The Return of the Pink Panther Blake Edwards

The Pink Panther Diamond is stolen from the country of Lugash. The only clue is a white glove, the calling card of retired jewel thief the Phantom. Chief Inspector Dreyfuss (Herbert Lom) is forced to put his nemesis, the inept Inspector Jacques Clouseau (Peter Sellers), on the case. While Clouseau observes his suspect's wife at a resort hotel, the real Phantom, Sir Charles Litton (Christopher Plummer), travels through the slums of Lugash to clear his name. In this instalment of Blake Edwards' popular series, Plummer replaces David Niven as the charming Litton — an unfortunate decision remedied in later films. The movie was originally developed as the pilot for a Pink Panther television series (whether Sellers would have appeared in a series or not is unknown) and it offers a handful of brilliant comic sequences, besting the films that would follow it. In the preceding decade, the only Panther film to appear (aside from Agnes Varda's Black Panthers) was the Bud Yorkin-Alan Arkin American adaptation, Inspector Clouseau. In the years that followed Return, Edwards and Sellers would team up for another pair of Pink Panther films. Edwards would also conspire to turn out non-Sellers Panther films with the mediocre Ted Wass, an inspired Roberto Benigni, and archive footage of the late Sellers himself. The release of this film is timely given the forthcoming Steve Martin Pink Panther vehicle. This is its first appearance on DVD (it was absent from MGM's Pink Panther box set). It is also part of Universal's Focus Features Spotlight Series, whose recent work on The Big Lebowski: Collector's Edition may give buyers mistaken expectations: this is a bare disc. There are French and Spanish subtitles, English captions, scene selections, but no additional features. (Universal)