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This is actually the 3rd film in the pink panther series. Neither Peter Sellers or Blake Edwards returned for this film. Alan Arkin sets into the role of Clouseau and does a decent job, but he's no Peter Sellers.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
"If that's an example of your maid then your wife must really be something."March 8 2006
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Not too long ago I heard about a Pink Panther movie titled Inspector Clouseau (1968), released between A Shot in the Dark (1964) and Return of the Pink Panther (1975), and featuring Alan Arkin (instead of Peter Sellers) in the title role, and my instincts told me it couldn't possibly be any good. When it was finally released on DVD, I was a bit apprehensive to pick it up, given my affinity for the late, great Mr. Sellers, particularly in his Pink Panther roles, but I decided to give it a shot, and you know what? I didn't hate it...actually, I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would...written by Frank and Tom Waldman, both of whom were responsible for the screenplay for the 1968 film The Party (a most excellent film featuring Sellers), and directed by Bud Yorkin ("All in the Family", "Sanford and Son"), the film features, as I mentioned, Alan Arkin (Catch-22, Little Murders) as Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Also appearing is Delia Boccardo (The Adventurers), Patrick Cargill (Carry On Jack), Frank Finlay (A Study in Terror), Barry Foster (Frenzy), Clive Francis (Romeo and Juliet), and Michael Ripper (X the Unknown, The Brides of Dracula), a great character actor who appeared in a large of horror films released by Hammer Studios from the 1950s into the 1970s.
The story begins in England, as the authorities are busy investigating a large scale robbery that netted the gang involved some two and a half million pounds, which is believed will be used to finance an even larger heist. Due to security leaks on the force, the decision is made to bring in an outsider in that of the famous French detective Inspector Jacques Clouseau. During an interview with a prisoner (who subsequently escapes), Clouseau gets a tip on the leader of gang, a mysterious individual named Johnny Rainbow. From here it's a series of misadventures as the bumbling detective bounces from one wacky situation to another, narrowly surviving numerous assassination attempts purely through dumb luck. Along the way he meets up with an attractive Interpol agent, and ends up rubbing his English counterparts the wrong way given his comical arrogance. Eventually the criminal plot is revealed, and it's a nefarious plan involving stealing Inspector Clouseau's identity and robbing a large number of banks across Europe, with the generally hapless Clouseau intended as the patsy. The grand theft goes off as planned, but Clouseau, like a persistent rash, always manages to find himself smack dab in the middle of things (whether he realizes it or not), despite his blundering and incompetent nature, taking us on a comical romp across Europe.
I had heard the reason Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards, who wrote and directed the two, previous Pink Panther films chose not to participate in this third entry pretty much because they were burned out on the character, and needed a break. Given the successes of the previous films, it's not surprising the studio forged ahead without them, for better or worse (Edwards and Sellers would reunite for the release of 1975's The Return of the Pink Panther). Okay, Alan Arkin is no Peter Sellers, but he does have some comical chops (check out the 1979 film The In-Laws). The one, main aspect I struggled with in terms of this film was my constant comparing of Seller's Clouseau, which is obviously the standard, to Arkin's. The two never really came close, but only because Sellers was a genius in understanding and presenting the nature of the character, while Arkin is just pretty much playing the part. In Arkin's defense, there are few who could follow Sellers, but he gave it a good try, the result being half the time it worked, and half the time it didn't (the biggest fault I saw was Arkin's character was prone to goofy, strained histrionics). The effort was here, but it can't help but seem hollow at times compared to what came before...there was one, really odd scene near the end, when Arkin's character uncharacteristically admits defeat (momentarily), as the situation which he's in seems hopeless and beyond his capabilities. I don't ever recall a moment like this in any of the films Sellers appeared in as Clouseau, only because his character was so steeped in his own confident arrogance that he could never admit defeat, which would lead to even more comical situations. Another weird element presents itself early on Clouseau is taken to a Scottish festival by his English counterpart, which results in the first, botched assassination attempt, along with Clouseau winning a plum pudding, one that he seems to develop a completely unnatural obsession over, to the point of it being really creepy. There are some pretty funny moments throughout the film, including an impromptu game of musical chairs with an English police commissioner near the beginning, some antics as Clouseau is outfitted with spy type gadgets, an overly amorous Superintendent's wife, an incident during a funeral of one of the suspected gang members (the bit in the open grave was pretty funny, if not somewhat homoerotic), and so on, along with the expected slapstick, but the gags never really had the punch or zing as was present in the other films. I thought Yorkin did pretty well directing this film, as he manages to keep things moving along, even if the story felt uneven at times (the whole scheme of stealing Clouseau's identity and using it against him seemed a bit of a stretch, but did result in some funny bits), strung together by some pretty thin threads. All in all this is a decent enough film, worthy of a solid 3 ½ stars.
