Trail of the Pink Panther
|Trail of the Pink Panther|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Blake Edwards|
|Produced by||Blake Edwards
|Screenplay by||Frank Waldman
|Story by||Blake Edwards|
|Music by||Henry Mancini|
|Editing by||Alan Jones|
|Studio||Blake Edwards Entertainment|
|Distributed by||MGM/UA Entertainment Company|
|Running time||96 minutes|
Trail of the Pink Panther is a 1982 comedy film starring Peter Sellers. It was the seventh film in The Pink Panther series, and the last in which Sellers appeared as Inspector Clouseau. Sellers died before production began and the film contains no original material apart from the animated opening titles, created by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises. His performance only consists of flashbacks and outtakes from previous films.
When the famous Pink Panther diamond is stolen once again from Lugash, Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called on the case despite protests by Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). While on the case, Clouseau is followed by the mob who are seeking to assassinate him.
Clouseau first goes to London to interrogate Sir Charles Lytton (having forgotten that he lives in the South of France). Traveling to the airport, he accidentally blows up his car, but mistakenly believes it to be an assassination attempt. Clouseau disguises himself in a heavy cast while on the flight, which causes complications in the air and on land and leads to an awkward introduction to the Scotland Yard detectives who meet him at Heathrow.
Meanwhile, Dreyfus learns from Scotland Yard that Libyan terrorists may have marked Clouseau for assassination once he announces his intent to visit the scene of the crime in Lugash. Rather than order him back to Paris, Dreyfus orders him to continue on to Lugash as planned.
Clouseau's plane crashes en route to Lugash. All aboard are believed lost at sea. Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley), a television reporter covering the story, sets out to interview those who knew the detective best. This provides ample opportunities for flashbacks to scenes from earlier films. Jouvet also interviews Clouseau's father (a heavily disguised Richard Mulligan), at his winery, providing glimpses of Clouseau's childhood where he is played by Lucca Mezzofanti, and his early career in the French Resistance in which he is played by Daniel Peacock. Jouvet also has an unpleasant encounter with Mafia don Bruno Langlois (Robert Loggia), an antagonist who also appears in the next film. Langlois warns Marie to stop asking questions about Clouseau as business is booming in the French underworld with the detective missing. Jouvet refuses and tries to file a complaint against Langlois with Chief Inspector Dreyfus. Dreyfus, who wants Clouseau dead just as much as Langlois does, refuses to press charges citing circumstantial evidence, much to Jouvet's frustration.
The film ends with Marie hoping that Clouseau might be alive. Clouseau (now played by John Taylor, here only shot from behind) is seen standing looking over a seaside cliff, when a seagull flies over and messes the sleeve of his coat. The words "Swine seagull!" are heard in the distinctive 'over French' accent of Clouseau. The animated Pink Panther in trench coat and trilby hat is revealed in place of Clouseau watching the sunset. The Panther turns around and flashes the audience, but his opened trenchcoat reveals a montage of funny clips of Peter Sellers from his five Pink Panther films while the end credits roll.
- Joanna Lumley as Marie Jouveat
- David Niven as Sir Charles Litton
- Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- Burt Kwouk as Cato Fong
- Capucine as Lady Simone Litton
- Robert Loggia as Bruno Langois
- Harvey Korman as Prof. Auguste Balls
- Andre Maranne as François
- Graham Stark as Hercule Lajoy
- Richard Mulligan as Clouseau's Father
- Daniel Peacock as Clouseau age 18
- Lucca Mezzofanti as Clouseau age 8
Archive footage only
- Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau
- Colin Blakely as Alec Drummond
- Leonard Rossiter as Superintendent Quinlan
- Robert Wagner as George Litton
- Claudia Cardinale as Princess Dala
- Colin Gordon as Tucker
- Harold Berens as Hotel Clerk
Sellers died over 18 months before production began, and his performance was constructed from deleted scenes from The Pink Panther Strikes Again.
David Niven appears in the film, reprising a role he first played in the original The Pink Panther of 1963. Niven was in the early stages of ALS and his voice subsequently proved too weak to loop his own dialogue during post-production. He was dubbed by impressionist Rich Little during post-production.
Returning series regulars include Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Dreyfus, Graham Stark as Hercule LaJoy (from the 1964 Pink Panther film A Shot in the Dark) and Burt Kwouk as Clouseau's faithful manservant Cato. The film also featured Joanna Lumley as an investigative reporter on the trail of the missing Clouseau. Trail featured animated opening and closing credits, which were animated by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, now Marvel Productions.
Director Blake Edwards dedicated the film to Sellers, "the one and only Inspector Clouseau". Despite the dedication, Sellers' wife Lynne Frederick filed a $3 million lawsuit against the film's producers and the studio claiming that the film diminished Sellers' reputation. She was awarded over $1 million in damages. Edwards' wife, Julie Andrews has an unbilled cameo as a cleaning lady, dressed as her friend Carol Burnett's charwoman character. Contrary to rumour, Alan Arkin (who played Clouseau in 1968's Inspector Clouseau) does not have a cameo appearance as Clouseau in the World War II flashback.
Critical and commercial reception
The film was a critical and commercial failure. Although the film was marketed as a tribute to Sellers, it was widely panned by critics. It was released for Christmas 1982, and grossed only $9 million. In contrast, the previous film in the series, Revenge of the Pink Panther, had made over $49 million. Nonetheless, it was soon followed by a further Pink Panther film, Curse of the Pink Panther, which was shot concurrently with Trail. That film did not feature Peter Sellers at all, and was instead employing the talents of Ted Wass as Clouseau replacement Clifton Sleigh. That film would also be a critical and commercial failure.
- Trail of the Pink Panther at the Internet Movie Database
- Trail of the Pink Panther at the TCM Movie Database
- Trail of the Pink Panther at allmovie