The Pink Panther |
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
'Sometimes if you do something long enough you miss it, even if it was painful.'
Is there one?
In Lugash, the Pink Panther is once again stolen1. Inspector Clouseau is asked to investigate, and he immediately travels to England to visit his prime suspect, Sir Charles Lytton, who in fact lives in the South of France. However former General and now President Haleesh of Lugash is pleased with the $12 million dollars insurance he has received since the theft of the jewel and his friend the Colonel plots to kill Clouseau. Clouseau catches a plane to Lugash but it never arrives.
Journalist Maria Jouvet decides to investigate Clouseau's disappearance. Most journalists would probably either join the air/sea search party looking for the missing aircraft and its black box, talk to the Air Traffic Controllers who monitored the plane crash on their radar screens, head to London to interview the people who last saw Clouseau alive and tended the aircraft before its final flight or investigate the theft of the Pink Panther itself. Jouvet decides instead to interview Clouseau's assistant Hercule, who retired from the force two decades earlier. She also interviews Sir Charles Lytton and his wife, Simone, Clouseau's ex-wife, who Clouseau did not realise lived in the south of France. In fact, the only people she interviews who had seen Clouseau since the 1960s are Dreyfus, who reveals nothing, and Cato, who spends the entire film in his apartment. As none of them had anything to do with his disappearance, unsurprisingly she learns nothing.
Despite this Clousea-like incompetence, the French underworld who had nothing to do with the disappearance panics that Jouvet may discover something. Jouvet, who has been happily driving around France in her own sporty red car decides for no apparent reason to take a taxi, purely to be kidnapped by the taxi driver. She is taken to the head of the criminal underworld who warns her to stop her investigation. She then visits Clouseau's father, who talks about his son's early years. Jouvet broadcasts live on television each night that she has been investigating Clouseau's disappearance, has talked to a few people, hasn't really come up with anything, but vaguely hopes that Clouseau is still alive.
Characters and actors in Bold appeared in other films in the series.
|Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau||Peter Sellers|
|Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus||Herbert Lom|
|Marie Jouvet||Joanna Lumley|
|Sir Charles Lytton||David Niven2|
|Lady Simone Lytton||Capucine|
|Bruno Langois||Robert Loggia|
|Professor Auguste Balls||Harvey Korman|
|Cato Fong||Burt Kwouk|
|Hercule Lajoy||Graham Stark|
|Sergeant François Duval||André Maranne|
|Clouseau Senior||Richard Mulligan|
|Denise, Bruno's moll||Denise Crosby|
|Deputy Commissioner Lasorde||Marne Maitland|
|Section Director Alec Drummond||Colin Blakely|
|President Sandover Haleesh||Harold Kasket|
|Colonel/General Bufoni||Peter Arne|
|Martha Balls||Liz Smith|
|Taxi Driver||William Hootkins|
As this film was made at the same time as Curse of the Pink Panther, many characters appear in both films, even down to minor characters such as Taxi Driver.
Joanna Lumley is best known as Purdey in The New Avengers and Sapphire in Sapphire and Steel as well as appearing in sitcom Absolutely Fabulous and championing Gurkha rights. She would also appear as a different character in Curse of the Pink Panther. Rich Little had previously been the voice of the Pink Panther and, as David Niven had lost his voice due to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, dubbed Niven's lines. Harvey Korman had been in the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Denise Crosby, Bing Crosby's granddaughter, was married to Blake Edwards' son Geoffrey Edwards. She is most famous for being Tasha Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Marne Maitland was in The Man with the Golden Gun as Scaramanga's gunsmith and had been in Peter Sellers films I'm All Right, Jack and The Bobo. Harold Kasket had been in The Mouse that Roared with Peter Sellers. Peter Arne, who had been Colonel Sharki of the Lugash Secret Police, returns as the similar Colonel Bufoni, who is promoted to General for suggesting the assassination of Clouseau.
