Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

The Pink Panther-Film Collection (1963)

The Pink Panther-Film Collection (1963)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

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Overall Package

    A DVD boxset that contains some absolutely classic moments in comedy cinema. From the somewhat slower, more reserved first film in the franchise, building up to the slapstick over-the-top humour in the 1970s efforts, and declining rapidly in the last film of the set, there are hours of entertainment to be had here.

    We do miss out on some of the other related movies, such as Inspector Clouseau and Curse Of The Pink Panther, but for the most part I wouldn't really call these a loss, since Peter Sellers wasn't involved in their production. The only real loss is Return Of The Pink Panther, which MGM doesn't currently hold the rights to. Here's hoping a decent release of this is forthcoming (I don't consider the current Region 1 release to be decent).

    Video quality is on the whole very good. Although it varies from film to film, this is understandable considering the almost 20 year gap between the oldest and newest in the set. Audio is also more than adequate for such films, with the only annoying niggle being the poor dialogue levels on the first and fourth discs.

    Extras are mostly found on their own disc, with 3 substantial documentaries, plus a selection of shorter, yet very entertaining, featurettes and cartoons. Each disc also contains the theatrical trailer for the relevant movie, and the first disc gives us a commentary by Blake Edwards (which is less than riveting) accompanied by a trivia track (which is fascinating).

    The discs are packaged in a colourful pink gatefold, but we do not get the booklet that came with the Region 2 version.

    For fans of the Pink Panther franchise I can almost unreservedly recommend you go out and buy this boxset forthwith! The only reason it's not an unreserved recommendation is the fact that we are missing out on the excellent Return Of The Pink Panther. However, we have the other important movies looking better than they have since they were first released, combined with decent audio, and extras that are actually worth watching (for the most part). At this point in time, it's by far the best way to buy them.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Thursday, April 15, 2004
Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - James A
AllZone4DVD - TerryJ

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Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

The Pink Panther (1963)

The Pink Panther (1963)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Blake Edwards (Director)
Informational Subtitles-Trivia Track
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1963
Running Time 110:22 (Case: 115)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (53:34) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Blake Edwards
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring David Niven
Peter Sellers
Robert Wagner
Capucine
Brenda de Banzie
Colin Gordon
John Le Mesurier
James Lanphier
Guy Thomajan
Michael Trubshawe
Riccardo Billi
Meri Welles
Martin Miller
Case Gatefold
RPI $89.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
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)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Czech
English Audio Commentary
German Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
Spanish Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
English Information
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The Pink Panther tells the story of a rare pink diamond that, through a slight imperfection, reveals the image of a panther when viewed through the right light. Actually, the story is centred around the people who are trying to steal it, and the people who want to stop those who want to steal it. Not exactly a convoluted plot, but then in this case, it doesn't really need to be.

    David Niven plays Sir Charles Lytton (a.k.a the Phantom), a notorious gentleman jewel thief in the vein of Raffles. His latest plan is to steal the Pink Panther from Princess Dala (Claudia Cardinale) while she is holidaying in the Italian Alps. Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is the clumsy, infantile, yet dogged French Inspector who has been hunting the Phantom for years, and believes he is almost within his grasp. Knowing that the Pink Panther will be too much of a temptation for the Phantom, Clouseau heads to the Italian ski resort as well, with his wife (Capucine), in order to keep watch on the Princess.

    Unbeknownst to Clouseau, his wife is also Charles Lytton's lover, whom she aids in his less-than-honest ventures, and one would assume also makes sure he always stays a step ahead of the police (although with Clouseau on the case, it's questionable whether any help would be needed).

    With the Princess, Charles, Clouseau and the police all converging on the resort, Charles Lytton's nephew, George (Robert Wagner), also shows up, becoming a bit of a fly in the ointment for Charles' well-laid plans. What follows is a lot of stageplay-type shenanigans taking place in different rooms, Inspector Clouseau bumbling around without a clue, women looking suitably European and glamorous, mistaken identities occurring, and even a car chase in the streets of Rome.

