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Trail of the Pink Panther is a comedy film starring Peter Sellers. It was the seventh film in the Pink Panther series, and the last in which Peter Sellers starred as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, although Sellers died before production began and the film thus contains no original material. His performance only consists of flashbacks and outtakes from the previous films.

Background

Sellers had died before production began, and his performance was constructed from a mixture of flashbacks and deleted scenes (the circumstances of such scenes making it fairly obvious which movie they were originally cut from) from the previous films in the series.

David Niven makes a cameo appearance in the film, reprising a role he had first played in the original The Pink Panther of 1963. Due to ill health, his voice was considered too weak to use, and he was overdubbed by impressionist Rich Little.

Returning series regulars include Herbert Lom as Inspector Dreyfus, Graham Stark as Hercule LaJoy (from the 1964 Pink Panther film A Shot in the Dark), and Burt Kwouk as Clouseau's faithful manservant Cato. The film also featured Joanna Lumley as an investigative reporter on the trail of the missing Clouseau. In common with the last few Pink Panther films, Trail featured animated opening and closing credits, which were animated by Marvel Productions.

Director Blake Edwards dedicated the film to Sellers, who is described as "the one and only Inspector Clouseau". Despite the dedication, Sellers' wife Lynne Frederick filed a lawsuit against the film's producers, claiming that it diminished Sellers' reputation. She eventually won over a million dollars. Edwards' wife, Julie Andrews, filled a small role as a cleaning lady as a favor to her husband. Contrary to rumour, Alan Arkin (who played Clouseau in 1968's Inspector Clouseau) does not have a cameo appearance.

Plot

When the famous Pink Panther diamond is stolen once again from Lugash, Chief Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) is called on the case despite the protest of Dreyfus (Herbert Lom). While on the case, it is revealed he is being followed by the mob.
Clouseau starts a fire in his office
Clouseau first goes to Londonmarker to investigate Sir Charles Lytton (Clouseau is not aware he is in fact living in the South of France, but nobody bothers to tell him). Traveling to the airport, he accidentally blows up his car, but believes it to be an assassination attempt. Clouseau decides to disguise himself (wrapped in several bandages) while on the flight, which leads to an awkward hassle with Scotland Yard (there to pick him up).

Meanwhile, it is confirmed there might be an assassination attempt against Clouseau, and he is ordered not to go to Lugash. Unfortunately, Clouseau is later told by Dreyfus to go to Lugash.

En route Clouseau disappears, and Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley), a journalist investigating his disappearance, sets out to discover his background by interviewing people with whom he was involved over the years. This provides ample opportunities for flashbacks to scenes from the earlier films. Jouvet also interviews Clouseau's father (a heavily disguised Richard Mulligan), at his vinery, providing glimpses of Clouseau's childhood where he is played by Lucca Mezzofanti, and his early career in the French Resistance in which he is played by Daniel Peacock. Jouvet does encounter a run-in with the mafia, led by Bruno Langlois (Robert Loggia), the main antagonist of the two-part story made by this and the next film. Langlois politely warns Jouvet to stop searching for Clouseau (Clouseau apparently caused trouble for Langlois in the past), but Jouvet refuses, and complains to Dreyfus about the threat. Dreyfus, who wants Clouseau dead just as much as Langlois does, presses no charges against Langlois, much to Jouvet's frustration.

The film ends with Jouvet concluding that Clouseau must be alive. Clouseau (played by Joe Dunne only seen from behind) is seen standing looking over a seaside cliff, when a seagull flies over and messes the sleeve of his coat. The words "Swine seagull!" are heard in the distinctive 'over French' accent of Clouseau. A montage of funny clips from other Pink Panther films is seen during the end credits.

Critical and commercial reception

Although the film was marketed as a tribute to Sellers, it was widely panned by the critics. It was released for Christmas 1982, and grossed only $9m. In contrast, the previous film in the series, Revenge of the Pink Panther, had made over $49m. Nonetheless, it was soon followed by a further Pink Panther film, Curse of the Pink Panther, which had been shot concurrently with Trail. That film did not feature Peter Sellers at all, and was instead built around the talents of Ted Wass, as Clouseau replacement Clifton Sleigh.

External links



Notes

  1. Blake Edwards
  2. Trail of the Pink Panther (1982)
  3. Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)



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