Liz Smith is perhaps most famous for being in The Vicar of Dibley while William Hootkins had also appeared in science-fiction films, including as Porkins (Red Six) in Star Wars, Munson in Flash Gordon, Major Eaton in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, the corrupt Lieutenant Eckhardt in Batman. He was also in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.
Robert Loggia had been in Revenge of the Pink Panther and returns as a virtually-identical Mafia character. This raises the question why he could not have been the same character. For some reason, the recurring character of François has changed his surname from Chevalier to Duval.
The Making Of Trail of the Pink Panther
The making of Trail of the Pink Panther began with Peter Sellers follow-up project. Having made the film he had actively pursued for seven years, Being There, Sellers realised that filming the popular Pink Panther films allowed him the freedom to pursue more creative endeavours. Accepting the inevitable, he chose to become more involved in the making of the next Pink Panther film, to be called Romance of the Pink Panther. It was to be a competition with Blake Edwards to see who could make the most successful film with a similar plot, Sellers' Romance of the Pink Panther versus Edwards' Rough Cut.
Romance of the Pink Panther - Unmade
Having fallen out with Blake Edwards and vowed again never to work with him, Peter Sellers decided he would have more of a creative role in the next Pink Panther film. He began co-writing the script with Jim Moloney, with whom he had co-written The Fiendish Plot of Dr Fu Manchu, his last film. He would be paid $3,000,000 plus at least 10% gross, with $1,000,000 in advance. His fourth wife, Lynne Frederick, would executively produce. He had arranged for Sindey Poitier to direct, replacing Blake Edwards, who would still earn over $1 million to allow the use of the character. The script was in development, with shooting unlikely to begin before early 1981. The basic idea was that Inspector Clouseau would fall in love with a Countess who would later be revealed to be a jewel thief, with Not The Nine O'Clock News and Superman III's Pamela Stephenson apparently considered to play the lover interest. There were even proposals that Inspector Clouseau might turn to a life of crime for love. However before the script was finalised, shortly after the second draft had been written, Peter Sellers died of a heart-attack on 24 July, 1980, a week before he was due to undergo heart surgery.
Following Revenge of the Pink Panther, Blake Edwards was involved in creating his own film similar to The Pink Panther but without Peter Sellers, with Pink Panther stars David Niven in the Clouseau-like role and Lesley-Ann Down as the love interest. This film, like The Pink Panther, would be named after jewellery. Rough Cut was intended to be about stolen uncut diamonds with a Clousea-like detective, this time played by Niven, after a jewel thief similar to The Phantom. After one humiliation too many, the detective joins the thief in pulling off a heist. The end, with a celebration onboard a yacht, would later be re-used to conclude Curse of the Pink Panther. In the end Edwards left, and the film was instead directed by Don Seigel, released in 1980.
Trail of the Pink Panther
In 1980 United Artists, who owned the rights to the Pink Panther films, made Heaven's Gate, a film which cost $44 million and made only $3million. In response, United Artists' owner, Transamerica, sold United Artists to MGM, forming MGM/UA in 1981. Even though Peter Sellers had died, MGM was keen to continue with United Artists' most profitable series which they now owned the rights to. They contacted Dudley Moore asking him to play Inspector Clouseau in a film based on the script that Peter Sellers had been working on at the time of his death. Dudley Moore refused unless Blake Edwards was involved, with whom he had worked on 10.
Blake Edwards was initially busy making his popular 1982 film Victor/Victoria3. He also believed that only Peter Sellers could play Inspector Clouseau. Under pressure from MGM/UA to make two films on a very small budget, Blake Edwards came up with the idea of using deleted scenes from The Pink Panther Strikes Again, as the basis for a new film, with new linking scenes.
These scenes were loosely tied together with a 'plot' in which the Pink Panther diamond is once again stolen, and Clouseau is asked to investigate, but does not arrive in Lugash. Following this, Joanna Lumley plays an investigative reporter who talks to various Pink Panther characters about Inspector Clouseau for a bit.