    It could sound like any one of many similar films produced in the 1950s, 1960s or even 1970s (What's Up Doc? springs to mind), but it does stand out as unique. Personally I believe this is due to the genius of Sellers, since the rest of the movie, while not bad, doesn't really contain much that separates it from many other similar films that have slipped into obscurity over the years.

    Although he's not even the main character in this film, The Pink Panther introduced the world to Sellers' Inspector Clouseau, who would quickly spawn his own franchise. In this first outing though, his accent is more understated, and we don't see a lot of things that were later to become part of his character (such as his disguises, his fights with Kato, and so on). At the time of writing, the only way to purchase this disc in Region 4 is as part of a box-set that contains most of the related movies that Sellers was involved in, so it's very interesting to watch them in order and see the character develop. This isn't the best of the bunch, but it's a taste of things to come.

    (Note: Do not let this or any of the other discs in the set go 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.)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Remastered for this box set, the first in the series is showing its age in some respects, but is still a decent video transfer.

    This transfer is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Sharpness levels are acceptable for a source that's over 40 years old, although certainly not as crystal clear and sharp as a recent release. Black levels are good with no signs of low-level noise, and shadow detail is acceptable.

    Colours have that look of many a 1960s movie - in other words not totally accurate (best demonstrated by the skin tones). However the mix of bright clothing set against a lot of white snow is a good test for bleeding, and the transfer is more than up to the task. Colours are bright, solid, and don't display any chroma noise.

    I didn't see any MPEG compression artefacts, and film to video artefacts are noticeable by their absence. However, from the very start of the film there are numerous film artefacts present, consisting mostly of little white specks. On a large screen these quickly become quite annoying. However, on a smaller screen (such as a 68cm TV or less), I imagine they wouldn't be nearly so distracting. There is also the occasional minor grain.

    There are a plethora of subtitle streams on this disc - 21 to be exact, if you include the trivia stream; English for the Hearing Impaired, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Greek, Turkish, Czech, English Audio Commentary, German Audio Commentary, French Audio Commentary, Italian Audio Commentary, Spanish Audio Commentary, Dutch Audio Commentary, and English Information. I sampled the English for the Hearing Impaired and found it to be suitably accurate, and in fact quite helpful for some of the dialogue that wasn't overly clear.

    This is an RSDL disc, and the layer change takes place quite unobtrusively at 53:34.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Although heralded as a remastered Dolby Digital 5.1 track, there really isn't much use of the 5.1 format, and the sound in general leaves a little to be desired.

    There are 7 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), Czech Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s), and English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 and the English Audio Commentary tracks.

    Dialogue left a little to be desired. I found the volume level was unbalanced compared to the music and sound effects, meaning that if I wanted to hear the dialogue clearly I needed to set the volume to a level that was too high for all other sounds. This is actually one of my pet hates, and I found it rather annoying. Also the audio sync is not particularly good, with many examples of lips not matching the spoken word exactly (35:25 and 65:32, to name just 2 examples). Apparently all of Claudia Cardinale's dialogue was dubbed in post-production, but it's not just her who is the victim of poor ADR work.

    The music by Henry Mancini includes the now famous Pink Panther theme, as well as a score that is similarly suitable to the on-screen action. This adds greatly to the mood of the film.

    The surrounds were very rarely used. I only noticed them occasionally during some of the music.

    I didn't hear the subwoofer come to life at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    Menus are 16x9 enhanced, with a mixture of real-life clips and cartoon animation, as well as the famous theme music looping in the background. They're some of the better menus I've seen recently.

Audio Commentary - Blake Edwards (Director)

    I was quite looking forward to this extra, as I'd never heard the man talk at any length before. However it turned out to be a little disappointing, as he talks slowly with long and frequent pauses, in a manner that is far from captivating. However, considering Edwards is over 80 now, I guess that's somewhat to be expected, and we should be thankful they even got him into the recording booth to do this commentary.

    It's not really that bad a commentary, since we do get lots of little gems of info as Edwards reminisces about the actors (including his relationship with Sellers), the crew, the music, and the shooting process (but mostly about the actors). It's just a shame that a lot of the best stuff is repeated in the much more informative Trivia Track, making this commentary almost seem unnecessary.

