|The Pink Panther Strikes Again|
|Directed by||Blake Edwards|
|Screenplay by||Frank Waldman|
|Produced by||Blake Edwards|
Tony Adams (Associate Producer)
|Edited by||Alan Jones|
|Music by||Henry Mancini|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$75 million|
The Pink Panther Strikes Again is a 1976 comedy film. The fifth film in The Pink Panther series, its plot begins three years after the conclusion of The Return of the Pink Panther. Unused footage from the film was later included in Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), released after Peter Sellers's death.
After three years in a psychiatric hospital, former Chief Inspector of the Sûreté Charles Dreyfus has recovered his sanity and no longer is obsessed with killing Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Dreyfus is informed by his psychiatrist that he is to appear before the sanity board that afternoon pending release. Clouseau, who has since replaced Dreyfus as Chief Inspector, arrives unannounced to speak on behalf of his former boss, and within five minutes drives Dreyfus insane again. Dreyfus later escapes from the hospital and once again tries to kill Clouseau by planting a bomb while the chief inspector (by periodic arrangement) duels with his manservant Cato. The bomb destroys Clouseau's apartment and injures Cato, but Clouseau is unharmed, as he is lifted from the room by an inflatable hunchback disguise. Deciding that a more elaborate plan is needed to eliminate Clouseau, Dreyfus enlists an army of career criminals and abducts nuclear physicist professor Hugo Fassbender and the professor's daughter Margo, forcing the professor to build a "doomsday weapon" in exchange for their freedom.
Clouseau travels to England to investigate the kidnapping, where he wrecks the Fassbender home while ineptly interrogating the domestic staff, including Jarvis, Fassbender's cross-dressing butler. Although Jarvis is later killed by the kidnappers, to whom he had become a dangerous witness, Clouseau discovers a clue that leads him to the Oktoberfest in Munich, West Germany. Meanwhile, Dreyfus, using Fassbender's invention, disintegrates the United Nations headquarters in New York City and blackmails the leaders of the world, including the president of the United States and his secretary of state, into assassinating Clouseau. However, many of the nations instruct their operatives to kill Clouseau to gain Dreyfus's favor and possibly the doomsday machine. As a result of their orders and Clouseau's obliviousness, all of the other assassins kill each another until only the agents of the Soviet Union and Egypt remain.
One of Dreyfus's henchmen disguised as Clouseau, is killed by the Egyptian assassin after mistaking him for Clouseau. The Egyptian is seduced by the Russian operative Olga Bariosova, who makes the same mistake and falls in love with him. After the Egyptian departs, the real Clouseau arrives back in his hotel room and is surprised to find Olga in his bed and is perplexed by her affections. Clouseau ascertains from her information, Dreyfus's location at a castle in Bavaria. Dreyfus is elated at the erroneous report of Clouseau's demise but suffers from a painful toothache and sends for a dentist. After Clouseau arrives in Bavaria, he learns that a dentist is needed at the castle. He disguises himself as an elderly German dentist and finally gains entry to the castle (his earlier attempts at sneaking into the castle had been foiled by his general ineptitude and the castle's drawbridge). Unrecognized by Dreyfus, Clouseau intoxicates both of them with nitrous oxide. While both are laughing uncontrollably, Clouseau mistakenly pulls the wrong tooth, and Dreyfus immediately realizes that the old dentist is Clouseau in disguise. Clouseau escapes, and a vengeful and now totally insane Dreyfus prepares to use the machine to destroy England. Clouseau, eluding Dreyfus's henchmen, unwittingly foils Dreyfus's plans when a medieval catapult outside the castle launches him on top of the doomsday machine, causing it to malfunction and fire on Dreyfus and the castle. As the remaining henchmen, Fassbender, his daughter and Clouseau escape the dissolving castle, Dreyfus plays "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" on the castle's pipe organ while he disintegrates, until he and the castle vanish into thin air.
Returning to Paris, Clouseau finds Olga waiting for him in his bed. However, their tryst is interrupted first by Clouseau's apparent inability to remove his clothes, and then by Cato's latest surprise attack, which causes all three to be hurled into the river Seine when the reclining bed snaps back upright and crashes through the wall. Immediately thereafter, a cartoon image of Clouseau emerges from the water, which has been tinted pink, and begins swimming, unaware that a gigantic version of the Pink Panther character is waiting below him with sharp teeth and an open mouth, a reference to the recent film Jaws. The animated Clouseau chases the Pink Panther up the Seine.
