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With Peter Sellers back in the trench coat of Gallic gumshoe Inspector Jacques Clouseau, THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER ($15) is a true slapstick comic delight. Also featuring an excellent comic assist from Herbert Lom, as the increasingly mad Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER is definitely one of the funnier Panther sequels- despite the slower moments when neither Sellers nor Lom are on the screen.

The plot of THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER finds that the infamous Pink Panther diamond has been stolen yet again and The Phantom AKA Sir Charles Litton (Christopher Plummer) is at the top of the list of suspects. By the request of the Lugash authorities, Clouseau is put on the case, which elevates our bumbling hero from disgraced Gendarme, back to the rank of Inspector. Of course having Clouseau on the trail of the missing gem wreaks havoc everywhere he goes, which only serves to accelerate Chief Inspector Dreyfus’ decent into total insanity. The cast of THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER also features Catherine Schell, Peter Arne, Peter Jeffrey, Grégoire Aslan, David Lodge, Graham Stark, Eric Pohlmann, André Maranne, and Burt Kwouk.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a very nice looking transfer of a mid 1970’s production. The image is pretty crisp and offers generally good definition. Colors are rendered at a fairly natural level of saturation and hold up rather well considering 70’s era film stocks. The elements from which THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER has been transferred are free from excessive signs of wear, with minor blemishes being the worst of it. A grain structure is noticeable much of the time, but is never excessive.

THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER comes with Dolby Digital 2.0 channel stereo soundtrack. Other than offering some spread to Henry Mancini’s music, the soundtrack seems pretty flat. Fidelity is pretty nice as far as the music is concerned, but it never approaches today’s full bodied digital standards. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English, French and Spanish subtitles are provided. The basic interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, although no supplemental content has been included.

As I stated above, THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER is definitely one of the funnier Panther sequels, although the film screeches to a halt any time that neither Peter Sellers nor Herbert Lom are on the screen. Universal’s DVD looks very nice and the DVD will come as a much welcomed addition to any fan’s PINK PANTHER collection.



Return of the Pink Panther (1975)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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