Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
|Year Of Production||1982|
|Running Time||92:49 (Case: 97)|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (55:07)||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, clips from previous films|
The Pink Panther diamond has once more been stolen from its resting place in Lugash. Inspector Clouseau (or chief inspector, as he continually reminds people) is once again assigned the task of catching the thief and returning the diamond.
During the travels that his investigation takes him on, he disappears when a plane goes down in the ocean. TV reporter, Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley), starts to investigate his disappearance to see if there is any dirty work going on in the background, and in doing so she comes across many of his acquaintances from over the years (both friendly and otherwise). What follows is a lot of sitting around talking about Clouseau, peppered with clips from his earlier films, in what is almost like a documentary on Clouseau's history.
A lot of familiar actors from the previous films make appearances, including a very sick-looking and dubbed David Niven, from the movie that started the series, but even they can't save this rather messy effort from becoming a bit of a drag. Oh and as for the Pink Panther being stolen - don't expect any resolution before the credits roll, since it is barely even mentioned again after Clouseau's disappearance (which occurs about 40 minutes into the 93 minute runtime).
Peter Sellers died in July 1980, and yet this, the last Pink Panther film to feature him as Clouseau, was released in 1982. If the timing there seems a bit strange, it's because all the footage containing Sellers is either taken from scenes that were cut from previous movies, or is simply repeats of classic scenes. I can't see inside Blake Edwards' mind, so I'm not sure if this film really was created as a tribute to an old friend, or if he was just flogging a dead cash cow (to mix my metaphors). The films that followed this one would suggest the latter, but I can't say that for a certainty.
As you'd imagine, since they're using pre-existing footage and trying to fit it into a new story, a lot of things about this production seem wrong and out of place. Other parts seem careless and rushed (compare the laughably brief diamond theft with the excellent equivalent in Return of the Pink Panther), and for fans of the series it all just comes across as a little sad, and almost inappropriate. It's true that we get to view some previously unseen footage of Sellers doing his thing, but for the most part it was originally cut for a good reason, and you almost get the feeling that his absence from the production leaves it all a bit soulless. The scene with his Father and the flashbacks to his childhood are somewhat humorous, but without the man himself they just don't cut it.
I certainly wouldn't recommend this as an individual purchase, but since it comes as part of the boxset, I like to view it as a bit of a memorial to Sellers (at times the actors are talking about Clouseau in a way that could be construed as actually talking about the comic genius), and a chance to see just a little more of his work, even if it's not his best. As such it is bearable to watch, but I won't be going for repeated viewings on this one.
The video quality for the most part is up to the standard set in the previous two transfers, but does deteriorate at times when we go into flashbacks from older movies.
This transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness levels are good in the newly shot footage, and vary with the older scenes. There are the occasional soft and grainy shots, such as at 1:03 and 31:29. Black levels for the most part are solid, with decent shadow detail (again this varies with the age of the footage).
Colours are solid and vibrant in the recent footage, with the scenes taken while shooting Trail of the Pink Panther displaying the same washed out look mentioned in its review.
Film to video artefacts are once again mostly noticeable by their absence, with only some slight pixelization evident in the grainy scenes mentioned above. Film artefacts consist of infrequent and tiny specks in the new scenes, but are slightly more frequent and visible during shots taken from the earliest movies.
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. Like all the other discs in this set, the English subtitles are almost spot-on.
The layer change on this RSDL disc takes place at 55:07 and is once again evidence that changes can be almost imperceptible if done right.
Like the video, the audio for this movie has had to be sourced from widely different time periods, but they've done a good job in keeping it all fairly consistent, even if not exactly dynamic.
There are 6 audio 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.
Dialogue levels are fine, unlike some of the discs in this set. Audio sync is also good.
The music by Henry Mancini is a mix of his familiar themes, with music from the original films popping up during flashbacks, and some new material for this outing.
Surrounds are minimally used, only really being noticed during the occasional bit of music.
The subwoofer is barely used - only coming to life for a few explosions.
|Surround Channel Use|
16x9 enhanced static menus, almost identical to the previous efforts.
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and 16x9 enhanced, this trailer is mediocre at best, with another annoying voice-over. Quality is pretty poor as well, with grain evident throughout.
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.
20 minutes or so of previously cut Sellers footage do not a Pink Panther movie make. There are the occasional redeeming factors, but in general it all feels rather forced and a bit sad.
Video is a bit of a mixed bag, being taken from different sources, but in general it's pretty good.
Audio is acceptable for such a film, but it doesn't have a lot to separate it from a 2.0 stereo track.
The only extra is an uninspiring 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|