- Peter Sellers as Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau
- Herbert Lom as Former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus
- Lesley-Anne Down as Olga Bariosava
- Burt Kwouk as Cato Fong
- André Maranne as François
- Leonard Rossiter as Superintendent Quinlan
- Colin Blakely as Inspector Alec Drummond
- Dudley Sutton as Inspector McLaren
- Michael Robbins as Ainsley Jarvis
- Richard Vernon as Professor Hugo Fassbender
- Briony McRoberts as Margo Fassbender
- Vanda Godsell as Mrs. Leverlilly
- Tony Sympson as Mr. Shork
- Patsy Smart as Mrs. Japonica
- Norman Mitchell as Mr. Bullock
- George Leech as Mr. Stutterstutt
- Dick Crockett as President of the United States
- Byron Kane as US Secretary of State
- Paul Maxwell as CIA Director
- Robert Beatty as US Navy Admiral
- Geoffrey Bayldon as Dr. Duval
- Graham Stark as Alpenros Hotel Clerk
- John Sullivan as Tournier
- Gordon Rollings as Inmate
- John Clive as Chuck
- Cyd Child as Bouncer
- Damaris Hayman as Fiona
- April Walker as Pretty Lady in Hallway
- Anthony Chinn as Chinese Assassin
- Deep Roy as Diminutive Assassin
- Herb Tanney as Norwegian Assassin (as Sado Tanney)
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2023)
- Because of Sellers's heart condition, his stunt double Joe Dunne took his place whenever possible.
- ABC News anchorman and journalist Howard K. Smith appeared in the film as himself but his scenes were cut, though his name remains in the film's credits.
- Julie Andrews, the wife of director Blake Edwards, provided the singing voice for the female impersonator Ainsley Jarvis. The scene in the nightclub when Jarvis sings is in many ways similar to scenes in Edwards's later film Victor Victoria (1982), in which Andrews plays a woman pretending to be a man who is a female impersonator.
- Graham Stark, a longtime friend of Sellers, appears in a small role as the desk clerk of a small German hotel. Since his role as Hercule LaJoy in A Shot in the Dark, he had appeared in small roles in every Pink Panther sequel except Inspector Clouseau, in which Sellers did not play Clouseau.
- Scenes featuring Harvey Korman as professor Auguste Balls and Marne Maitland as deputy commissioner Lasorde were deleted from the film, but were later seen in full in Trail of the Pink Panther in 1982. Stark would assume the role of Professor Balls in the next film, Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978).
- Omar Sharif appears uncredited as the Egyptian assassin.
- Tom Jones sings the Oscar-nominated song "Come to Me".
- The role of Olga Bariosova was originally played by Maud Adams, who was replaced after filming a few scenes. Edwards then intended to cast Nicola Pagett after seeing her in Upstairs, Downstairs but instead cast Pagett's castmate Lesley-Anne Down.
- Though the character of the President of the United States (portrayed by Dick Crockett) is unnamed in the film, he is obviously based on then-current president Gerald Ford. Crockett bore a marked physical resemblance to Ford, whose exaggerated reputation for clumsiness as depicted in the film was a national joke at the time. The president's unnamed somber Secretary of State (portrayed by Byron Kane) is obviously based on secretary Henry Kissinger.
- Blake Edwards makes a cameo appearance in the background of the nightclub scene.
The Pink Panther Strikes Again was rushed into production by United Artists following the success of The Return of the Pink Panther. Blake Edwards had adapted one of two scripts that he and Frank Waldman had written for a proposed Pink Panther television series as the basis for that film, and he adapted the other as the starting point for The Pink Panther Strikes Again. As a result, it is the only Pink Panther sequel that has a storyline (Dreyfus in the insane asylum) that directly follows that of its previous film. The plot does not concern the famous Pink Panther diamond of previous films, but is played more as a parody of James Bond films.
The film was in production from December 1975 to September 1976, with principal photography taking place between February and June 1976. The strained relationship between Sellers and Edwards had further deteriorated by the time that production of The Pink Panther Strikes Again was under way. Sellers was ailing both mentally and physically, and Edwards later commented on the actor's mental state during production of the film: "If you went to an asylum and you described the first inmate you saw, that's what Peter had become. He was certifiable."
The original cut of the film ran for about 180 minutes but was trimmed to 103 minutes for theatrical release. Edwards originally conceived The Pink Panther Strikes Again as an epic, zany chase film, in a similar vein to his earlier comedy The Great Race, but UA vetoed the long version and the film was edited to a more conventional length. Some of the excised footage was later used in Trail of the Pink Panther. The Pink Panther Strikes Again was marketed with the tagline "Why are the world's chief assassins after Inspector Clouseau? Why not? Everybody else is."
