The Return of the Pink Panther (Umbrella) (1975)
|Year Of Production||1975|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (68:34)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Language Select Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||Blake Edwards|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
The Pink Panther series of films has seen a variety of lead actors from the sublime (Peter Sellers) to the ridiculous (Roberto Benigni). More recently, two new films have been made starring Steve Martin. It would seem that the appeal of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau continues regardless of actor. Sellers made 5 films as Inspector Clouseau (assuming you don't count ones with stitched together old footage), four of which are available in The Pink Panther Movie Collection previously released locally by MGM. The other one, made in 1975, is this one, The Return of the Pink Panther which is not included in the collection as the rights are owned by Universal rather than MGM. It was the fourth made in the series (counting the Alan Arkin starring Inspector Clouseau) and has previously been released on DVD in Region 4 by Universal themselves. Now in 2010 it is being re-released locally by Umbrella, who have been doing quite a bit of re-releasing lately. I do not have a copy of the previous release and we did not review it at the time of its release so I am not in a position to compare them. Having said that, unless the previous version was pan and scan I cannot see much reason to repurchase as this edition is perfectly serviceable but doesn't stand out as a must buy.
This film was Seller’s return to the role of Clouseau, 11 years after he decided against starring in the third film, Inspector Clouseau. The character came back sillier than before, with a more pronounced accent and more slapstick. The story is really a way to connect the various comedy sequences and involves the famous diamond, The Pink Panther, being stolen from the museum where it is on display in Lugash (imaginary Middle Eastern country). Of course the government of Lugash wants to bring in the famous French detective who recovered the diamond the last time it was stolen, Inspector Jacques Cousteau. Cousteau back in France is walking a beat as he is getting on the nerves of his boss Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom, marvellous as usual in this role). Once Clouseau arrives in Lugash, he immediately suspects his old adversary, Sir Charles Litton (Christopher Plummer replacing David Niven), especially when he finds a monogrammed glove where the diamond used to be. Litton is protesting his innocence and decides to investigate himself. His wife, Lady Litton (Catherine Schell), leads Cousteau to Gstaad where more silliness ensues and the local police become interested. Cousteau attempts to rescue the diamond without destroying the hotel with limited success.
This is not the best film in the series but it is also a long way from the worst. When Sellers is onscreen the laughs are regular and sometimes quite hearty. It is an amusing and diverting romp which is quite suitable for all audiences (except if you are concerned about a small amount of smoking and a little bit of non-PC dialogue between Clouseau and Cato). It was shot on location in Morocco, Switzerland and Nice, making good use of the beautiful locations. Once again the film was co-written, directed and produced by Blake Edwards. There is a nice animated credit sequence at the beginning, featuring the panther of course, and another one in the end credits.
A funny and very silly addition to the Pink Panther canon. It is the one not in the box set which really makes it worth having.
The video quality is good but no world beater.
The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, which is the original aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced. The picture was quite sharp and obviously based on a nice clean print. There is some grain which descends into mild blocking at time such as at 24:30. There are also some MPEG compression artefacts especially during motion such as at 26:50 and 60:30. Shadow detail is decent but some scenes near the beginning are a little murky.
The colour was quite good although there was some bleeding from lighter colours.
Other artefacts included some minor aliasing and a few white specs.
There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, plus a myriad of European languages (see above for the full list), which are clear and easy to read.
The layer changes is well placed between scenes at 68:34.
The audio quality is good.
This DVD contains six audio options, an English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s and the same in French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian.
Dialogue was clear and easy to understand except for obvious moments of accent driven silliness.
The music by Henry Mancini consists of the famous theme from the series in various forms along with some quite dated incidental music.
The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu was still and silent. It allows for language, subtitle and scene selection.
There are a number of other editions of the film available but all of them seem to be quite similar featuring the film only. Draw.
The video quality is good.
The audio quality is good.
|DVD||Sony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|