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HTF REVIEW: The Return of the Pink Panther



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#1 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted January 24 2006 - 04:35 PM

Posted Image
The Return of the Pink Panther
Studio: Universal Studios Home Video / Focus Features
Year: 1975 (2006 Release)
Rated: G
Aspect Ratio: 2.35x1, enhanced for 16x9 displays
Audio: English DD 2.0 (mono)
Captions/Subtitles: English SDH; French and Spanish Subtitles
Time: 1:52:55
Disc Format: SS/DL (DVD-9)
Chapter Stops: 34
Layer Switch:
Insert: None
Theatrical Release Date: May 21, 1975
DVD Release Date: January 10, 2006

The Feature:
A new Inspector Jacques Clouseau is on the horizon, but before we get to see what Steve Martin can do with the bumbling inspector, we have a chance to see once more the one true Clouseau--Peter Sellers--under the auspices of writer / director Blake Edwards in The Return of the Pink Panther. In this third Panther movie featuring Peter Sellers and the direction of Blake Edwards, the fabled Pink Panther diamond has been stolen, and all fingers are pointing to Sir Charles Litton, a.k.a. "The Phantom," (Christopher Plummer) as the prime suspect. The trouble is, he didn't do it. Clouseau is put on the case, much to the chagrin of Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). Hilarity ensues.

If you have seen the Pink Panther movies, you know the formula. Your reaction to it is going to be related to your tolerance of slapstick, bad pronunciation, silly disguises, and Peter Sellers. I kind of like it, although I fully admit that when I first saw these movies, I was a tweener with little taste. This time, I struggled to keep from using the fast forward button to get through the seven hour length. Oh, sorry, it is just under two hours. Sometimes it just felt like seven.

And that is okay. With the right crowd and attitude, and maybe a little alcohol, I can see laughing yourself silly at some of The Return of the Pink Panther. At least, the movie is better than the dreadful sequels that followed.

The Feature: 3 / 5
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


Video:
I never saw the first DVD release perpetuated by Artisan, but it was reportedly non-anamorphic widescreen. This new release sports a new transfer, 2.35x1 widescreen, and enhanced for 16x9 displays. The mid-Seventies colors by Deluxe are a little garish, but generally bright. The picture is a little soft; there is some grain, and traces of ringing around edges that might be taken for edge enhancement. The picture has some dirt and wear. But by and large, it is not bad for a 31-year-old film.

Video: 3 / 5
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Sound:
The sound is the original, non-distinct monophonic, in Dolby Digital 2.0. There is some bass extension and highs, particularly in Henry Mancini's fun score. But this is not demo material.

Sound: 2.5 / 5
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image


Extras:
There are no extras, unless you include the skippable trailers for The Big Lebowski, the utterly forgettable The Wedding Date, the campy Father of the Pride, and the quirky Northern Exposure.

Extras: 0 / 5


In Conclusion:
The Return of the Pink Panther is a fun little diversion, and the DVD is not bad considering the price (under $10 at some stores). I think I will pull this out for my usual Friday gathering and see how it is received.

Overall Rating (excluding lack of supplements): 3 / 5
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image




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#2 of 16 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted January 24 2006 - 05:30 PM

Question...as we all know, all United Artists definitely owns of this film now is its theatrical distribution (parent company MGM/Sony/Comcast holds the theatrical rights to the ITC library). Steve, who currently is the copyright holder? It should be listed on the packaging of the new DVD from Universal/Focus...

And a correction..."Return" was the fourth film in the "Panther" series, after "The Pink Panther", "A Shot In The Dark", and "Inspector Clouseau" (despite the fact that neither Sellers or Edwards was involved in the latter).

#3 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted January 24 2006 - 11:48 PM

Thanks for the correction.

I can't read the fine print on the box, but I do see the ITC, Focus Features, and Universal Studios Home Video logos.

- Steve

#4 of 16 OFFLINE   Jeffrey Nelson

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:04 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU made by a different studio and crew entirely? So, then, it isn't part of the series proper, is it?

And, re: the "dreadful" sequels, you must not have seen THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN, because it's absolutely top-notch IMO.

#5 of 16 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted January 25 2006 - 06:49 PM

INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU was made by different writers and producers, but otherwise released by the same studio, United Artists, and yes, counts as part of the Pink Panther series.

#6 of 16 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 25 2006 - 08:25 PM

Quote:
And, re: the "dreadful" sequels, you must not have seen THE PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN, because it's absolutely top-notch IMO.

Absolutely!

Return and Strikes Again, are in my
opinion, the best of the Panther series. Strikes
Again
takes top honors by far.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#7 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted January 26 2006 - 01:46 AM

I'll have to see it (probably again). I have distant memories of one with the wacko Herbert Lom sitting on some sort of laser, and with Clouseau doing an impersonation of Toulouse-Lautrec / Maurice Chevalier. Is that "Strikes Again" or "Revenge of the Pink Panther"?

One thing I did see that looks like fun: the Pink Panther cartoons are about to be released in a 5-disc set. I always liked those.

- Steve

#8 of 16 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 26 2006 - 04:02 AM

Steve,

That would be Strikes Again

Ronald J Epstein
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#9 of 16 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted January 26 2006 - 02:29 PM

I saw this one for the first time when I was 4(!)[Dad is a hardcore Sellers fan]. It's still my favourite of the sequels. I think I'll have to pick this up.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#10 of 16 OFFLINE   Dave Scarpa

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Posted January 29 2006 - 05:18 PM

I believe Strikes Again is Out this Tuesday.
My DVD Collection

The Megaplex

#11 of 16 OFFLINE   Ron Morgan

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Posted January 30 2006 - 04:35 PM

Quote:
I have distant memories of one with the wacko Herbert Lom sitting on some sort of laser, and with Clouseau doing an impersonation of Toulouse-Lautrec / Maurice Chevalier. Is that "Strikes Again" or "Revenge of the Pink Panther"?


Well, it was Sellers on the laser and that was STRIKES AGAIN. The Toulouse bit was from REVENGE.

#12 of 16 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted January 30 2006 - 04:49 PM

As I said, the memories were distant. They all begin to blur after a while.

- Steve

#13 of 16 OFFLINE   Jo_C

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Posted February 03 2006 - 05:00 PM

Update, and Steve, if your watching...I took a good look myself at the back cover, and it confirms the copyright holder remains United Artists.

OK, guys, now you know who the real copyright holder is.

#14 of 16 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted February 04 2006 - 03:54 AM

I was pleasantly surprised to find the entire series on sale at my local supermarket. $9.99 each. Buy 2, get 1 free. So I bought 'em all.

At first glance, the new transfers look excellent.

#15 of 16 OFFLINE   MarcoBiscotti

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Posted February 04 2006 - 07:47 AM

I'm not sure about the individual titles... but the PP Cartoon Collection came with a $10 discount coupon for any of the remaining MGM Pink Panther films, the complete black vinyl box set released last year or the individual cartoon discs. A pretty amazing offer considering what these individual titles retail for. You can basically grab any one of the MGM films for around $5.

I already own them all though, and unfortunately it doesn't apply to the Universal release...

#16 of 16 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 04 2006 - 11:53 AM

FYE was advertising Return for $9.99 and had cards all over the place promoting it. I tried looking for a copy but it seemed to be out. I asked the cashier and she said there's no record of it in their database.





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