Blu-ray Review: THE PINK PANTHER Collection

DISC 1: THE PINK PANTHER was directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by Maurice Richland and Blake Edwards and stars David Niven, Peter Sellers, Robert Wagner, Capucine, and Claudia Cardinale. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

In this first film of the beloved comic series, dashing European thief Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven) plans to steal a diamond, but he’s not the only one with his eyes on the famous jewel known as the “Pink Panther.” His nephew George (Robert Wagner) also aims to make off with the gem, and to frame Charles for the crime. Blundering French police inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) intercedes, but finds his career — and his freedom — jeopardized.

This 1964 heist comedy actually focused more on the thief than it did the inspector who really played more of a background character in the movie. Even though Peter Sellers plays a supporting role, he stands out in what screen time he is given. He not as bumbling or goofy here but the silliness of this character is still evident. Blake Edwards is known for his situational comedies and this one features some of his best work. The good inspector happens to be married in this movie and even though his wife shows him affection, she has her eyes on someone else. Yes, there’s love in the air but it’s everybody cheating on everybody else with poor Jacques Clouseau being the one who’s getting played the most. But in the end, he also delivers a nice little twist to the story.

Run Time: 115 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras on this disc features an all-new interview and lots of imported bonus material from previous home video releases that includes five featurettes, trailer and some images.

  • NEW An Italian Indian: The Pink Panther Princess – an interview with actress Claudia Cardinale (11:11)
  • Audio Commentary by writer/director Blake Edwards
  • 2003 Featurette – The Pink Panther Story (28:44)
  • 2003 Featurette – Behind the Feline: The Cartoon Phenomenon (10:52)
  • 2008 Featurette – A Conversation with Robert Wagner: Coolest Cat in Cortina (10:56)
  • 2008 Featurette – Diamonds: Beyond the Sparkle (06:55)
  • 2008 Featurette – The Tip-Toe Life of a Cat Burglar: A Conversation with Former Jewel Thief Bill Mason (09:45)
  • Theatrical Trailer (03:52)
  • Still Gallery (06:12)
  • Poster Gallery (02:45)

DISC 2: A SHOT IN THE DARK was directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by William Peter Blatty and Blake Edwards and stars Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer, George Sanders, Herbert Lom, Graham Stark and Burt Kwouk. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

Inspector Clouseau is called to a house where a murder was committed and finds that every clue points to the beautiful maid, Maria. As more people are killed, each set of clues always points to Maria, and Closeau continues to release her and escort her around town.

Things really change from the first movie to this quick follow up that puts Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the spotlight as the main character. The inspector is put on a murder case and is determined to prove that the beautiful maid is innocent of these murders. But, is she innocent or does Clouseau just have a crush on her? The viewer doesn’t always know what direction the good inspector is headed in but in the end the murder mystery somehow gets solved. This is also where Inspector Clouseau trades in his wife for Cato, his loyal asian sidekick/man servant who keeps the bumbling inspector on his toes. Speaking of bumbling, this sequel is where Peter Sellers really begins to show off his physical style of comedy gold. This is my favorite out of the series.

Run Time: 102 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: This disc features an all-new 4K scan of the movie and it looks and sounds really good. The extras include an all-new featurette/interview and audio commentary. There’s also some vintage bonus material imported over from previous home video releases that includes interviews, trailers and images.

  • NEW 4K scan of the interpositive
  • NEW Featurette – Back to the Start: The Origin of the Pink Panther – an interview with production company chief Walter Mirisch (23:10)
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Jason Simos of the Peter Sellers Appreciation Society
  • Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews on The Dick Cavett Show (07:06)
  • Theatrical Trailers including The Pink Panther/A Shot in the Dark 1966 reissue Trailer (09:54)
  • Still Gallery (05:38)
  • Poster Gallery (02:59)
  • Rare Image Gallery (01:32)

DISC 3: THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER was directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by Frank Waldman and Blake Edwards and stars Peter Sellers, Christopher Plummer, Catherine Schell, Herbert Lom, Graham Stark and Burt Kwouk. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

After he lets a robbery transpire right under his nose, the ever-bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is suspended by Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). But, when the famed Pink Panther diamond is stolen from the National Museum in Lugash, the Shah requests Clouseau’s assistance, and he’s reinstated. Clouseau quickly concludes that the thief must be the infamous Phantom, against whom he has a grudge, but the inspector’s instincts are, as usual, wrong.

