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The Pink Panther Strikes Again is the fifth film in the Pink Panther series and picks up where The Return of the Pink Panther leaves off. Released in , Strikes Again is the third entry to include the words "Pink Panther" in its title, despite the fact the story does not involve the Pink Panther diamond.Unused footage from the film was later included in Trail of the Pink Panther.

Plot

At a psychiatric hospital, former Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is largely recovered from the murderous insanity that saw him repeatedly attempt to kill the thorn in his side, Inspector Jacques Clouseau. He is about to be released but Clouseau (Peter Sellers), who is now Chief Inspector and has arrived to speak on Dreyfus's behalf, comes to visit and his clumsiness and proneness to accidents drive Dreyfus insane again.

Soon thereafter, Dreyfus escapes from the asylum, intent on killing Clouseau, apparently had become a deranged good-cop-gone-bad. His first attempt involves planting a bomb whilst Clouseau destructively duels with his manservant Cato (Burt Kwouk), who is under orders to keep Clouseau alert by randomly attacking him. The bomb merely destroys Clouseau's apartment whilst Clouseau himself is unharmed, largely because Clouseau has been distracted by an inflatable costume and a telephone call. Cato ends up in the hospital.

Dreyfus sets his sights higher. Using his knowledge of the underworld, he enlists the help of an army of vicious criminals, kidnaps nuclear physicist Professor Hugo Fassbender (Richard Vernon) and the Professor's daughter Margo (Briony McRoberts), forcing the professor to build a "doomsday weapon" in return for his daughter's freedom. Because Hugo Fassbender fears to have his daughter harmed, he agrees.

Clouseau travels to Englandmarker to investigate Fassbender's disappearance, with typically chaotic results, as Scotland Yardmarker Section Director Alec Drummond (Colin Blakely) and Superintendent Quinlan (Leonard Rossiter) painfully learn. Meanwhile Dreyfus broadcasts himself to the world to announce his ultimatum: destroy Clouseau or he will destroy mankind. Disintegrating the United Nations headquartersmarker in New York Citymarker before the disbelieving eyes of the world, he blackmails the leaders of the world, including the President of the United States (a thinly veiled impersonation of Gerald Ford, advised by a similarly poorly camouflaged Henry Kissinger), into assassinating Clouseau.

Forced to take Dreyfus's threat seriously, several nations send assassins to kill Clouseau at the Oktoberfestmarker in Germany. Many of the nations, however, instruct their assassins to kill other assassins if necessary in order to win Dreyfus's favour and possibly get hold of the Doomsday Machine. This, combined with Clouseau's typical bumbling fashion, enables Clouseau to evade each assassination attempt just as it is about to happen, so that the assassins all kill each other instead. The assassins of twenty-six nations are killed in the attempt, so that the only survivors are the Egyptianmarker (an uncredited cameo by Omar Sharif) and a Sovietmarker operative. The Egyptian assassin, sneaking into Clouseau's hotel room, shoots a man he believes to be Clouseau (who is in fact one of Dreyfus's henchmen, who had taken it upon himself to kill Clouseau). The Russian operative, Olga Bariosova (Lesley-Anne Down), who has sneaked into Clouseau's room, seduces the Egyptian, similarly mistaking him for Clouseau. His passionate sexuality convinces her not to assassinate him; when the real Clouseau makes an appearance, he is surprised to discover a beautiful woman in his bed who confuses him further by declaring her undying passion for him, and by finding a dead man in his bath. A tattoo on the dead man, combined with Olga's dismissively revealed knowledge, reveals to Clouseau Dreyfus's location at a castle in Bavariamarker.

Dreyfus is elated at Clouseau's apparent demise, but his joy is soured by a bad case of toothache. Clouseau, who has arrived in the village near Dreyfus's castle and has unsuccessfully attempted to breach the castle, thwarted every time by a drawbridge that appears to be mocking him, eventually infiltrates Dreyfus's castle hideout disguised as a dentist, intoxicates Dreyfus with nitrous oxide, and pulls one of Dreyfus's healthy teeth. Realising the deception and laughing hysterically, Dreyfus orders Clouseau killed, but Clouseau escapes.