Informational Subtitles - Trivia Track

    Now this is an extra that far exceeded my expectations. I've found these sorts of trivia subtitle streams to be of very varied quality over the discs I've viewed that contain them. This one was excellent though - full of interesting, informative, and humorous facts and anecdotes, presented inside little pink boxes that appear all over the screen, and are easy to read.

    There's a lot of info on the actors (for example, David Niven was a Commando in World War II), but there's also loads of trivia on the Pink Panther series, the cartoons, the music, the crew, the story, the locations, and so on, and so on. There's barely a moment without a fact up on screen, and I highly recommend you take the time to view this extra.

Theatrical Trailer (3:39)

    A rather different, and rather cool little trailer which contains an "interview" with the cartoon Pink Panther, punctuated with short clips from the film. They don't make 'em like this anymore. Presented in a non-16x9 enhanced aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound, the quality isn't really anything to write home about.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This set has been available in Region 2 since last November, and from what I can ascertain is absolutely identical to our version. The set is also being released in Region 1 on the same date as ours, and looks to contain all the same features. When reviews are available from the US I'll update this section if needs be.

Summary

    The film which started one of the most successful movie franchises, and launched one of the most beloved flawed characters in comic history. This is very different to the later Clouseau vehicles (he's not even the main character here), with more of a 1960s caper feel to it, but it has some fine acting, classic comedy moments, and one genius of a comedian. Still holds up ok today, and is worth a viewing, but without Clouseau it would be far less entertaining.

    The video transfer is quite good, considering the age of the source.

    The audio transfer left a little to be desired, but is adequate for a film such as this, which doesn't rely on immersive sound to keep the viewer's interest.

    Extras include a commentary, a very interesting trivia track, and a rather different theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add)
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Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

Shot in the Dark, A (1964)

Shot in the Dark, A (1964)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 98:06 (Case: 102)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:33) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Blake Edwards
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Peter Sellers
Elke Sommer
George Sanders
Herbert Lom
Tracy Reed
Graham Stark
Moira Redmond
Vanda Godsell
Maurice Kaufmann
Ann Lynn
David Lodge
André Maranne
Martin Benson
Case Gatefold
RPI $89.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Czech
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Made only a year after The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark was originally going to have nothing whatsoever to do with Inspector Clouseau. After Peter Sellers had some grievances with the original script though, he and Blake Edwards discussed the idea of making the key character into the already familiar Clouseau, rather than create a new persona. Hence the fact that the resolution of the previous film's ending is never addressed. This movie also has nothing whatsoever to do with the Pink Panther, like nearly all the sequels, but here they don't even use the name in the title. Being included in a boxset of Pink Panther movies only serves to illustrate once again that when people hear "Pink Panther" they are actually thinking "Inspector Clouseau".

    This time round the bumbling inspector (Peter Sellers) is sent to investigate the murder of a chauffeur at the mansion of millionaire Benjamin Ballon (George Sanders). The most obvious suspect is the maid, Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer), whom Clouseau is immediately attracted to and convinced she couldn't have committed the crime. With the opening of the movie clearly showing that there is a large amount of unfaithfulness going on amongst the many couples in the house, it seems that everyone could be a suspect. The possibilities begin to narrow though, as the body count increases, with Maria always being present at the scene of the crime.

    Clouseau is so convinced that the beautiful Maria could not be guilty that he continually releases her from jail in order to draw the real murderer out into the open. His actions cause his immediate superior, Chief-Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), to start losing grip of his sanity, as well as having the French public wondering whether he is trying to capture or seduce the killer. The rest of the film sees a trail of death and destruction following Clouseau around, as he bumbles his way towards what he sees as a masterful reveal in the mansion, with all its occupants present.

    There really isn't that much more to the plot, as it's mostly a vehicle for Sellers to develop the character of Clouseau (he starts using the over-exaggerated accent about half way through this film, since that was when he first heard the Frenchman who gave him the idea), and create new ones with his soon-to-be-famous disguises. We also get introduced to Kato (Burt Kwouk), Clouseau's manservant/martial arts trainer, and Dreyfus, who would both play increasing roles in later films.