Over a decade has passed since A Shot in the Dark but Inspector Clouseau is back and so is the world’s largest diamond in this 1975 sequel. Sir Charles Litton (Christpher Plummer) and Lady Claudine Litton (Catherine Schell) are the two new antagonists who are after the Pink Panther diamond but is one of them also the infamous Phantom? Clouseau is pretty useless when it comes to solving this case but he’s a real pro when it comes to driving Chief Inspector Dreyfus crazy and flirting with the latest beautiful woman to cross his path. Clouseau becomes a master of disguise in this sequel plus he gets a new love interest, well kind of. She laughs at him more than she’s attracted to him.

Run Time: 113 Minutes

Rated: G

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras on this disc include two all-new featurettes/interviews and audio commentary. There’s also vintage bonus material imported over from previous home video releases that includes a featurette, trailers, TV spots, radio spots and images.

  • NEW Featurette – A Bit of Passion and Lots of Laughs: an interview with actress Catherine Schell (21:48)
  • NEW Featurette: an interview with production designer Peter Mullins (28:03)
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Jason Simos of the Peter Sellers Appreciation Society
  • 1975 Featurette: The Return of Laughter (The Making of The Return of the Pink Panther) (08:21)
  • Theatrical Trailers (06:09)
  • TV Spots (03:25)
  • Radio Spots (02:29)
  • Still Gallery (03:12)
  • Poster Gallery (02:19)
  • Rare Image Gallery (00:44)

DISC 4: THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN was directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by Frank Waldman and Blake Edwards and stars Peter Sellers, Lesley Anne Down, Herbert Lom, Colin Blakely and Burt Kwouk. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

Just released from a mental hospital, Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) intends to off Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), a former underling whose blundering drove the lawman around the bend. Dreyfus captures a scientist, ordering him to create a weapon that will destroy the planet, and threatens world leaders with annihilation unless they hand over his nemesis. Meanwhile, Clouseau goes to England to look for the vanished scientist, and his obliviousness turns out to be an asset.

Sinister forces are at work! In this 1976 sequel, former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus becomes a supervillain and creates his very own doomsday machine that he threatens to use unless somebody kills Inspector Clouseau. The world’s most deasliest assassins are hired to take out the elusive inspector who is now in hiding and on the run. He somehow locates the fortress where Dreyfus has taken up shop and ultimately/accidentally saves the day with a little hilarious help from his bag of disguises. This one does a great job making fun of the James Bond movies and takes everything way over the top. The Pink Panther Strikes Again is probably my second favorite out of the series.

Run Time: 103 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: This disc features an all-new 4K scan of the movie and it looks and sounds really good. The extras include two all-new featurettes/interviews and audio commentary. There’s also some vintage bonus material imported over from previous home video releases that includes a making of featurette, trailers, TV spots, radio spots and images.

  • NEW 4K scan of the interpositive
  • NEW Featurette – Panther Musings: an interview with actress Lesley-Anne Down (21:49)
  • NEW Featurette – A Cut Above: Editing the Pink Panther Filmsan interview with editor Alan Jones (24:31)
  • NEW Audio Commentary by Jason Simos of the Peter Sellers Appreciation Society
  • 1976 Featurette – Clouseau: The Greatest Fumbler in the World (The Making of The Pink Panther Strikes Again) (07:18)
  • Theatrical Trailers including Rare Teaser Trailers (05:54)
  • TV Spots (02:56)
  • Radio Spots (02:55)
  • Still Gallery (05:09)
  • Poster Gallery (05:22)
  • Photographer Colin Cadle’s On-Set Gallery (02:03)

DISC 5: REVENGE OF THE PINK PANTHER was written and directed by Blake Edwards and stars Peter Sellers, Dyan Cannon, Herbert Lom, André Maranne, Robert Loggia, Graham Stark and Burt Kwouk. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

When French drug kingpin Philippe Douvier (Robert Webber) learns that he’s losing the respect of New York mob bosses, he decides to murder Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) to regain his reputation. After a case of mistaken identity, Clouseau is declared dead, much to the delight of his former boss, Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). When Clouseau reemerges, he teams up with Douvier’s ex-lover, Simone LeGree (Dyan Cannon), to break up the drug trafficking operation.

