The Return of the Pink Panther (1975)

G | 112 mins | Comedy | 21 May 1975

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HISTORY

The character name “Sir Charles Litton” is spelled differently in the onscreen credits of The Return of the Pink Panther than in the film’s 1964 predecessor, The Pink Panther (see entry), in which the name is spelled “Sir Charles Lytton.”
       The end credits include the following written statements: "The producer wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of the Township of Gstaad especially the Palace Hotel, and the municipality and the airport of Nice, Côte d'azur.;" and "Filmed on location in Morocco, Switzerland and Nice, Côte d'azur, and at Twickenham and Shepperton Studios, England, through the facilities of Samuelsons Film Service Ltd."
       After a 23 Apr 1974 DV item announced that Blake Edwards was in negotiations to produce and direct The Return of the Pink Panther, a 28 May 1974 HR brief confirmed his involvement in the project. Articles in the 4 Sep 1974 Var and 13 Dec 1974 HR explained that Edwards and lead actor Peter Sellers were originally in talks with financier Sir Lew Grade to make a Pink Panther television show, but their discussions led to the decision to make another feature film, instead. Although the 28 May 1974 HR listed Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as the new “Sir Charles Litton,” Christopher Plummer was later cast in the role.
       A 3 Jul 1974 Var article cited the production budget as $2 million, with Sir Lew Grade financing the picture through his Pimlico Films, Ltd., and United Artists Corporation set to distribute worldwide through a “negative pickup” deal. More than a year after its spring 1975 theatrical release, a ... More Less

