"Revenge Of The Pink Panther"
Quartet Records QRSCE050
27 Tracks/Disc Time: 71:12 Grade: C
The Pink Panther series has been one of the more popular films in cinema history no thanks to the memorable work of the late Peter Sellers as well as just due credit to Director Blake Edwards, who created the series in 1962 after striking it big with Breakfast At Tiffany's. After a ten year hiatus on the big screen if you don't count Inspector Clouseau that didn't feature either Sellers or Edwards participation, the Pink Panther series was primed and ready to make it's big screen return. Both Return of the Pink Panther and The Pink Panther Strikes Back were back to back major hits in 1975 & 1976 respectively and firmly cemented Sellers and Edwards as comedy titans, and Pink Panther Strikes Back garnered some of the best reviews of the series since the original Pink Panther film making the film a bankable movie franchise for United Artists for decades to come. Looking back at Revenge Of The Pink Panther, it certainly isn't one of the best of the series but a very plausable and entertaining film that is worthy of the series. It is also an important film however because this is the last film that Peter Sellers would star as the famed Inspector as he was due to star in what would've been the fifth installment entitled "Romance Of The Pink Panther" had he not passed away so soon.
The film this time features Clouseau as a marked man this time around, as a New York mobster named Jacques Douvier (Robert Webber), wants to make his powerful presence felt throughout the mob underworld by putting a paid hit on the bumbling detective and get rid of him once and for all. Clouseau stumbles through much of the course of this film avoiding assassins at every turn that include Robert Loggia (Big) and a villainious karate master named Mr. Chow, who has a memorable film entrance and romancing Douvier's flame, Simone (Dyan Cannon). After learning of Clouseau's apprerant disappearance or so it seems, former and now perfectly sane Inspector Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) returns to his position going undercover with Clouseau's trusted sidekick Cato (Burt Kwouk) to find out who tried to eliminate him and if they were successful in doing so.
Returning to score the film was the legendary Oscar winner Henry Mancini, the man who penned the memorable music for Days Of Wine And Roses, Peter Gunn and Breakfast At Tiffany's, The Pink Panther is one of Mancini's all time memorable themes which has been used all over the place and even as a ringtone and throughout the series, he provided some rather challenging and whimsical music to further elevate the efforts of the bumbling detective through his misadventures. Revenge of the Pink Panther is another effort much like his score to Pink Panther Strikes Again that just underscores Clouseau's and the mad Dreyfus' antics unlike the elegant, romantic work on the original film which is easily the best one of the series. Revenge is not a memorable score by any means and unfortunately it is the most dated in the series mainly because Mancini incorporated some disco beats into it that now would go over everyone's heads. However the score does have its charms and it does work on its own merits. "Main Title- The Pink Panther Theme" introduces yet another variation on his famous theme adding a hip (at the time) disco beat to it this time around which is very funky.
The rest of the score is full of Mancini's classy funny moments that include "The Mafia Meeting" and "Enter Mr. Chong", which introduces our villiainous protagonists in which the latter, Mancini introduces a comical gong effect as Chong's karate dojo comes apart behind him. There more moments surrounding the comic exploits of Clouseau that include "Ode To Clouseau", "Thar She Blows", "The Silver Hornet", and "Balls Caprice", that are practically interchangeable with Mancini's previous efforts for the character. Mancini also includes a touch of Eastern fare with the fun tracks "Welcome To Hong Kong", and "Before The Fireworks/Hong Kong Fireworks", that add a bit of exotic fun to the proceedings. My favorite tracks by far are the smooth and romantic material for Clouseau's encounter and eventual fling with Simone in "After The Shower" and "Simone", the latter is very smooth jazz in feel and easily one of my favorite pieces of the Pink Panther scores. Quartet's album features the complete score of the long out of print CD release that is now in its complete form and unfortunately not all of the material is that great as the original EMI album had all of the best material save a few tracks here and there. Regardless, Revenge of the Pink Panther while it's not a strong score in the Pink Panther ovure, it still has its charms and those die hard fans of the series will enjoy it on its own merits. I however, will recommend it because that "Simone" track is just so damn good.