    I will confess that I am a big Peter Sellers fan, and for all his faults and failings the man was a comic genius. Being a fan of the Goon Show I have to laugh whenever Clouseau uses lines from Major Bloodnok, one of Seller's most beloved characters from the radio show. As such, I am biased towards any movie that showcases his talents, which became more and more the case as this franchise continued. To me this is the first movie that actually feels like what I see in my mind as a Pink Panther movie (rather ironic really). So despite its obvious origins in a stage play (there's a lot of extended scenes with people standing/sitting around in rooms, spouting dialogue), there's enough Clouseau here to keep me more than happy.

    I assume that only a fan of the franchise would be buying the boxset that this disc comes in, and any fan will certainly enjoy this instalment.

    (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.)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very similar to the first movie in the boxset, which isn't surprising considering they were made only a year apart. It's certainly not a perfect transfer, but it is the best this film has looked since its theatrical release.

    This transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    Sharpness is not up to a perfect standard, but considering the age of the film is pretty good. There are occasionally some soft, grainy shots which do stand out, such as at 20:35 and 88:30. There are a number of dark scenes with people slinking around in shadows, and these have good solid black levels, but shadow detail is often lacking. An example of this can be seen at 47:33.

    Colours are very similar to the first film, being not totally accurate, and showing the age of the film stock a little. However, they are solid, and don't show any signs of bleeding.

    There are no MPEG compression artefacts, and film to video artefacts in general are pretty much absent. In the way of film artefacts, there are occasional specks, but they are nowhere near as bad as The Pink Panther, and do not detract from the viewing experience.

    There are 14 subtitle streams; 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 for the Hearing Impaired, and like the first movie, these ones were almost spot-on, with only the occasional words missing.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer-change taking place at 51:30. It is almost invisible on the two DVD players I tested it with.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Another 5.1 remastered soundtrack which in practice is more like a 3.0 track. It's certainly acceptable for the style of film this is, though.

    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 clear and easy to understand. I didn't notice any problems with lip sync.

    The music, by Henry Mancini once again, is very suited to the action, and is as good as the first film. It consists mainly of brass band jazz sounds, which really add to the mood.

    The surrounds are almost never used. In fact, the only time I got a hint of sound coming from them was during some of the music.

    Once again I didn't hear the subwoofer kick into life at all.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus follow on with the same look as the first movie in the set, being 16x9 enhanced, but with no animation or music.

Theatrical Trailer (3:35)

    Another entertaining trailer, similar to the one made for the first film. This has another cartoon character (a bullet) discussing the movie, interspersed with short comic scenes from the movie (mostly of Sellers, who had already become the selling point). It is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced, with very grainy image quality. Sound is Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Once again this disc is identical to the Region 2 version, which has been available since last November. According to the specs, the Region 1 disc will also be practically the same.

Summary

    Starting to get into more familiar territory as far as what the franchise was to later become, this offering sees the character of Inspector Clouseau beginning to cement himself as the most dignified bumbling idiot the world has ever seen. Despite the inferior cast and script, I actually enjoy this movie more than the first one in the series. A must-watch for Sellers fans.

    Video is not the best restoration you'll ever see, but for a 40 year old film, it is certainly watchable.

    Audio once again isn't really a 5.1 mix, but there aren't the same problems that were present on the first disc.

    Extras consist of an entertaining theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Thursday, April 01, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
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
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Peter Sellers
Herbert Lom
Lesley-Anne Down
Burt Kwouk
Colin Blakely
Leonard Rossiter
André Maranne
Byron Kane
Dick Crockett
Richard Vernon
Briony McRoberts
Dudley Sutton
Murray Kash
Case Gatefold
RPI $89.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Czech
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, cartoon action in background

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.)

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Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    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.

Theatrical Trailer (2:36)

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Sunday, April 04, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add)
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Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
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
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Peter Sellers
Herbert Lom
Burt Kwouk
Dyan Cannon
Robert Webber
Tony Beckley
Robert Loggia
Paul Stewart
André Maranne
Graham Stark
Alfie Bass
Sue Lloyd
Danny Schiller
Case Gatefold
RPI $89.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Czech
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.)