The picture, presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), looks quite good and the Dolby Digital audio comes through clean. There aren't really any extras, other than some previews for other Pink Panther related releases including the Steve Martin feature The Pink Panther (2006), The Pink Panther Film Collection 6 DVD set, and The Pink Panther Classic Cartoon Collection DVD set. I would have appreciated a little back story on this film to have been included, but oh well...
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Passable, dated 1960s comedyJan. 19 2004
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Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this movie many years ago on late night television. It looks like it was done on a much more modest budget than any of the Blake Edwards films. Despite the Clouseau character, this isn't nearly as madcap as it should have been, and often comes across as a made-for-TV 60s comedy. Alan Arkin's done much better work than this and to his credit does his best to make the character his own rather than an impersonation. Die-hard fans of the series will probably want to see this movie for the sake of completeness. But without Peter Sellers, Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini is there any reason to have a Pink Panther movie?
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Arkin is to Clouseau what Lazenby was to BondFeb. 19 2006
Wes Saylors Jr.
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Alan Arkin (like George Lazenby in the James Bond franchise) only got to do it once, but in his interpretation of Inspector Clouseau, he pulls it off memorably. One of the things that makes this movie so good is that Arkin's Clouseau is organic to the movie and so the movie clips along at a decent pace. Sometimes with Peter Sellers, everything came to a stop so that we could watch him trip and twitch and put his foot into buckets and unsuccessfully try out costumes ... until it felt like the movie ran about ten to twenty minutes too long. Peter Sellers could be very funny, but sometimes the gag could be tedious. 'Revenge of the Pink Panther' is my favorite of the Sellers entries because it felt like an editor was employed. -- Another thing that makes the Arkin Clouseau so much fun is that he actually seems to be a little smarter than the Sellers Clouseau. What makes Sellers funny is that he is both stupid and supremely arrogant. We don't necessarily like him, but he is funny. With Arkin, you actually end up liking the guy. There's a sympathetic core to him and this is partly due to the fact that he isn't all that stupid. He has moments of personal insight (like when he rips up his autographed Sean Connery picture because he doesn't deserve it) and it makes Clouseau interesting. -- Arkin is smart here. He doesn't try to be Peter Sellers. This isn't imitation. It may not even be interpretation. What Arkin has to work with is a funny and smart script, wonderful locales and a team (like the Lazenby Bond) who bent over backwards to bring out a Clouseau movie that doesn't have the original Clouseau. What it amounts to is a funny (at times, hilarious) movie that shines in the Pink Panter franchise. This movie isn't just a curiousity. It's a terrific comedy that's worth a look.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Pretty good for no SellersJuly 6 2000
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Format: VHS Tape
Sellers is unbeatable as the incomperable Inspector Clouseau. It took some tracking, but I finally found this rare video. Alan Arkin with his nasal accent can never mach Peter Sellers'acting abilities, but he would be second in line to make a Pink Panther video.The video has a good plot, with Clouseau tracking all over Europe to track down a ring of bank robbers. Although Inspector Clouseau would be better with Sellers staring in the main role, the video was worth the $20 spent to buy it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rare PantherJuly 11 2006
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"Inspector Clouseau" is the most obscure entry in the Pink Panther franchise, even more obscure than "Curse of the Pink Panther" or "Son of the Pink Panther." Technically the third movie in the series, "Inspector Clouseau" finds Alan Arkin in the title role of French Inspector Jacques Clousea, a character Peter Sellers had started to make famous in two previous movies and a character that Sellers would become inextricably linked to in four more afterwards. "Inspector Clouseau" lacks the boundless energy of director Shawn Levy and actor Steve Martin's 2006 entry in the franchise or the subtle sophistication of any of director Blake Edward and actor Peter Sellers' indisputable classics, but director Bud Yorkin and actor Alan Arkin's entry is undeniably unique and actually quite entertaining.
"Inspector Clouseau" finds the ever klutzy Clouseau heading from France to London to France again and then onto Switzerland to take on the psychotic gang behind the Great Train Robbery, led by the mysterious "Johnny Rainbow". Clouseau is assisted by shifty Scotland Yard Inspector Weaver (Frank Finlay, who played Inspector Lestrade in "A Study in Terror" and again in "Murder by Decree") who arms Clouseau with an array of James Bond-style gadgetry. Along the way Clouseau, as he's always had the knack to, finds his way into the arms of beautiful babes and takes out dangerous underworld assassins trying to kill him, all completely on accident.
Bud Yorkin's directing style is quite different from Blake Edward's, and the whole movie feels like a completely different animal from any of the other Pink Panther flicks. But the movie finds a charm and sense of fun all its own. A lack of a jazzy Henry Mancini score adds to the distance from other Panthers, but Ken Thorne's hummable score is a suitable replacement. Memorable moments include a scene where Clouseau moves from chair to chair while being debriefed by the Scotland Yard commissioner (Patrick Cargill), a scene where he finds himself "modeling" for a seductive photographer, and a hilarious sequence where he and Weaver become intensely competitive playing games on a speeding train. There's also a sufficient number of twists and turns that make this movie worth a look despite its obscurity.