The character name “Sir Charles Litton” is spelled differently in the onscreen credits of The Return of the Pink Panther than in the film’s 1964 predecessor, The Pink Panther (see entry), in which the name is spelled “Sir Charles Lytton.”
       The end credits include the following written statements: "The producer wishes to acknowledge the co-operation of the Township of Gstaad especially the Palace Hotel, and the municipality and the airport of Nice, Côte d'azur.;" and "Filmed on location in Morocco, Switzerland and Nice, Côte d'azur, and at Twickenham and Shepperton Studios, England, through the facilities of Samuelsons Film Service Ltd."
       After a 23 Apr 1974 DV item announced that Blake Edwards was in negotiations to produce and direct The Return of the Pink Panther, a 28 May 1974 HR brief confirmed his involvement in the project. Articles in the 4 Sep 1974 Var and 13 Dec 1974 HR explained that Edwards and lead actor Peter Sellers were originally in talks with financier Sir Lew Grade to make a Pink Panther television show, but their discussions led to the decision to make another feature film, instead. Although the 28 May 1974 HR listed Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as the new “Sir Charles Litton,” Christopher Plummer was later cast in the role.
       A 3 Jul 1974 Var article cited the production budget as $2 million, with Sir Lew Grade financing the picture through his Pimlico Films, Ltd., and United Artists Corporation set to distribute worldwide through a “negative pickup” deal. More than a year after its spring 1975 theatrical release, a 31 Aug 1976 HR brief estimated the film’s final cost at $18 million.
       Locations included Gstaad, Switzerland; Marrakech and Casablanca, Morocco; and Nice, France. Although filming also took place during Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, the scenes were reshot on a London, England, soundstage, because Edwards was not satisfied with the atmosphere in the original footage, according to the 31 Aug 1976 HR. Filming was expected to wrap 14 Aug 1974 in Nice after ten weeks of principal photography, as noted in the 3 Jul 1974 Var ; however, on 4 Sep 1974, Var reported that production was still underway, one week over schedule due to an emergency appendectomy Edwards had to undergo.
       According to a 31 Dec 1974 HR news item, a twenty-seven-minute featurette with the working title He’s Also a Great Giggler, was written and directed by Ed Anderson, Bill Gunther, and Geoff Edwards, as part of the promotional campaign for The Return of the Pink Panther. A soundtrack album was released by RCA, and publicist Quin Donoghue coordinated merchandising, as noted in the 26 Nov 1974 DV, which stated that 450 Pink Panther products were already for sale in over forty countries, including dolls, candies, soaps, umbrellas, and talcum powder. A 23 Dec 1974 Box article added that new products would include a Pink Panther toy car by Meccano, shirts by Ben Sherman Shirts, and posters from Pace International Posters. Also to promote the film, a press junket was hosted at the La Costa Resort in La Costa, CA, costing United Artists $200,000. Sellers was in attendance, taking part in seventeen television interviews in one day, while Henry Mancini performed a live concert with a thirty-five-person orchestra.
       Critical reception was generally positive. While several reviews, including the 14 May 1975 HR and 22 May 1975 NYT, pointed to the screenplay as one of the film’s primary weaknesses, critics lauded Sellers’s performance, with Vincent Canby of NYT calling it a “slapstick triumph.” Sellers was nominated for a Golden Globe award for “Best Motion Picture Actor – Musical/Comedy,” and other Golden Globe nominations for the film included “Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy” and “Best Original Score – Motion Picture” (Henry Mancini). Mancini was nominated for a Grammy for “Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special,” and Frank Waldman and Blake Edwards received nominations from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards for “Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen.”
       A 17 Jan 1980 DV article reported that a group of corporations, including United Artists and Mirisch Films Inc., sued Ford Motor Company for copyright infringement after the automobile company used an animated cat in a television advertisement for the Lincoln Mercury. The U.S. District Court ruled in Ford’s favor, determining that the advertisement’s animated feline did not resemble the Pink Panther closely enough to warrant copyright infringement.
       The Return of the Pink Panther was the fourth feature film in the Pink Panther series, following The Pink Panther, A Shot in the Dark (1964, see entry), and Inspector Clouseau (1968, see entry). More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
23 Dec 1974.
---
Box Office
12 May 1975.
---
Box Office
2 Jun 1975
p. 4785.
Daily Variety
23 Apr 1974.
---
Daily Variety
26 Nov 1974.
---
Daily Variety
12 May 1975
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Jan 1980
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
28 May 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jun 1974
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Oct 1974
p. 19.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Dec 1974.
---
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 Mar 1975.
---
Hollywood Reporter
14 May 1975
p. 3, 12.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Aug 1976.
---
LAHExam
12 Jun 1975.
---
Los Angeles Times
3 Nov 1974
Calendar, p. 34, 43.
Los Angeles Times
20 May 1975
Section IV, p. 1, 14.
New York Times
22 May 1975
p. 32.
Variety
3 Jul 1974
p. 20.
Variety
4 Sep 1974.
---
Variety
14 May 1975
p. 26.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
Jewel Productions Ltd and Pimlico Films Ltd Present
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Grip
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITOR
SET DECORATOR
Set dresser
COSTUMES
Ward supv
MUSIC
Mus comp and cond
SOUND
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing mixer
Dubbing ed
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Anim and titles by
With, Anim and titles by
MAKEUP
Make-up
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Continuity
Prod asst
Casting dir
Accountant
Prod supv
STAND INS
Stunt supv
Stunt supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
SONGS
"The Greatest Gift," lyrics by Hal David, music by Henry Mancini.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Blake Edwards' The Return of the Pink Panther
Release Date:
21 May 1975
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 21 May 1975
Production Date:
mid June--early September 1974
Copyright Claimant:
United Artists Corporation
Copyright Date:
9 March 1975
Copyright Number:
LP44885
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
112
MPAA Rating:
G
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
24324
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the Middle Eastern country of Lugash, a museum docent shows the “Pink Panther” diamond to a tour group. The large gem, which contains a flaw in the shape of a springing panther, is situated on a podium under a glass dome. With a wave of his hand, the docent demonstrates the motion-sensitive security system that protects it. At night, a masked thief breaks into the museum, evading the motion sensors by sliding across the floor, and steals the diamond. Museum guards chase the thief, who escapes via zip line from the museum roof to a hotel room across the street. The next day, the Chief of Lugash Police and his colleague, Colonel Sharki, inform General Wadafi that the thief’s hotel room was registered to a fake name matching a Dutch passport someone used to enter the country days ago. Wadafi demands that French Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the detective who found the Pink Panther the last time it was stolen, be assigned to the case. Meanwhile, in Paris, France, Inspector Clouseau absentmindedly overlooks a bank robbery while reprimanding an accordion-playing busker for conducting a commercial enterprise without a license. That afternoon, Chief Inspector Dreyfus suspends Clouseau for his negligence; however, after Clouseau has gone home, Dreyfus receives orders from the Shah of Lugash to reinstate the inspector and assign him to the Pink Panther investigation. Arriving at his apartment, Clouseau suspects that his manservant, Cato, is about to launch a surprise attack, but cannot find him. Putting groceries away, Clouseau opens his refrigerator and Cato jumps out, covered in ice. The two fight but are interrupted by a telephone call from Dreyfus, ordering Clouseau back to the office. Before ... +