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    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.

Theatrical Trailer (2:17)

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Tuesday, April 06, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke
Web Wombat - James A

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
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
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Peter Sellers
David Niven
Harold Berens
Ronald Fraser
Rich Little
Harold Kasket
Herbert Lom
Richard Mulligan
André Maranne
Joanna Lumley
Capucine
Robert Loggia
Harvey Korman
Case Gatefold
RPI $89.95 Music Henry Mancini


Video Audio
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
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Portuguese
Greek
Turkish
Czech
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, clips from previous films

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    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.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    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.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    16x9 enhanced static menus, almost identical to the previous efforts.

Theatrical Trailer (2:10)

    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.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    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.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Friday, April 09, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Anthony Clarke

Comments (Add)
Sellers is great, rest is rubbish - Sean Brady

Overall | The Pink Panther (1963) | Shot in the Dark, A (1964) | The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) | Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) | Trail of the Pink Panther (1982) | The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

The Pink Panther-Film Collection: Extras Disc

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Released 5-Apr-2004

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-The Pink Panther Story
Featurette-That's Panthertainment
Featurette-The Unknown Peter Sellers
TV Spots-The Commercial Peter Sellers
Featurette-Making Of-TWA Commercials
Featurette-Behind The Feline: The Cartoon Phenomenon
Short Film-Original Pink Panther Cartoons (6)
Gallery-Photo-Shots In the Dark
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 117:01
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By None Given
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring None Given
Case Gatefold
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
Spanish
Dutch
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    It's a bit hard to give a plot synopsis for what is basically a disc full of extras, but there are 3 main documentaries to be found on this DVD, so I'll consider those to be the main features. These documentaries are as follows:

The Pink Panther Story (28:42)

    This is a recently produced documentary (I assume made especially for these DVDs), which covers the Pink Panther series as depicted in this boxset. In other words it goes into very little, if any, detail on the movies missing from the DVD set. It's a fairly interesting, but fairly brief, look into the evolution of the franchise and how the first movie's troubled beginnings actually led to what was to come (only casting problems brought Peter Sellers onto the set).

    This documentary includes a lot of interview segments with people involved in the production of the different movies, including such influentials as Blake Edwards and Walter Mirisch. These interviews are interspersed with footage and photos from the films and from behind the scenes. My only complaint is the way they rushed through the last 3 films contained in the DVD boxset, since there was such an informative build up when covering the first 2 films. It's still well worth a look though, even if for nothing more than some insight into the relationship between Sellers and Edwards.

That's Panthertainment (46:41)

    Probably the least substantial of the documentaries due to its promotional overtones (this was produced in 1978 to promote Revenge of the Pink Panther), but there are still some gems to be found within.

    This documentary starts off in Hawaii where the world premiere of Revenge is taking place, and we get to sit in on some of the interviews with the stars during the press junket. All I can say is that if this is a selection of the best interview questions, I dread to think what the others must have been like! Of novelty interest though, to hear the stars talking about the film and the characters, with some ignorant comments by Steve Martin being one of the highlights.

    Other things contained in this documentary are clips from the various movies, behind the scenes footage, and even some out-takes (one of the redeeming features). The way everything has been put together, though, all seems rather disjointed and badly organised. It's certainly not a stellar feature, but is worth at least one viewing for the novelty interest Pink Panther fans will get from it. I don't think I'd be watching it again though.

The Unknown Peter Sellers (51:38)

    In my opinion, the best item on this extras disc. It's a recently produced documentary on the life of Peter Sellers, but it wasn't produced specifically for this DVD set (I recall seeing this on TV somewhere before). This really is a quite in-depth look at Sellers, starting with his childhood and how his parents introduced him to performing at a very young age! It goes through his schooldays, teen years, and so on, right up until his death from a heart attack.

    There are contributing interviews with people who knew, worked with, and admired him, including Harry Secombe, Michael Palin, and Blake Edwards. His years in The Goon Show receive quite a bit of coverage, which I was pleased about, as well as his early days in British cinema.

