The Return of the Pink Panther

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The Return of the Pink Panther
The Return of the Pink Panther poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Blake Edwards
Produced by Blake Edwards
Written by Frank Waldman
Blake Edwards
Starring Peter Sellers
Christopher Plummer
Herbert Lom
Catherine Schell
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Edited by Tom Priestly
Jewel Productions
Pimlico Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • 21 May 1975 (1975-05-21)
Running time 114 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $41,833,347[1]

The Return of the Pink Panther is the fourth film in The Pink Panther series, released in 1975. The film stars Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau, returning to the part for the first time since A Shot in the Dark (1964) after having declined to reprise the role in Inspector Clouseau (1968). The film was a commercial hit and revived a previously dormant series.

Herbert Lom reprises his role as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus from A Shot in the Dark; he remained a regular hereafter. The character of Sir Charles Lytton, the notorious Phantom, is now played by Christopher Plummer rather than David Niven (as in The Pink Panther, 1963), who was unavailable. The Pink Panther diamond once again plays a central role in the plot.


In the fictional country of Lugash, a mysterious thief seizes the 'Pink Panther' diamond, leaving a white glove marked with a gold-tinted "P"; wherefore the Shah of Lugash requests the assistance of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers). Clouseau has been temporarily demoted to beat cop by his boss, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom); but the French government forces Dreyfus to reinstate Clouseau to investigate the theft of the Pink Panther. Clouseau believes that Sir Charles Lytton (Christopher Plummer), alias "the notorious Phantom", is the thief; but Sir Charles, having read about the theft, realizes that he has been framed, and goes to Lugash to clear his name. After staking out (and nearly demolishing) Lytton Manor in Nice, Clouseau follows Sir Charles' wife, Lady Claudine (Catherine Schell), to a resort hotel in Gstaad, Switzerland, where he fails to investigate her. Meanwhile, Sir Charles identifies Lady Claudine as the thief, and rejoins her in Gstaad; whereafter Clouseau is ordered to arrest her, while Dreyfus prepares to kill him. Lady Claudine and Sir Charles are cornered by Colonel Sharki (Peter Arne) of the Lugash Secret Police, who intends to kill them both to purge his political opponents, when Clouseau barges into the room to arrest the Lyttons. Dreyfus accidentally kills Sharki while aiming at Clouseau, and the Lyttons escape. For recovering the Pink Panther, Clouseau is promoted to Chief Inspector, while Sir Charles resumes his career as a jewel thief (Lady Claudine is not mentioned.). At a Japanese restaurant, Clouseau's servant Cato begins a barroom brawl, destroying the restaurant itself. Dreyfus is committed to a lunatic asylum, where he is straitjacketed inside a padded cell, vowing revenge on Clouseau as the animated Pink Panther appears to film him, and concludes the credits with a smoke-ring.


You can rest assured that there's trouble, because Inspector Clouseau is on the case. (That's the trouble.)


Production notes[edit]

In the early 1970s, Blake Edwards wrote a 15-20 page outline for another Pink Panther film and presented it to series producer Walter Mirisch. The producer loved the idea, but the franchise's main backer, United Artists, rejected the film as they had no intention to work with Edwards nor Peter Sellers, whose careers had declined.[2]

Then British producer Lew Grade agreed to finance two films for Blake Edwards as part of a deal to get Julie Andrews to make a TV show for him. The first movie was The Tamarind Seed. Edwards wanted to make a project set in Canada called Rachel and the Stranger but Grade disliked the idea and offered to buy Edwards out of the second commitment. Edwards wanted to make a second movie however in order to help restore his reputation in Hollywood. Grade says he then suggested making a Pink Panther film and Edwards agreed if Sellers would agree to do it. Grade talked Sellers into it and the project was on.[3] UA agreed to give The Return of the Pink Panther to Grade in exchange for world distribution and a share of the profits.[2] Grade says that Eric Pleskow of United Artists was offered the chance to come into the movie as a partner but declined, thinking the movie was a disaster; he only wanted UA to distribute.[3]

Richard Williams, later the creator of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, did the animated open and closing titles for this picture and The Pink Panther Strikes Again, due to DePatie-Freleng's work on the Pink Panther shorts and other cartoon projects for TV and film. Williams got help animating this from two animation legends, Ken Harris and Art Babbitt.

Catherine Schell can be seen laughing on at least two occasions in the film - once when Clouseau impersonates a telephone repairman to infiltrate her home, and again when he meets her in a restaurant and pretends to be "Guy Gadbois", a ladies' man; in the latter, the scene appears to cut suddenly as she starts choking on her drink from laughing. This magnifies the impression that Lady Lytton sees Clouseau as "cute" rather than as a real threat. These scenes are frequently proferred as classic examples of corpsing, and it was not uncharacteristic of Sellers to goad his fellow actors to break character, but Schell has maintained in various interviews that she always considered it in character for Lady Lytton to be amused at Clouseau's antics.

Carol Cleveland, best known for her regular appearances on Monty Python's Flying Circus, has a small part as a swimming pool diver.


  1. ^ "The Return of the Pink Panther, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Mirisch, Walter (2008). I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History (pp. 170-171). University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, Wisconsin. ISBN 0-299-22640-9.
  3. ^ a b Lew Grade, Still Dancing: My Story, William Collins & Sons 1987 p 227-228

External links[edit]