Curse of the Pink Panther (1983) Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review
Aside from one standout comedy scene the rest of the movie isn’t all that funny.
Plot: Inspector Clouseau disappears, and the Surete wants the world’s second best detective to look for him. However, Clouseau’s enemy, Dreyfus, rigs the Surete’s computer to select, instead, the world’s WORST detective, NYPD Sgt. Clifton Sleigh. Sleigh obtusely bungles his way past assassins and corrupt officials as though he were Clouseau’s American cousin.
Review: The infamous Inspector Clouseau (played many times by Peter Sellers, who passed away in 1980, and here is played by a body double) is bushwhacked by some clever criminals, and they brainwash him and perform plastic surgery on his face in an effort to diminish his prowess as a master detective. The world needs a new master sleuth to find out what happened to him, and so a computer (rigged by Clouseau’s arch nemesis Dreyfus, played again by Herbert Lom) spits out an algorithm that produces the name of an inept detective in the USA, a suffering dolt named Clifton Sleigh (Ted Wass). Sleigh is transferred to Europe where he bumbles and fumbles himself smack in the middle of an international conspiracy to keep Clouseau hidden away, and so the Italian mafia and many others send their assassins to kill Sleigh before he gets to close to the truth. But Sleigh – just like Clouseau – is a master at surviving in the most impossible circumstances, and sometimes his methods are hilarious and awkward. When he eventually does get to Clouseau (leading to a fun cameo by a very game Roger Moore, who was still in his tenure as 007), two worlds collide!
An earnest attempt to keep The Pink Panther brand alive after Sellers had died, Curse of the Pink Panther has one absolutely gut-splitting gag involving a blow up sex doll that goes on for quite awhile, and there are some laughs here and there throughout, but like most of the films Blake Edwards did in this franchise, it’s maintains a silly, globe-trotting atmosphere, even if the whole product isn’t exactly consistent. It’s an enjoyable enough film with returning cast members from earlier entries of the franchise (like David Niven, Robert Wagner, and Capucine, to name a few), and while star Wass doesn’t really have much going on as a performer, he’s a good punching bag for gags. The next Pink Panther movies was a decade later: Son of the Pink Panther, also by Edwards.
Kino Lorber recently released several titles from The Pink Panther series, and this one looks nice in HD. Special features include an on-camera interview with star Wass, and a trailer gallery.