    There is a lot of footage of some of his more obscure performances, including some movies that never even made it to the cinemas, as well as insight into what drove him to try out alternative roles. His friends speak openly about his personal life and his inability to really know who he was outside of his many manufactured characters.

    Many little trivia facts litter this documentary, which will be of interest to fans of Sellers (his love of Stan Laurel makes it clear why some of the scenes in Revenge seem so familiar), and although I'd watched this before, I'd forgotten many of these intriguing bits of info.

    Although somewhat sad in the long run, this is a highly informative and entertaining look at the life of a comic genius - a term that is far too often thrown about these days, but which genuinely applied to Peter Sellers. I strongly recommend you check this one out.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Video quality is really varied, due to the widely varying source material.

    All documentaries are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and are of course not 16x9 enhanced. Clips taken from movies are presented in varying letterboxed formats.

    Sharpness varies widely, with the new documentaries exhibiting excellent clarity of detail in their recent footage (such as the interview segments), but not so good during archival footage. Some of this transfer is even sourced from old home movies, so as you'd expect this is very poor in almost every aspect. The second documentary betrays its age with grainy images, lack of detail, and soft edges throughout the whole thing.

    Colours again vary greatly, from solid and vibrant to washed-out and faded (with most areas in between being covered as well).

    A lot of the older footage has film artefacts galore, but the new material is very clean and artefact free.

    There are 6 subtitle streams on this DVD; English for the Hearing Impaired, German for the Hearing Impaired, French, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch. I sampled the English ones, and like those found on all the other discs in this set, they are more than acceptable. Note that all the extras on the disc have subtitles available, including the commercials and short cartoons.

    This is a dual layered disc, but I assume the change takes place between the extras as it isn't visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There is just the one audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) .

    Most dialogue is clear and understandable, with the exception of some of the older footage, and some parts of the older, second documentary.

    There is no surround speaker or subwoofer use, and you wouldn't really expect it either with this material.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The 16x9 enhanced menus are similar to all other menus found in this set, but like the first movie's (and unlike the others), these are animated with music looping in the background.

TV Spots - The Commercial Peter Sellers (10:02)

    A look at the commercials that Sellers resorted to making during times of financial need. Although all the contents of this area are listed in the one menu, they can be broken up into three parts:

Featurette - Behind The Feline: The Cartoon Phenomenon (10:50)

    A short look at the successful career for the pink cartoon character that blossomed out of the first film's credits. Includes interview footage (mostly with one of the co-creators, David DePatie), and clips from the cartoons. These shorts certainly did capture people's imagination (at least the early, decent ones did), and I didn't realise that the first cartoon featuring the panther won an Oscar for short animation.

Short Film - Original Pink Panther Cartoons (6)

    Over a hundred theatrical shorts were created featuring the strangely coloured feline. This section contains a selection, including the first one to be released. Anyone who's familiar with the cartoons will know what to expect - visual humour that is certainly able to be laughed at by adults and children alike. Some are better than others, and all run for around 6 minutes. They are as follows:

    These are the older cartoons which were still of a high standard, before things started going downhill in later episodes. Also, the last cartoon is not actually a Pink Panther short, but rather one of the offshoot Inspector series which involved a bungling French Inspector who is based on Clouseau.

    Note that, as with the commercials section, there is no "Play All" option with these cartoons. Both these sections could really use one.

    Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, the video quality is actually not too bad, despite showing its age. They've cleaned up the source nicely.

Gallery-Photo-Shots In the Dark (7:12)

    A series of 108 black and white photos taken during the production of the first movie. These rather small photos rotate of their own accord, and are of only limited interest.

R4 vs R1

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.

Summary

    A very decent extras package with one good documentary on the movies, one average documentary on the movies, and one great documentary on Peter Sellers. The sort of person who would buy this boxset will most definitely want to check out this disc.

    Video is a real mixed bag, with the footage shot specifically for this set being very good, but the older stuff leaving a lot to be desired.

    Audio is acceptable, and varies with the source.

    Extras include a smattering of items that are, for the most part, well worth at least one viewing.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
What? No Inspector Clouseau movie in the boxset? - REPLY POSTED