Trail of the Pink Panther

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Trail of the Pink Panther
Trail of the Pink Panther poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Blake Edwards
Produced by Blake Edwards
Tony Adams
Screenplay by Frank Waldman
Tom Waldman
Blake Edwards
Geoffrey Edwards
Story by Blake Edwards
Starring Peter Sellers
David Niven
Herbert Lom
Richard Mulligan
Joanna Lumley
Capucine
Robert Loggia
Harvey Korman
Burt Kwouk
Music by Henry Mancini
Cinematography Dick Bush
Edited by Alan Jones
Production
  company
Blake Edwards Entertainment
Distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment Company
Release date(s)
  • December 17, 1982 (1982-12-17)
Running time 96 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $9,056,073[1]

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.

Plot[edit]

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 made up 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[2]) 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.

Cast[edit]

Archive footage only[edit]

Previously unseen footage only[edit]

Background[edit]

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.[3] 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[edit]

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.[1] In contrast, the previous film in the series, Revenge of the Pink Panther, had made over $49 million.[4] 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.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Box Office Information for Trail of the Pink Panther. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Lewis, Roger (2004). The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Arrow books. p. 634. ISBN 0-09-974700-6. 
  3. ^ Blake Edwards
  4. ^ Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

External links[edit]