During the film's title sequence, there are references to television's Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Batman as well as the films King Kong, The Sound of Music (starring Edwards's wife Julie Andrews), Dracula A.D. 1972, Singin' in the Rain, Steamboat Bill, Jr. and Sweet Charity, placing the Pink Panther character and the animated persona of Inspector Clouseau into recognizable events from the films. There is also a reference to Jaws in the ending credits sequence. The scene in which Clouseau impersonates a dentist who uses laughing gas and extracts the wrong tooth is inspired by Bob Hope's role in The Paleface (1948).
Richard Williams (later of Who Framed Roger Rabbit fame) supervised the animation of the opening and closing sequences for the second and final time; original animators DePatie-Freleng Enterprises would return on the next film with animation influenced by Williams's style.
Sellers was unhappy with the final cut of the film and publicly criticized Edwards for misusing his talents. Their tense relationship is noted in Revenge of the Pink Panther's opening credits that list it as a "Sellers-Edwards" production.
French comic-book writer René Goscinny, the original writer of the Asterix series, was reportedly trying to sue Edwards for plagiarism in 1977 after noticing strong similarities to Goscinny's script titled Le maître du monde (The Master of the World), which he had sent to Sellers in 1975.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film two and a half stars out of four and wrote, "If I'm less than totally enthusiastic about The Pink Panther Strikes Again, maybe it was because I've been over this ground with Clouseau many times before," stating that a time would have to come "when inspiration gives way to habit, and I think the Pink Panther series is just about at that point. That's not to say this film isn't funny—it has moments as good as anything Sellers and Edwards have ever done—but that it's time for them to move on. They worked together once on the funniest movie either one has ever done, The Party. Now it's time to try something new again."
Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote that the characters of Clouseau and Dreyfus "were made for each other," and further stated, "I'm not sure why Mr. Sellers and Mr. Lom are such a hilarious team, though it may be because each is a fine comic actor with a special talent for portraying the sort of all-consuming, epic self-absorption that makes slapstick farce initially acceptable—instead of alarming—and finally so funny." Canby also enjoyed Clouseau's French accent, and wrote, "Both Mr. Sellers and Mr. Edwards delight in old gags, and part of the joy of The Pink Panther Strikes Again is watching the way they spin out what is essentially a single routine".
The film earned theatrical rentals of $19.5 million in the United States and Canada from a gross of $33.8 million. Internationally, it earned rentals of $10.5 million for a worldwide total of $30 million. By March 1978, the film had grossed $75 million worldwide and was hoping to earn another $8 million by the end of the year.
Awards and nominations
|Academy Awards||Best Original Song||"Come to Me"
Music by Henry Mancini;
Lyrics by Don Black
|Evening Standard British Film Awards||Best Comedy||Blake Edwards||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Nominated|
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Peter Sellers||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Best Comedy – Adapted from Another Medium||Frank Waldman and Blake Edwards||Won|
- American Film Institute Lists
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes:
- "Does your dog bite?" – Nominated
Around 1981, the film was adapted into a play by William Gleason, mostly for high-school or community-theatre productions. The storyline bears similarities to that of the film, although some locations are changed, and women dressed as pink panthers also perform scene changes.
- "New 'Pink Panther,' Set For July Bow, Tops $7-Mil in Blind Bids". Variety. 22 March 1978. p. 39.
- Allmovie Cast
- Thames, Stephanie "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (TCM article)
- IMDB Business Data
- Starks, Michael (October 1982). Cocaine fiends and Reefer madness: an illustrated history of drugs in the movies. Cornwall Books. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-8453-4504-7.
- (in French) Pascal Ory, Goscinny (1926–wall): la Liberté d'en rire, Paris: Perrin, 2007, ISBN 978-2-262-02506-9, p. 221.
- The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Rotten Tomatoes, retrieved 17 August 2023
- Ebert, Roger (20 December 1976). "The Pink Panther Strikes Again Review (1976)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- Canby, Vincent (16 December 1976). "Pink Panther Team Unflappable In Fourth High-Spirited Caper". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
- "UA Film Rental Highlights of 1977". Variety. 11 January 1978. p. 3.
- "The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Box Office Information". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
- IMDB Awards
- "The 49th Academy Awards (1977) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
- "The Pink Panther Strikes Again – Golden Globes". HFPA. Retrieved 5 July 2021.
- "Awards Winners". wga.org. Writers Guild of America. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes Nominees
- "The Pink Panther Strikes Again". Dramatic Publishing. Retrieved 9 April 2022.