In the Middle Eastern country of Lugash, a museum docent shows the “Pink Panther” diamond to a tour group. The large gem, which contains a flaw in the shape of a springing panther, is situated on a podium under a glass dome. With a wave of his hand, the docent demonstrates the motion-sensitive security system that protects it. At night, a masked thief breaks into the museum, evading the motion sensors by sliding across the floor, and steals the diamond. Museum guards chase the thief, who escapes via zip line from the museum roof to a hotel room across the street. The next day, the Chief of Lugash Police and his colleague, Colonel Sharki, inform General Wadafi that the thief’s hotel room was registered to a fake name matching a Dutch passport someone used to enter the country days ago. Wadafi demands that French Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the detective who found the Pink Panther the last time it was stolen, be assigned to the case. Meanwhile, in Paris, France, Inspector Clouseau absentmindedly overlooks a bank robbery while reprimanding an accordion-playing busker for conducting a commercial enterprise without a license. That afternoon, Chief Inspector Dreyfus suspends Clouseau for his negligence; however, after Clouseau has gone home, Dreyfus receives orders from the Shah of Lugash to reinstate the inspector and assign him to the Pink Panther investigation. Arriving at his apartment, Clouseau suspects that his manservant, Cato, is about to launch a surprise attack, but cannot find him. Putting groceries away, Clouseau opens his refrigerator and Cato jumps out, covered in ice. The two fight but are interrupted by a telephone call from Dreyfus, ordering Clouseau back to the office. Before leaving, Clouseau boasts about his instincts as a detective while answering the front door and accepting a lit bomb from a messenger. Seconds later, he realizes that he is holding an explosive and throws it into a neighboring apartment. Charred by the explosion, Clouseau reports to Dreyfus, who points a gun at Clouseau; but, when he pulls the trigger, the “gun” turns out to be a cigarette lighter. When Dreyfus attempts to use another gun, it is out of bullets. Arriving at the museum in Lugash, Clouseau tells Colonel Sharki and the Chief of Lugash Police that he prefers to be told nothing before he investigates a crime scene, then walks toward the Pink Panther’s podium and panics when a steel wall comes down. Later, Clouseau clumsily dusts for fingerprints and identifies the white leather glove left behind by the thief as the calling card of Sir Charles Litton, also known as “The Phantom,” the man who stole the Pink Panther once before. At his country home in Nice, France, Sir Charles Litton informs his wife, Lady Claudine Litton, that the Pink Panther was stolen by an impostor and that he must go to Lugash to clear his name. In the meantime, Clouseau travels to Nice, where he poses as a telephone repairman to gain access to Litton’s home. Having recognized Clouseau, Lady Litton places a fake telephone call, and while Clouseau eavesdrops, announces that she will travel to Gstaad, Switzerland, to retrieve some “merchandise.” Back in Paris, Dreyfus speaks to a therapist about his frustrations with Clouseau, and, as he describes a recurring dream in which he squeezes Clouseau’s throat, unwittingly chokes the therapist. In Lugash, Litton declares his innocence and agrees to cooperate with authorities. Viewing airport surveillance photos, Litton takes a lie detector test, and although he claims he does not recognize anyone, the test shows he is lying about one particular suspect, who sports a beard and round spectacles. At a bazaar, Litton finds a local contact named Pepe and demands the use of his truck. Learning that Litton plans to leave the country, Pepe warns that a special pass is needed to cross the Lugash border but agrees to help after Litton threatens to crush his fingers. Having followed Lady Litton to Gstaad, Clouseau breaks into her hotel room, disguised as a housekeeper. Aided by a similarly clumsy bellboy, Clouseau creates a mess while snooping around. The two hide in the room’s sauna as Lady Litton returns unexpectedly and turns up the sauna’s heat. A masseuse arrives, and the men make a scene as they escape, covered in sweat. Clouseau then pretends to clean the room with a vacuum cleaner, but cannot control the machine’s hose and runs off when it latches onto the masseuse’s bosom. After retrieving Pepe’s truck and his exit papers, Sir Litton shoves Pepe into a cargo barrel and drives out of the country, narrowly avoiding Fat Man, a local rival, and his thugs. At a nightclub, Clouseau poses as a womanizer and buys Lady Litton a drink. She invites him back to her room where Clouseau receives a call from Dreyfus, alerting him that Sir Litton is in Lugash and ordering Clouseau to follow him. Back at his room, Clouseau receives another phone call from Dreyfus, who instructs him to arrest Lady Litton before he leaves. Wondering what the charges should be, Clouseau calls Dreyfus back, but the Chief Inspector has gone on vacation. In the morning, Sir Litton surprises Lady Litton in her hotel room and demands the whereabouts of the Pink Panther. She asks how he knew she stole it, and he admits to recognizing her as the “man” sporting a fake beard and spectacles in the Lugash airport surveillance photos. Colonel Sharki breaks into the room and holds the Littons at gunpoint. As Sharki demands the Pink Panther, a knock from Clouseau interrupts. When Clouseau recognizes Sir Litton, he announces that he will arrest both the thief and his wife. However, Litton assures Clouseau that Sharki intends to kill everyone in the room. Clouseau tries to trick Sharki by telling him his pants are unzipped, then bends over as Dreyfus appears in the doorway and shoots at Clouseau. Missing his target, Dreyfus shoots Sharki, who drops dead as Dreyfus fires several more shots at Clouseau, to no avail. Sometime later, the Lugash museum docent presents the recovered Pink Panther to a tour group, explaining that Dreyfus was exonerated for the shooting death of Colonel Sharki as he was found to be insane. For the recovery of the Pink Panther, Clouseau was promoted to Dreyfus’s position as Chief Inspector. Litton returned to his villa in Nice, as it was never proven that he is, in fact, “The Phantom.” Over lunch with a colleague at a Japanese restaurant in Paris, Clouseau announces his intentions to incriminate Sir Litton. Disguised as a waitress, Cato attacks Clouseau, who admonishes his manservant for staging a fight in public. Meanwhile, at a mental institution, Dreyfus draws “Kill Clouseau” on the walls of his padded cell. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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