Son of the Pink Panther
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Get Ready for the Next Generation of Incompetence! Insanity is relative in the final installment of the Pink Panther series, starring gifted comedian Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) along with Panther alumni Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), Cato Fong (Burt Kwouk) and Maria Gambrelli (Claudia Cardinale). Fueled by Benigni's wacky charm and splendidly fractured English, Son of the Pink Panther proves that a family resemblance can sometimes be painfully obvious. An Arabian princess is kidnapped, and it's up to Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Lom) to save her. Fortunately, there's no Clouseau around to plague him this time! But when a klutzy local cop (Benigni) is assigned to help him, he manages to run Dreyfus over and blow him up - all on his first day on the job. Son of the Pink Panther was the final film credit for iconic director Blake Edwards (The Party, A Shot in the Dark), legendary composer Henry Mancini (Touch of Evil, Charade) and wonderful character actor Herbert Lom (Hopscotch).
Special Features: Pink Panther Trailer Gallery
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I can understand the desire to continue the franchise but feel that Blake Edwards should have let well enough alone when Peter Sellers passed away.
for the record, my vote goes to Never Say Never Again, the paint-by-numbers Thunderball clone in which an over-the-hill Sean Connery laughably fails to reclaim the role of James Bond. but it ran a close race, with Son Of The Pink Panther being the runner-up. director Blake Edwards didn't simply fail to reignite his trademark franchise, he utterly demolished his filmmaking career. and what's most perverse about it is that it's a lesson Edwards should already of learned.
everything eventually hits a logical finish-line. The Pink Panther had an atypically good 5-film run while Peter Sellers lived. even no. 6, Trail Of The Pink Panther, turned out to have it's fair share of charms. basically a patchwork "clip show" starring Joanna Lumley as a reporter looking into the sudden disappearance of Inspector Clouseau, what should've been a disastrous hodgepodge somehow turned out to be a heartfelt salute, as much to the late Sellers as the M.I.A. Clouseau. it's one of the few such posthumous tribute films that actually feels like a tribute rather than a fast-buck gambit, and would've been an entirely satisfying curtain call for the franchise.
Edwards, however, was a bit too staunch a believer in The Show Must Go On. he proceeded to rush produce Curse Of The Pink Panther, daring to hope an equally inept Brooklyn detective played by Ted Wass could hold the reins for further films. there are so many things wrong with this film that it's easier to just cite the one not-so-wrong thing about it, namely, a cameo by Sellers' old comrade Roger Moore as a post-plastic surgery Clouseau. even if he is just goin' through the motions, he has such a playful good time at it that he somehow makes it work. we see that, like so many other actors, Moore has talents other than those for which he is noted. but alas, in a film as otherwise worthless as Curse, he might as well of just stood there and recited his ABCs.
and of course there's the ultimate reveal that Clouseau was seduced over to the dark side by a duplicitous femme fatale. (again, Joanne Lumley. sisters or cousins or something?) this more than anything else is the ultimate heresy of Curse. as heartily as we laughed at Clouseau's ineptitude, we admired his dedication to justice and even rooted for him, because we thought he was incorruptible. this revelation stigmatizes not only Curse, but it's predecessors as well.
so there's a lesson to be learned here about how the end is inevitable and sometimes for the best. and Blake Edwards managed to convince everyone on the planet with one exception: Blake Edwards.
about a decade later, Edwards was somehow compelled to smash head-on into that dead-end yet again. casting Italian comedian Roberto Benigni as a heretofore unsuspected son of Clouseau and Maria Gambrelli (Elke Sommer's character in A Shot In The Dark), he again proceeded to kick the dead horse. it may be less of a disappointment than Curse, but only because expectations weren't nearly as high. and those hopes must've been positively microscopic with Curse.
weirdest of all is that Edwards actually managed to lure former costars Herbert "Dreyfuss" Lom and Burt "Cato" Kwouk into his maelstrom. seriously, did neither see that they were just begging to fall flat on their asses? well, at least Elke Sommer did, so Maria Gambrelli is here played by Claudia Cardinale, whom you'll remember as the princess who owns the diamond in the first Pink Panther film.
Benigni does as well as can be expected, considering the restraints he finds himself under. basically he clones Peter Sellers. and like Wass before him, that's exactly what he was hired for. it apparently never even occurred to Edwards that either was maybe capable of doing something with the characters in their own right.
there are many films that turn out to be dead-ends, but few as obviously ill-conceived from the first as this one. seriously, did someone other than Blake Edwards actually have some faith in this thing at some point?
If you want to talk about a film disaster, try the new Pink Panther movies with Martin.
Trying to recreate Seller's and Herbert Lom's characters is a travesty in film history!
Sad thing is most people who haven't seen the original films don't know the difference.
But this movie is excellent and in the tradition of the classic films with a new personality to it! One of the funniest out there!