Most helpful positive review
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More Important for what it accomplished
on September 24, 2001
The best thing about this film is that it returned Peter Sellers to the role of Inspector Jacques Clouseau under Blake Edwards' direction after Alan Arkin's single portrayal in 1968's INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU directed by Bud Yorkin. More importantly it did not only return Sellers but it also instituted the Pink Panther and Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in a legitimate film series instead of just a few sporadic sequels and it launched a huge cinematic rebirth and phenomenon. Unfortunately this film seems to lack the magic of 1964's THE PINK PANTHER and the sophistication of A SHOT IN THE DARK. Christopher Plummer replaced David Niven as Sir Charles Lytton in this film. Plummer is good but it seems a shame since Niven reprised his role later in 1982's TRAIL OF THE PINK PANTHER and 1983's CURSE OF THE PINK PANTHER, which were made after Sellers' death (in 1980) in an attempt to revive the series without him. Catherine Schell as Claudine Litton lacked the charisma of earlier leading ladies Capucine and Elke Sommer. On the plus side, Sellers is brilliant as Clouseau as are Herbert Lom as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus and Burt Kwouk as Kato back and featured prominently in the rest of all the subsequent Pink Panther films. Much needed and returning is a score composed by Henry Mancini a very integral component of this series. THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER has some very good comic sketches and a very good opening jewel heist but the script just doesn't seem to be a very cohesive force. However, better things were yet to come. As for the DVD, the quality is just average. For me, the picture quality is just too soft. The MGM prints of the other Pink Panther films on DVD are much crisper.