Movie review: The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

The third of the Pink Panther movies sees the return of Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) and Cato (Bruce Kwouk).

In this installment of the Pink Panther movies, Sir Charles Litton reappears (this time played by Christopher Plummer). The Pink Panther is stolen and Sir Charles is the prime suspect. If he didn’t steal the diamond, then maybe he knows who did. The secret police bring him into the investigation. He is to figure out who the thief is and lead the authorities to him.

Inspector Clouseau bumbles his way through—everything. His boss, Inspector Dreyfus, has just suspended him for incompetence when authorities call, “requesting” that Clouseau work on the Pink Panther case. Inspector Dreyfus abhors Clouseau and starts to become obsessed with killing him. His shrink asks him about a dream he had where he killed Clouseau. As Dreyfus talks through the dream, he acts it out on his therapist, who ends up dead.

Inspector Dreyfus’s nervous ticks and maniacal laughter get worse. Then he travels to where Clouseau is working on the case of the stolen Pink Panther in order to kill Clouseau with a rifle. Of course, Clouseau’s bumbling saves him and Dreyfus ends up committed—in a padded cell and a straight jacket.

Clouseau ends up as the Chief Inspector.

Cato is always the faithful servant, seeking to catch Clouseau off guard. Cato surprise attacks Clouseau in their apartment, in Ligosh, and in a Japanese restaurant (in disguise as one of the female Japanese waitresses).

My favorite scene is between Chief Inspector Dreyfus and Inspector Clouseau at the beginning of the movie. Dreyfus is calling Clouseau to task in his office. Clouseau had been standing in front of a bank being robbed without realizing that it was being robbed. He was engrossed in a conversation with a beggar about the legality of the blind beggar playing music for money on the street. He must have a permit. But, the beggar argues, he isn’t taking the money; his monkey is.

Dreyfus is exasperated. Clouseau is clueless about the situation, explaining about the beggar, which, as Dreyfus points out, he didn’t even cite but let off with a warning. How could he know that a bank robbery was going on?

Because, as Dreyfus explains, “The beggar was the lookout man for the gang.” “That is impossible.” “Why?” “Because he is blind. How can a blind man be a lookout?” Dreyfus retorts, “How can an idiot be a police officer? Answer me that!” “Very simple,” Clouseau starts, “all he has to do is enlist….” “Shut up!”

Sellers speaks with an exaggerated French accent, so French that not even other French people can understand him. For instance, in the first scene with Dreyfus, he mentions the blind beggar and his “miinkey”. “‘Miinkey’?,” asks Dreyfus. “What?” “You said ‘miinkey'”. “Yes, that is correct. Chimpanzee miinkey.”

Herbert Lom and Peter Sellers had a certain chemistry that worked very well. I wished there had been more scenes of them together.

Reviews of all the Pink Panther movies

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