Enraged, Dreyfus means to seek vengeance on the world by destroying Englandmarker; as he prepares for this, Clouseau, who has been thrown into the castle's barnyard, is literally catapulted onto Dreyfus's doomsday machine. Clouseau's weight redirects the disintegrator so that the beam hits Dreyfus (causing his feet to disappear) and Dreyfus's castle. As Dreyfus's henchmen, Fassbender, and his daughter, and eventually Clouseau himself escape the dissolving castle (Clouseau nearly thwarted by the drawbridge), Dreyfus himself plays "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" on the castle's pipe organ, laughing insanely and gradually disintegrating. The castle then disappears entirely, taking Dreyfus with it and destroying him once and for all (or so it seems).

Returning to Parismarker, Clouseau is reunited with Olga, who has dismissed Cato for the evening and intends on completing her seduction of Clouseau. This is interrupted first by Clouseau's apparent inability to remove his clothes without a struggle, and then by Cato, who chooses this time to once more follow his orders and attack Clouseau and Olga. The consequent struggle ends when all three are hurled by a reclining bed into the Seinemarker. Immediately thereafter, a cartoon image of Clouseau emerges from the water, which has been tinted pink, and begins swimming, unaware that a gigantic version of the Pink Panther character is waiting below him with a sharp-toothed, open mouth (a reference to the film Jaws made obvious by the thematic music).

Cast



Cast notes
  • Owing to Peter Sellers's heart condition, whenever possible he would have his stunt double Joe Dunne stand in for him. Because of director Blake Edwards's preference for shooting as if viewed from a proscenium, this would occur quite frequently.
  • Julie Andrews provided the singing voice for the female-impersonator "Ainsley Jarvis". The scene in the night club when Jarvis sings are in many ways similar to scenes in Edwards's later film Victor/Victoria ( ), in which Andrews plays a woman pretending to be a man who is a female impersonator.
  • Graham Stark, longtime friend of Sellers, once again makes an appearance in the series, albeit in a small cameo role as the owner of a small German motel. Since his role as Hercule LaJoy in A Shot in the Dark, he has since appeared in small roles in every Pink Panther movie except Inspector Clouseau, in which Sellers did not play Clouseau.
  • Omar Sharif appears, uncredited, as the Egyptian assassin.
  • Tom Jones sang the Oscar-nominated song "Come To Me".
  • The role of Olga Bariosova, played by Lesley-Anne Down, was originally offered to Maud Adams.
  • Blake Edwards made a cameo appearance in the background of the night club scene.


Production

The Pink Panther Strikes Again was rushed into production owing to the success of The Return of the Pink Panther. Blake Edwards had used one of two scripts that he and Frank Waldman had written for a proposed "Pink Panther" TV series as the basis for that film, and he used the other as the starting point for Strikes Again. As a result, it is the only Pink Panther movie which has a storyline that explicitly follows on from the previous film.

The film was in production from December to September , with filming taking place from February to June 1976. The relationship between Sellers and Blake Edwards, never very good, had seriously deteriorated by the time Strikes Again was filmed. Sellers was physically in bad shape, and Edwards says of the actor's mental state: "If you went to an asylum and you described the first inmate you saw, that's what Peter had become. He was certifiable."

The character Dr. Fassbender is a rather blatant nod to one of Seller's earlier films What's New Pussycat? where Sellers played a character named Dr. Fritz Fassbender.

The original cut of the film ran for 124 minutes, but it was trimmed down to 103 minutes for theatrical release. Some of the footage was later used in Trail of the Pink Panther. Strikes Again was marketed with the tagline Why are the world's chief assassins after Inspector Clouseau? Why not? Everybody else is. Like its predecessor and subsequent sequel, the film was considered a box office success.

During the film's title sequence, there are references to television's Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the films Batman, King Kong, The Sound of Music (which starred Blake Edwards's wife, Julie Andrews), Dracula AD 1972, Singin' in the Rain, Steamboat Bill Jr., and Sweet Charity, putting the Pink Panther character and the animated persona of Inspector Clouseau into recognizable events from said movies. There is also a reference to Jaws in the end-credits sequence. Richard Williams (later of Roger Rabbit fame) did the animated opening and closing sequences for the film instead of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.

Historic ramifications of the 1972 Munich Olympics, as depicted in the Spielberg film "Munich", couldbe argued as the possible underlying theme of this film. Scenes in Munich with the worlds top assassins"out-to-get" Clouseau.

Awards





  • The film was nominated for a 1977 Golden Globe Award for "Best Motion Picture", and Peter Sellers was nominated for "Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy".


Notes

  1. Allmovie Cast
  2. Thames, Stephanie "The Pink Panther Strikes Again" (TCM article)
  3. IMDB Business Data
  4. IMDB Awards


External links




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