Essentially this is a clip show. For the most part, the scenes that had been deleted out of The Pink Panther Strikes Again were deleted as they were not up to the standard of the rest of that film, and seeing them out of context in a vague attempt to make a different plot out of them fails to work. Although Blake Edwards dedicated the film 'To Peter Sellers, the one and only Inspector Clouseau'4, Sellers' widow sued MGM on the grounds that the film damaged Sellers' reputation. She attempted to bring out an injunction to prevent the film from being released, but instead in 1985 was awarded almost $1 million dollars in damages, 3.15% of the film's profits and 1.36% of gross receipts when the judges ruled that MGM had breached the 1958 Performers Protection Act.
Peter Sellers knew that Blake Edwards kept deleted scenes, and had previously said,
'The only time that you're really happy is the time that you're doing, not when the film comes out, when you're preparing the film, but the time that you're doing the take. You do it, that moment comes out in you, and you've done it – that's why Blake keeps his outtakes - that's when the full feeling of achievement comes out.'
The screenplay credits list not only Blake and his son Geoffrey Edwards, who wrote the film, but also brothers Frank and Tom Waldman. This was for the deleted scenes and clips from previous films used, the Waldmans contributed no new scenes for this film. Curiously Maurice Richlin and William Blatty, who co-wrote The Pink Panther and A Shot in the Dark respectively with Blake Edwards receive no credit.
The Deleted Scenes' Origins
All the scenes containing Peter Sellers in the first 37 minutes were deleted from The Pink Panther Strikes Again. This is where in The Pink Panther Strikes Again the scenes originally belonged, listing the order in which they would have appeared in that film:
2. The first sequence following the credits, where Clouseau visits Professor Auguste Balls, took place following the opening credits to The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
5. The first scene of Clouseau in his office reading a newspaper while lighting a pipe followed Tournier the Bank Robber's escape from prison. The newspaper headline originally described Tournier's escape, not the theft of the Pink Panther.
6. The cigar lighting scene which ends with Clouseau being soaked by a sprinkler takes place after François informs Clouseau that Tournier has robbed a bank and escaped with millions. The Commissioner's line 'I wish to discuss the bank robbery' has been over-dubbed to 'Pink Panther robbery'.
3. The following scene which takes place outside, where Clouseau trips over a dog and is stalked by an unseen figure in a car takes place immediately after the Balls scene. The reason Clouseau is remarkably dry is because in The Pink Panther Strikes Again, this scene took place before he was soaked with the sprinkler. Clouseau carries the Balls' Quasimodo disguise he had bought. The unseen presence in the car is Dreyfus, who had just escaped. This scene leads to:
4. The Lift and outside Clouseau' Apartment scene. A version of this is seen after the opening credits of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, where a shorter dance routine and ripping of trousers takes place. This version has more involvement with the lift, more singing and dancing, and Clouseau drops more of his shopping.
1. The scene of François taking Clouseau to the airport was originally François driving Clouseau to visit Dreyfus in the mental home at the start of The Pink Panther Strikes Again. A new explosion at an airport was filmed, however the original explosion at the mental hospital can be seen in the trailer for The Pink Panther Strikes Again, contained as an extra on DVD.
7. The scene where Scotland Yard discusses Clouseau's arrival in disguise and the scenes of Clouseau on the plane and landing at the airport all took place as seen following the Fassbender kidnapping. The airport arrival scene explains why Clouseau calls Drummond 'Scotland Yard' in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
8. The hotel scenes took place after Clouseau was arrested in The Pink Panther Strikes Again following his first visit to the Queen of Hearts club. The phone call and 'massage' was from Jarvis, telling Clouseau to come to the club as he had information for him regarding the Fassbender kidnapping. Peter Sellers directing the taxi to the club have been dubbed over by Rich Little directing the taxi to the airport.
Instead of a new soundtrack album, a greatest hits compilation with the best music from the previous films was released. Appropriate, really.
