Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
|Year Of Production||1978|
|Running Time||94:51 (Case: 99)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (50:28)||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||No|
This is the last real Pink Panther movie made with any contribution from Peter Sellers, and the third in the three-movie deal that began with Return of the Pink Panther. The shift to slapstick and visual humour is even more noticeable in this outing than it was in the previous two.
A drug deal between the "French Connection" and a New York Godfather is going sour, and could possibly be cut short. In an attempt to impress New York, and make a show of the power his organisation still wields, Philippe Douvier (Robert Webber) offers to kill the famous Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), in order to get the deal back on track.
After one bungled attempt to assassinate Clouseau with a "berm", it seems that the next effort is successful, and France goes into mourning at the loss of her favourite police officer (well, most of France anyway). One person who's overjoyed at the news of Clouseau's death is Ex-Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), who contrary to the ending of the previous film, is still in an insane asylum. Now free of his nemesis, he is released to lead the investigation into Clouseau's murder.
Of course Clouseau is not actually dead, and is now able to go "under the covers" in his own little investigation. Through no skill on his part, he actually manages to discover the connection between his would-be assassins and the New York gangsters, who are very close to closing the whole drug deal.
Can he stop them in time? Will Dreyfus continue to be haunted by his "ghost"? Will he get the girl in the end? Will his disguises manage to get any more outrageous? Will the "Silver Bullet" ever get the service that it's due? At least some of these questions will be answered before the credits roll, and in the process there'll be lots of gags and Clouseau-style mayhem.
If you watched the original Pink Panther movie, and then jumped straight to this offering, you'd be hard-pressed to see any similarities. However, as the process of change had been a gradual one over a series of films, this really does just appear to be the next step in the evolution. I don't really know how much further they could have gone though, had Sellers lived longer, because it's almost as if they were starting to lose their direction, and even running out of ideas a little. I'm not saying that this movie isn't funny - it has some absolutely classic moments, such as Clouseau's salty sea dog and Godfather impersonations - but in my mind it's the least entertaining of the three films made in the 1970s.
Cato (Burt Kwouk) plays a much larger role in this movie, and some of the scenes with himself and Clouseau are straight out of the Laurel and Hardy textbook. Dreyfus' role, however, is almost a cameo until the end of the film, compared with his role in Strikes Again.
All up though, this movie is a worthwhile addition to the set, even if it's just to watch Sellers do his classic impression of a Brando-style Godfather. It also allows us to see some of Sellers' last good work before he died, and in that sense provides us with some fond last memories of the man. It's just not up to the standard of some of the other films in the series.
(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.)
I've almost painted myself into a bit of a corner by giving high scores to the previous video transfers in this boxset, because now I don't really have anywhere to go for what is the best transfer in the set so far. It's still not perfect though, and so cannot receive 5 stars.
This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original theatrical aspect ratio.
Sharpness in general is excellent, especially considering the age of the source. However, as with the previous movie in the series, there are multiple instances of soft focus and over-contrasting white lighting. Examples such as 4:39, 32:31, and 41:38 are only a few instances of what creates a frequent Charlie's Angels look, and it's not even exclusive to when there are young women in the shot. Due to the era of the production, and the fact that the same problem was visible in the previous film, I'm assuming that this is an artistic choice and is inherent in the source, as opposed to an issue with the transfer. Black levels are great, and shadow detail is fine as well.
Colours are improved over the slightly washed-out look of the previous film, and are deep, rich and accurate. The only exception is during the soft-focus shots mentioned above, where the white lighting is dominant and colours appear paler. The film was shot in Europe and Hong Kong, where both lighting and colours aren't as harsh or vivid as you'd expect of something shot in say California, but there are still some very lush scenes. Take for example the red interiors at 38:35.
Film to video artefacts are pretty much absent, with film artefacts also being at an absolute bare minimum. Credit to the people that mastered this transfer.
There are 14 subtitle streams on this disc; 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 stream, and much like all the previous discs in the set, these ones are easy to read and very accurate.
This is an RSDL disc with the layer change taking place at 50:28. I've been very impressed with the discreet layer changes on all these discs, and this one is no exception.
Another Dolby Digital 5.1 remix of the original soundtrack, which continues the trend of slightly increased use of the 5.1 format in each movie.
There are 6 tracks on this DVD; 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 only.
After good mixes on the previous two movies of this set, for some reason the dialogue is mixed at too low a volume level on this disc. In the opening scenes I had to crank my volume up to hear the actors clearly, and then I was almost blasted out of my chair when the theme music kicked in over the credits. I really dislike dialogue levels being too low in an audio transfer, and found it did affect my enjoyment of this film. I must admit though that it did seem to improve as the film progressed, but this may have just been me getting used to it. Dialogue was clear enough when audible, and there were no problems with lip sync.
Music by the great Henry Mancini is unfortunately not so great. The famous theme tune has been modified to a 1970s version, which is rather painful to listen to, and the rest of the score is not particularly notable. Admittedly I did think the brass band music for the final chase scene really added to the atmosphere, but until then I'd barely even noticed the music.
The surrounds are used slightly more than any of the previous movies, and are effective when brought to life, but they're still not used an awful lot. Music, thunder, rain and a climactic fireworks scene are the only sounds that require your rears to be present.
Finally the subwoofer starts to make its presence known. Although not a bass-heavy track by any means, we still get music, thunder, and multiple explosions making use of our friend in the corner.
|Surround Channel Use|
Once again the same menu theme is used, and they are 16x9 enhanced. It would appear that only the first movie warranted animation and music in the menus.
The worst trailer in the series so far, as an annoying voice-over (who repeatedly gets Clouseau's name wrong) takes us through some short clips from the movie. This trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, but not 16x9 enhanced, and is very 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.
Sadly Sellers' final input into the Pink Panther series, and although not one of the best of the films, it still contains some classic moments of his genius at work. Definitely worth watching for fans and completists alike, but would also provide some easy laughs for most people.
The video transfer is of excellent quality.
Audio is more than adequate for this type of film, with the only blemish being the sometimes low volume of the dialogue.
The only extra on this disc is a very mediocre theatrical trailer.
|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|