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The Return of the Pink Panther

In 1975, Peter Sellers returned to the role of Inspector Clouseau to big box office success in THE RETURN OF THE PINK PANTHER.

My parents LOVED these movies and I remember really enjoying them back in the day.

After this was a hit, Sellers and Writer/Director Blake Edwards would go back to the well almost every year in the 70's.

This version opens with the inept Clouseau demoted to patrol cop (an especially bad one as he fails to notice the bank robbery going on behind him).

But after the enormous Pink Panther diamond is stolen, Clouseau is promoted back to Inspector and asked to lead the chase to get the gem back.

Herbert Lom is excellent as Sellers frustrated boss, who goes crazy before our eyes and begins a long quest to assassinate Clouseau himself.

Christopher Plummer is effortlessly cool as suave jewel thief Sir Charles Litton and Catherine Schell (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) is gorgeous as his wife and conspirator of her own.

Edwards is ALL about physical comedy. Sellers provides plenty of verbal play and physical hi-jinks and proves again he has very few equals, but his broad style of comedy hasn't necessarily aged well.

The best parts of the film are Henry Mancini's music score and the very clever animated title sequence by the legendary Richard Williams.

The hotel sequence with Clousea and a very powerful vacuum is hilarious, as are his bouts with his loyal manservant Cato, played to the hilt by Burt Kwouk.

Schell has all the composure of Harvey Korman in a Carol Burnett sketch and Edwards eventually gave up trying to get her to not laugh, just leaving her reactions in as Sellers would ad lib and crack her up.

It's still fun, but your enjoyment will vary wildly based upon your love of physical comedy and slapstick farce.

Sellers is one of the best and his RETURN here gets a B- from this corner.

With $40M+ from a $5M budget, Edwards and Sellers returned the following year with "The Pink Panther Strikes Again", considered by most to be the best of the sequels.

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