- ' The Trail of the Pink Panther'
- 'The Greatest Gift'
- 'Hong Kong Fireworks'
- 'A Shot in the Dark'
- 'It Had Better Be Tonight'
- 'The Easy Life in Paris'
- 'Come to Me'
- 'Bier Fest Polka'
- 'After the Shower'
- 'Inspector Clouseau Theme'
- 'Return of the Pink Panther'
Trail of the Pink Panther is at heart a compilation clip film. It was not the first comedy film to be a compilation clip show, with another example being 1979's That's Carry On, inspired by MGM's That's Entertainment series. In the days before video cassette players, other than hoping your favourite film would be broadcast on television reasonably often, compilation films were the only way of watching your favourite film moments. This film was made in 1982, at a time when most homes still did not have video players. For the early 1980s it is excusable but is not a film which would work today, in the era of film boxsets and deleted scenes expected as standard.
As far as films made out of deleted scenes go, the first 37 minutes of this film are inventive and overall work well. True, the scenes starring Sellers are slow in pace, the reason why they were edited out of The Pink Panther Strikes Again, but even so are entertaining, humorous and keep the viewers' attention. After 37 minutes the last scene starring Clouseau has been shown and the film's focus transfers to Maria Jouvet. At this point the pace goes from slow to stopped, as Jouvet talks to people and not a lot actually happens.
The jokes following Sellers' departure are not particularly funny. Dreyfus' attempts to take his blood pressure frequently result in disaster and his a dream about a swimming pool full of jelly is a set-up that does not really pay-off, nor does his quoting song lyrics. A pre-Star Trek Denise Crosby wonders whether her bum looks big in a skimpy bikini set and in exotic negligee5. As far as plots go, these themes are not quite in the same league as all the world's top assassins trying to kill Clouseau.
The character of Clouseau's father, a wine maker in Château Clouseau à Lamarque who has naked women in his vats and cannot remember anything after 4pm, and Clouseau's Nana who needs to be guided around the house like a sheepdog also do not really work.
Joanna Lumley's Jouvet never really comes across as a competent journalist, but is not an incompetent accident-prone replacement for Clouseau either. She does at one point wear a Clouseau-like coat when breaking into the Clouseau residence. Cato, naturally, defends his home, setting up the promise of an epic Cato v Jouvet battle which is robbed when Jouvet simply hits Cato over the head with a frying pan. This action serves to demean all the previous Clouseau v Cato fights, highlights of each Pink Panther film since A Shot in the Dark.
There are some contradictions with previous films. Some should be forgiven. Clouseau meets Section Director Alec Drummond for the first time even though the film is set after The Pink Panther Strikes Again in which this character appeared, but with the death of Peter Sellers, this obviously could nto be changed. However there are several other scenes which contradict previous films pointlessly which could easily have been corrected. Sir Charles Lytton claims to have married Simone in 1970; The Return of the Pink Panther's Lady Claudine Lytton is not mentioned. When a clip pretending to be from The Pink Panther is shown, Lytton is seen hurting his leg in a skiing accident, not when Princess Dala's dog was 'kidnapped' as actually happened in that film. Lytton also says that he'll never forget the old man crossing street in the scene shown at the climax of The Pink Panther. In that scene he was busy driving his car around town, trying to escape from Clouseau and the police who were chasing him, not watching the old man as the audience was. In another in-joke, Hercule, who features in A Shot in the Dark lives onboard a boat named the Moth, named after the 'Meuth' scene in that film. Hercule was not actually present in the room at the time when Clouseau said 'Meuth', but was instead in the basement preparing to turn the lights off.
Edwards uses the character of Lytton to voice Edward's own theories regarding Inspector Clouseau which he would quote whenever asked. Namely, 'Men like Clouseau never die, they are indestructible' and that Clouseau 'Epitomised the 11th commandment "Thou shalt not give up"'.
The montage of Clouseau's early life consists of scenes out of other films, notably Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns and The Bridge on the River Kwai. It also states that Clouseau tried to commit suicide as a teenager, a very dark statement with nothing in any other film in the series to indicate that Clouseau has ever been suicidal.
