Compile a quick list of the greatest comedic characters in film history and accident-prone Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have to be included. Though the role was originally offered to Peter Ustinov, it was the late great Peter Sellers who accepted the part and made it his own in the original Pink Panther back in 1963. Inspired by the classic physical comedy of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, director Blake Edwards went on to make four sequels before Sellers' death in 1980 … and then three more after that with far less satisfying results. Does this mean it was Sellers, not the concept, that made the series a hit?
Thirteen years since Edwards' last theatrical release (the abysmal Son of the Pink Panther, starring Roberto Benigni) and forty-three since the original, The Pink Panther is given a fresh perspective with director Shawn Levy (2003's remake of Cheaper by the Dozen), screenwriter Len Blum (Stripes), and co-writer/star Steve Martin. Most would say that we need another cinematic remake as much as another sequel to Deuce Bigelow, but The Pink Panther series is a proven franchise that could get more mileage out of a modern overhaul. Unfortunately, as might be surmised from the delays in its release (it was originally slated for last summer), this version might well suggest that the original films' success was due primarily to Sellers.
Intended to be reverent to the source material, this new Pink Panther is essentially a modernized prequel to the original. Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Kevin Kline, taking the reins from Herbert Lom) is given his most prestigious case to date when Team France's soccer coach is mysteriously murdered in front of thousands of fans after a win over Team China—his gaudy ring, crafted ...1
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The Pink Panther
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