drummond. As the film progresses they become more and more like their French equivalents. It is a pity that Inspector Clouseau's Commissioner Sir Charles Braithwaite does not return, as in many ways the Panther film that this most closely resembles is Inspector Clouseau, also written by Frank Waldman, this time done correctly. Like Inspector Clouseau, Clouseau goes to London to help Scotland Yard solve a crime. Again, criminals escape from prisons and form an international crime organisation where the criminals adopt an identifying tattoo. Clouseau, too, is seduced by an international agent, although instead of a member of Interpol as in Inspector Clouseau, here Olga is a Russian assassin. In Inspector Clouseau, Clouseau dodges criminal killers while the body count unintentionally rises around him; here he faces international assassins with the same result.
There are some weaker areas. The gay club 'Queen of Hearts' seems to be populated by every conceivable stereotype. Although the film stays 'stereotyped' rather than 'offensive', the principal character, Jarvis, is killed in the film; Clouseau does at least visibly mourn his death afterwards. The film opens with Dreyfus falling in a river and becoming insane, and ends with Clouseau falling in a river, and literally being in Seine. However, the jokes work well, even the expected ones such as the attack of Cato. Viewers watching the sequence expect to see Cato attack, after waiting for an attack that seemingly is not going to come the audience begins to feel they have been fooled and it is not going to occur, and it is at that precise moment that the attack comes. Priceless.
Best of all, for the first time, Clouseau actually manages to solve the case. He tracks Dreyfus to Mondschein Castle, saves the world, rescues the kidnapped professor and his daughter, and gets the girl (well, almost - three out of four isn't bad).
This film influenced many later outings, especially Austin Powers3 – played by Mike Myers, an actor capable of playing many characters in the same film, much akin to Peter Sellers. In The Pink Panther Strikes Again, one of the assassins is a barmaid with weapons hidden in 'her' fake bosom, similar to how Austin Powers' fembots have machine-guns in their breasts4. In Austin Powers The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin seduces a Russian female fur-wearing assassin, Miss Humpalot, sent to kill him. Like The Pink Panther Strikes Again, it also features a giant laser weapon and a portrays the American President as being a little foolish. Mike Myers has admitted that he grew up watching Peter Sellers films with his father.
Blake Edwards would return to the theme of a woman impersonator singing in a club featuring his wife Julie Andrews in his film Victor/Victoria, which would also feature Graham Stark.
Animated Credit Sequence
The opening credits take place with the Inspector character stalking the panther inside a cinema, where the opening credits for The Return of the Pink Panther had left off. The Panther impersonates many stars of the stage and screen, including Alfred Hitchcock, Batman, King Kong, Blake Edwards' wife Julie Andrews from The Sound of Music, Dracula, Gene Kelly in Singing in the Rain, Buster Keaton, and Shirley MacLaine doing 'Hey Big Spender' from Sweet Charity, while being chased by the Inspector, who becomes trapped in the screen.
The end credits show the Inspector swimming in the Seine, stalked by the Panther à la Jaws.
As with The Return of the Pink Panther, the animation was by Richard Williams Studios as DePatie-Freleng Enterprises were concentrating on making the Pink Panther cartoons.
Connections with other films
All films in the series feature disguises:
- Clouseau gets a Quasimodo from Balls, complete with helium hump. An explosion makes him float past the Notre Dame cathedral.
- Dreyfus disguises his voice as Claude Duval to keep Clouseau in place for an explosion.
- The international assassins adopt various disguises.
- The Egyptian assassin disguises himself as Clouseau by singing 'Thank Heavens for Little Girls'
- Tournier disguises himself as Clouseau and is killed by the Egyptian assassin.
- Clouseau disguises himself as Professor Guy Gadbois, Mediæval Castle expert.
- Clouseau disguises himself as dentist Doctor Schirtz, looking remarkably like Einstein.
- Just as in The Pink Panther, Clouseau dresses as a knight in armour.
- Clouseau Clumsiness:
- Clouseau rips his trousers unlocking a door with a key on a string, similar to in A Shot in the Dark.
- Clouseau walks into a closet rather than through a door.
- Clouseau stands on the toes of the Fassbender housekeeper, just as he did in A Shot in the Dark.
- Clouseau falls down the stairs from the Gymnasium Rheum.
- Clouseau breaks a suit of armour.
- Clouseau traps his hand in a gauntlet attached to a mace.
- Clouseau heats his gauntlet in a fire.
- Clouseau shoots Superintendent Quinlan in the bottom with a shotgun while attempting to salute with a vase of flowers.
- Dreadful Dreyfus:
Unlike previous films featuring Dreyfus, Dreyfus is not accident prone. However:
- Dreyfus is visited by Clouseau, who unleashes several accidents on Dreyfus.
- Clouseau, when disguised as a dentist, pulls out one of Dreyfus's teeth.
- The parrot in Queen of Hearts defecates on Clouseau. He was defecated on by a crow in A Shot in the Dark and a parrot in The Return of the Pink Panther.
- Clouseau is arrested yet again, this time in a police raid during a fight in gay club Queen of Hearts.
- Inspector Clouseau again fails to consummate his passion in bed due to being interrupted by Cato, something first experienced in A Shot in the Dark.
- Inspector Clouseau falls into the moat of Mondschein Castle.
- Inspector Clouseau, his lover Olga, and Cato all fall into the Seine as the film ends.
- Just as in The Return of the Pink Panther, Clouseau carries a baguette to his apartment and gets a funny look from the lady across the corridor.
- Inspector Clouseau destroys his third musical instrument, by attempting to swat a bee and instead smashing a priceless Steinway. But how does a blemish on the furniture compare to the crime that had taken place in the Fassbender house?
- Bathtime: again, baths feature. Hugo Fassbender is kidnapped in his bath and Tournier the bank robber is discovered dead in Clouseau's Munich hotel room bath.
- Again, Cato and Clouseau have a fight, some of which takes place in slow motion. Once again the fight ends with a phone call.
- Cato is again bombed, and sent into hospital for the third time.
A novelisation by Frank Waldman was published in 1976. It is 144 pages and 24 chapters long. This contains many of the scenes deleted from the film, including Clouseau's visit to Professor Balls and his journey to London. In the novelisation, the evaporation of the UN Building leaves a dog's front half vanished, with his rear still visible and alive. Instead of the Egyptian assassin, it is an American agent called 'Chuck'5 code-named 'Big Fella' who seduces the Russian assassin, now renamed from Olga to Lena. Charles Dreyfus is also renamed John.
The ending is also slightly different. In the novelisation, special task forces from all around the world converge on Mondschien Castle in order to capture the Doomsday Machine while the castle explodes, vanishing not only Dreyfus but also Professor Fassbender. The last chapter is set in a different galaxy and a different dimension, where the vanished Dreyfus, Professor Fassbender and half a dog live in the UN Building.
The Pink Panther (1964) | A Shot In The Dark | Inspector Clouseau
The Return of the Pink Panther | The Pink Panther Strikes Again | Revenge of the Pink Panther
Trail of the Pink Panther | Curse of the Pink Panther | Son of the Pink Panther