This is not the worst film in the world, and there are things worth watching once. These are the music, the first 37 minutes and the end credits. As a eulogy it is pretty poor. The film's attitude to Peter Sellers' memory and the audience can perhaps best be summed up by two of the images contained within it: Dreyfus sticking his middle finger up at the audience and the animated Inspector urinating during the opening credits, symbolising that this film is really extracting the urine.
Animated Credit Sequence
Unlike previous credits, these were animated by Arthur Leonardi of Marvel Productions Ltd 'based on Depatie-Frelang characters'. The Inspector similar to his portrayal in the credits to Revenge of the Pink Panther, but curiously with a giant chin. The credits also are not quite as inventive as previous films.
The credits begin with the dedication, 'To PETER the one and only Inspector Clouseau'6
The Inspector arrives on screen, while the camera zooms in to his eye. The Inspector chases after the Panther, only to run from bomb which explodes him, leaving only his hat. The Panther puts the Inspector's hat on, then the Inspector and the Panther's heads both turn into Pacman, and they chase each other. The animator draws the Inspector with a female body and, a hair appears on the top of the screen, as if the projector had something in front of the lense. The Panther plays snake charming music, hypnotising inspector, who floats away on a musical note before being caught in cage. The Panther pulls the thread, which becomes a game of cat's cradle for the Panther. After the game of cat's cradle becoming a tight-rope which the Inspector is catapulted off, the Pacman theme returns. The Inspector has a hole sawn around him and falls down, photographs are taken of him, blinding him and catching him in a giant book.
On top of the book the Inspector bizarrely appears to urinate the words 'story by Blake Edwards'(!) The Inspector is revealed to be carrying a siphon, so it may not have been urine. The Inspector crawls out from beneath book, is covered in paint before being chased again by a Panther Pacman head. The Inspector grabs a remote control only to be eaten by the Panther Pacman.
Connections with other films
All films in the series feature disguises. Those in this film include:
- Clouseau goes to Balls for final fitting of his Quasimodo Outfit.
- On the aeroplane, Clouseau is disguised as an injured man, Andre Botot, mustard salesman from Dijon, in a full body cast of plaster.
- Clouseau's father reveals that Jacques wanted to be a policeman growing up and, at the age of 8 dressed up as a cowboy.
- Clouseau Clumsiness:
- Clouseau tries to light a pipe, sets a newspaper on fire, which he puts in his bin. His attempt to smother the fire with his rug sets his reum alight, and when he tries to get some air, he falls off window.
- Clouseau tries smoking a cigar and leaves a lighter on in drawer, similar to how he puts a lit lighter in his pocket in A Shot in the Dark.
- Clouseau drops cigars on floor similar to how he dropped cigarettes in A Shot In The Dark.
- Clouseau gets trapped in a lift, similar to his experiences with a revolving door in The Return of the Pink Panther.
- Clouseau explodes his car by playing with a pop out lighter.
- When flying in an aeroplane and needing the toilet, he gets trapped in a toilet as his leg is in plaster.
- When he arrives in London he falls down the aeroplane steps, similar to a scene in Inspector Clouseau.
- Clouseau, in his London hotel room, falls out the window three times while on the phone. He had floated out a window whilst on a phone in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
- Dreadful Dreyfus:
Dreyfus remains accident prone:
- Dreyfus puts his middle finger in ink and sticks it up to the camera(!)
- Dreyfus again has high blood pressure, which leads to him falling out a window and exploding the blood pressure bandage.
- Dreyfus jumps into a swimming pool, landing on the pool's cover. This follows a dream in which he had been given 3,000lb of jelly7 which he put in his pool.
- Dreyfus slips on soap and falls down stairs.
- Lugash has had another bloodless coup of Lugash, followed by the theft of the Pink Panther.
- Clouseau hails a taxi with the words, 'To the airport, my good man, and drive like wind' but gets into the wrong different cab. He had had taxi problems in The Return of the Pink Panther and a similar situation with a police car in A Shot in the Dark.
- It is confirmed that Clouseau fought in resistance, first mentioned in The Pink Panther Strikes Again.