This 1978 sequel has everyone thinking that Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau has once again been killed and it leaves Dreyfus in a much happier and stable mood. What they don’t know is that Clouseau is alive and well and has once again eluded the villain’s evil plot and is determined to take the latest bad guy down. He digs deep into his bag of disguises and recrutes a few new allies (and love interest) and ultimately takes down the kingpin which leaves the eye twitching Dreyfus in another mentally unstable condition. It’s easy to see that Revenge of the Pink Panther borrows a little from The Godfather movies except there’s plenty of comedy inserted into this gangster mix. Cato also gets a lot more screen time in this fifth adventure.

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some all-new audio commentary as well as vintage bonus material imported over from previous home video releases that includes trailers, TV spots, radio spots and images.

  • NEW Audio Commentary by author and film historian William Patrick Maynard
  • Theatrical Trailers including a Rare Teaser Trailer (03:04)
  • TV Spots (01:57)
  • Radio Spots (02:21)
  • Still Gallery (04:03)
  • Poster Gallery (03:58)
  • Photos from Alan Jones’ Personal Collection (00:42)

DISC 6: TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER was directed by Blake Edwards from a screenplay by Frank Waldman, Geoffrey Edwards, Tom Waldman and Blake Edwards and stars Peter Sellers, David Niven, Herbert Lom, Capucine, Robert Loggia, Harvey Korman and Burt Kwouk. The music was composed by Henry Mancini.

The movie finds Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) being summoned to the country of Lugash to investigate another robbery of the eponymous diamond. After developing some disguises, Clouseau embarks by plane and mysteriously vanishes en route. Hoping to solve the conundrum, enterprising journalist Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley) interviews those closest to Clouseau, including his father (Richard Mulligan), his boss (Herbert Lom) and his old nemesis, Sir Charles Litton (David Niven).

This 1982 final installment in the series cuts and splices vintage and unused footage material with some all-new scenes that tale the tell of Chief Inspector Clouseau who has now acquired legendary status among his allies as well as his enemies. Clouseau is now missing so many familiar faces from his past are brought in for questioning. The scenes of Inspector Clouseau are through flashbacks as each character shares their own story. Honestly, this is the worst installment out of the series and not that funny. I guess Blake Edwards made this movie as a tribute to his old friend who passed away in 1980 or maybe the studio wanted to cash in on some of the unused footage from the previous movies. Either way, it wasn’t a very good decision to do this and end the comedy series on such a low note.

Run Time: 97 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Surround 5.1 / DTS-HD Master Stereo 2.0 / DTS-HD Master Mono

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include some all-new audio commentary as well as vintage bonus material imported over from previous home video releases that includes trailers and some image galleries.

  • NEW Audio Commentary by author and film historian William Patrick Maynard
  • Theatrical Trailers (03:22)
  • Still Gallery (02:19)
  • Poster Gallery (02:23)
  • Rare Image Gallery (01:36)

The packaging comes with a slipcase with a blue plastic keepcase inside. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes special features for each movie and some images. The reverse sleeve features movie credits. There’s also a nice 28-page booklet inside that includes information about the movies, more images and posters. All six of the Blu-ray discs are black and white in color and feature the movie logos and of course some pink paw prints – a nice touch. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate plus there are more pink paw prints – another a nice touch. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release varied with each disc. There is some grain throughout the series but that’s to be expected considering the age of these movies but I really didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio. I think Shout! Factory did a fantastic job with the high-def upgrades because the movies look and sound great.

Bottom line is, I had an absolute blast checking out The Pink Panther Collection which was also a first time watch for me. I’ve heard about these movies over the years that featured the infamous inspector and that famous theme song but I’d never had the opportunity to witness this comedic perfection until now. Even though Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers didn’t always see eye to eye, the two made an amazing comedy team and you can tell by looking at the finished product on screen. The stories are interesting and the cast of characters are all fun to follow. It’s amazing that Peter Sellers wasn’t even the first choice for the irrepressible and incompetent Inspector Jacques Clouseau but he definitely made this character his own unique and hilarious creation. Five of these six movies are pure comedy gold but not so much for the final installment which came up a little short. All six of these comedies will finally release together in a pristine single collection, with four making their Blu-ray debut, including A Shot in the Dark and The Pink Panther Strikes Again, both presented in new 4K scans of the interpositives. The Pink Panther Collection arrives on a definitive 6-disc Blu-ray set on June 27th from Shout! Factory’s new Shout Select line and comes highly recommended. This is a must have!

 

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