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"The Phone Is Ringing....Relax, I'll Get It."
on July 4, 2004
This is my all time favorite Pink Panther film. I think that I like it the best of the series as is dwells so totally on Herbert Lom's madness, which is, of course, entirely caused by Clouseau. The opening scene of the film sets the pace, with the brilliant slapstick 'Dreyfus in the lake' segment (I am particularly fond of the role of the rake in that scene.)
The characterizations of Dreyfus and Clouseau are totally wonderful in this film. Watching Dreyfus descend into total madness is one of the all time greatest comic performances. Sellers as Clouseau is wonderful playing off of Lom, in such great segments as the 'hallucinatory dentist' and the 'hunchback and the bomber' scenes. This film is much less subtle than my other favorite from the series "A Shot in the Dark", but what it loses in subtlety, it gains in situational humor unrivalled in any other comedy ("Does your dog bite?"..."No."..."I thought you said your dog did not bite."..."That is not my dog.") Only Sellers could make these scenes work, and work they do, brilliantly so.
There are so many great scenes and lines that I couldn't possibly list them. Some of the best lines ever written for a comedy are in this film. To go with the brilliance of the script, the excellent direction from Blake Edwards, the always entertaining animated credits, the beautiful sets, the acting from everyone, led, of course, by Sellers and Lom, is letter perfect.
The DVD is an excellent transfer, and very pleasant to watch. The only real options are language and subtitle related, though there is an original trailer. I would have loved to have seen some outtakes as extras. Reportedly the cast frequently broke up laughing during the filming of this movie, and there is no wonder, given how funny the material is.
I first saw this in the theater when I was a kid. I loved it so much then that I went back several more times, and never tired of it. Now, almost thirty years later, I still never tire of this film. If you haven't seen "The Pink Panther Strikes Again", by all means do so at once. If you have, it's time to get reacquainted with a brilliant old friend!