The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)
|Year Of Production||1976|
|Running Time||99:08 (Case: 106)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:24)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Blake Edwards|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, cartoon action in background|
With the aim of revitalising slightly flagging careers, and making some money, Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers agreed on reviving Inspector Clouseau in a trilogy of Pink Panther movies. The first of these, Return of the Pink Panther, was released 11 years after their previous collaboration, A Shot in the Dark, and actually featured the return of the original diamond, as well as the Phantom (played this time by Christopher Plummer). Unfortunately for us, due to some issues with the studio rights, this film is not included in the boxset, which is a sad loss considering it is one of the best in the series. However, we don't lose a great deal of continuity by jumping straight to The Pink Panther Strikes Again, and lets face it, continuity isn't exactly one of the series' strong points.
The movie starts with Ex-Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) inside an asylum, nearing the end of his treatment, and ready to be released that very afternoon. However a short visit from the newly appointed Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) soon has him losing grip on his sanity and also any chance of ever being released.
The opening credits roll, and the next thing we know is that Dreyfus has escaped the asylum, with the sole aim of killing Clouseau. A failed attempt at this sees him raise the bar to a ridiculous height by collecting together the most powerful criminal minds, kidnapping a world-famous scientist, and creating a doomsday weapon. With the world at his mercy, he believes he can finally be rid of his nemesis.
Meanwhile, Clouseau is sent to England to investigate Dreyfus' kidnapping of Dr. Fassbender (Richard Vernon) and his daughter. Whereupon he of course causes havoc and has Scotland Yard's best cowering in fear, until he heads out on the hunt for Dreyfus.
There's really not much more to the plot, but these films aren't about intricate plot details. They're about Sellers showcasing his talents, and being supported by some more-than-capable actors around him, such as Burt Kwouk's Kato (or Cato, as he appears in the credits this time round), and Leonard Rossiter's Inspector Quinlan. The humour is slapstick, reality doesn't really get a look-in (the James Bond type villain and doomsday weapon make James Bond look believable), and the story is secondary, but I defy anyone to sit through this movie and keep a straight face.
No matter how often I see this film, I still cannot help laughing out loud at some of the classic scenes, such as Clouseau's Quasimodo disguise, his parallel bars effort ("That felt good"), the questioning of the staff in the English manor house, his attempts to enter the castle, and so on and so on. This is a far cry from the movie that started the series, but to me it's superior in its comic content, and that's what I watch Pink Panther movies for - comedy.
It's a crying shame that we don't get the excellent Return of the Pink Panther in this boxset, but to look on the positive side, this is also one of the best in the franchise.
(Note: Do not let this or any of the other discs in the set play beyond the end credits, as you will be taken into an endless stream of warnings that will disable all but your eject button. Yes, even the "stop" function is prohibited.)
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.
The sharpness of the image is improved over the earlier films, and details are more visible. For example, look at the red material on Dreyfus' chair at the 45:28 mark, where the texture is clearly visible. There are certain scenes, however, where edges appear softly focussed, with over-contrasting white light being present (for example 14:28 and 79:51). I'm not sure if this is a deliberate choice on behalf of the director, and therefore inherent in the source, or if it's a problem with the transfer. I suspect the former. Black levels are acceptable and shadow detail is adequate.
Colours are not spot-on, with a slightly washed-out and pale appearance (they almost have a "1970s look", although in real life I don't remember all colours being slightly pale during that decade). They are solid though with no technical problems, just sometimes lacking in depth and richness.
The most obvious film to video artefact is the grain and pixelization present in a lot of shots, especially those with blank walls in the background. Just a few examples are at 55:28 and 61:24. There was the occasional film artefact, but really nothing to worry about.
There are a multitude of subtitle streams on this DVD; English for the Hearing Impaired, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, and Czech. I sampled the English subtitles and they were just as accurate as the previous 2 DVDs in the boxset - with only occasional words being omitted.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer-change taking place at 55:24. It's right at the point of a scene transition, and like all the other discs in this set so far is very well placed.
There are 6 audio tracks on this disc; English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s), Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), and Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I listened to the English track.
Dialogue is at a good level, and is clear at all times (with the exception of Clouseau's ridiculous pronunciations, of course). There are no problems with lip sync either.
Music, once again by Henry Mancini, is no longer the same jazzy 1960s sound of the first two films (understandable I suppose, considering the date of production), with the exception of the famous theme tune. The orchestral score though, is dramatic in such a way that it accentuates the humour in some situations, and adds to the mood in other more serious scenes.
The surrounds are used slightly more than the earlier films, with the intro music, gunshots, thunder, and so on, all bringing the rear speakers to life. It's still by no means an immersive track though.
Finally the subwoofer has something to do, albeit very little. Some of the bass in the music and the occasional explosions benefit from the LFE channel.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menus again are presented in the same manner as the rest of the boxset. They are 16x9 enhanced, but lacking the music and animation that the first disc had.
A far less entertaining trailer than those of the first 2 films, this one is more your standard trailer of the time. It contains random shots from the movie with an overly serious voiceover, and some trailer-specific comments from Dreyfus. It's interesting to see some cut scenes in this trailer that would later make it into the messy Trail of the Pink Panther. This trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, and is extremely grainy.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This disc is identical to the equivalent disc in the Region 2 boxset, which has been available since last November. According to the specs, the Region 1 disc will also be practically the same.
The second in what was envisioned as a trilogy of Pink Panther movies, this in my opinion is one of the funniest, as Sellers runs rampant with his character portrayals. The humour is not highbrow, but the execution is sublime.
Video is improved over the earlier films in the set, but it still has its problems.
Audio is more than adequate for such a release.
A theatrical trailer is the only extra.
|DVD||Omni 3600, using RGB output|
|Display||Sony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS797- THX Select|
|Speakers||Accusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer|