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Film / Revenge of the Pink Panther

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Clouseau's out to solve his most dangerous and most personal case yet; his very own murder!

Clouseau: These are not normal times, Cato. Someone has just tried to kill me.
Cato: That’s normal.
Clouseau: Ah! But this time, that someone thinks he has succeeded. Except for you and me, the whole world believes that I am dead! In this case, death has its advantages. No one will know it is me, as I glide through the underworld like a shadow...

Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978) is the sixth film in The Pink Panther franchise, once again directed by Blake Edwards and, for what would be the final time, starring Peter Sellers as the great Inspector Clouseau.

Mafioso Philippe Douvier (Robert Webber) is suspected of weak leadership by his New York business partners, who put "the Gannet transaction" — a fifty-million franc sale involving a yacht and forty kilos of heroin — on hold. Determined to prove that he is still powerful, Douvier holds an emergency meeting with his group, "the French Connection", to decide on what to do to grab the world’s attention. One of his men, Guy Algo (Tony Beckley), comes up with the perfect eye-opening plot:

Kill France's greatest detective, Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

After a few failed attempts, Douvier’s men finally end Clouseau after he crashes his car into a tree… or so they think…

While all of France — minus Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), of course — mourns over the loss of their greatest crime-solver, Clouseau himself decides to use his "death" to his advantage, and now, using a plethora of creative disguises provided to him by the great Professor Balls (Graham Stark), it's now up to Clouseau, his little yellow tagalong Cato (Burt Kwouk), and Douvier's ex-lover Simone (Dyan Cannon), to stop Douvier and the French Connection.

This film provides examples of:

  • Actor Allusion: When Clouseau first goes into Professor Auguste Balls' costume shop and tests out his new Toulouse Letrec disguise, he states, "I can walk".
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Dreyfus is unsurprisingly overjoyed to learn of Clouseau's "death", even laughing while reading his funeral speech.
  • Arc Words: Clouseau's repeated use of "the old...ploy."
  • Artistic License – Law: According to Francois, Dreyfus will be reinstated as the Police Commissioner since he has recovered from Clouseau's alleged death. Since he was institutionalized for trying to kill Clouseau and actually killing someone else by mistake in Returns, Dreyfus would never be allowed to join the police force ever again even as a janitor since he was declared not guilty of murder and attempted murder by reason of insanity and was locked up in a mental hospital which means Dreyfus was taken to court. Even if he was able to prove he's now mentally stable enough to still do his job correctly, the fact that the attempted murder was on one of the policemen under his own command would have killed any chance of him even stepping foot in the building once his superiors got word of his sentence.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Clouseau has survived sixteen assassination attempts by the start of the movie. That actually sounds like they're undercounting, as they only counted two assassination attempts by Dreyfus, who has tried to kill him more than once in each of three different movies.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Invoked when Cato points out that it’s normal for someone to try and kill Clouseau, and later by Clouseau when he assures Simone, who is shaking after her recent encounter with Douvier’s hired killers, that death loses its sting when a person has faced as many killers as he has; the only thing that makes this particular attempt on Clouseau’s life stand out is that the attempted murderer thought they’d succeeded.
  • The Caper: Clouseau attempts one worthy (in the planning, though not the execution, which he bungles in his usual manner) of Mission: Impossible to unravel the "Gannet Transaction". He arranges for Douvier's agent to think that he's the buyer so that he will take him to the Gannet, while Simone pretends to be Douvier's agent to the real buyer to buy time.
  • Circling Saw: After Clouseau thinks he's beaten Cato, he hears the sound of the saw. He takes a moment to check his breathing before finally looking down just in time to see that Cato has sawed through the floor, and he plummets to the suite below, into a tub of plaster. The ladder and saw turned out to be due to the downstairs apartment being renovated, at least until the pair have destroyed it in their fight.
  • Cool Car: Clouseau has "The Silver Hornet" that is intended as this, but it's "overdue for its service" and only falls apart on him. The paint job is also spectacularly tacky.
  • Fainting: Dreyfus after Clouseau reveals that he's alive after all, and several times afterwards
  • Faking the Dead: Clouseau is thought to have been finally murdered. He goes undercover to capture or destroy the French mob.
  • Friend or Foe?: When the police raid the criminals in the final act, Inspector Dreyfus starts shooting at Clouseau who's disguised as a Mafia boss.
    Clouseau: (running for his life) Inspector Dreyfus, it's me—Clouseau!
    Dreyfus: I know! (keeps firing)
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": The world believes that Chief Inspector Clouseau has been killed, including his old supervisor Dreyfus, who had been committed to an asylum because of his murderous hatred for Clouseau. He recovers his sanity and his position upon Clouseau's death, and is asked to eulogize him, to which he ineffectively protests. Dreyfus delivers the eulogy but can barely restrain himself from laughing with glee, which he covers by pretending to shed Manly Tears, which moves everyone else to tears as well. Meanwhile, Clouseau sneaks into the burial in disguise and reveals his face to Dreyfus, who falls stunned into the grave.
  • House Squatting: Inspector Clouseau is declared dead in an assassination attempt (which actually killed the hijacker who had just stolen his car). Upon returning home the next day, he finds that his manservant Cato has taken over his apartment and turned it into a brothel.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: Though not obvious enough for our clueless detective, even though it's a Cartoon Bomb with sputtering fuse!
    Clouseau: Special delivery... a bomb. Were you expecting one? (Beat) A bomb?! AUUUUUGGHHH!!!!
  • Kung-Shui: Douvier's minion introduces four of their best assassins, whose job is not to kill Inspector Clouseau but martial artist Mr. Chong, the man they've hired to kill Clouseau. Chong proves his suitability for the job by taking out all four men with his bare hands, smashing up Douvier's expensive apartment in the process. He then walks up to Douvier's desk and smashes that up too. Douvier gets out of his chair, wordlessly hands a broom and dustpan to his minion, then leaves.
  • Large Ham: Clouseau, full-stop. One notable example is when Clouseau is disguised as a Swedish fisherman, complete with a peg leg and faulty inflatable parrot. His mangling of the sea shanty "Dead Man's Chest" climaxes in a really hammy manner deviating from the true lyrics even more than the first three lines:
    Sixteen chests on a dead man's rum
    Yo-ho-ho in the bottle of the chest
    Drink to the devils and done for the rums
  • Master of Disguise: A Running Gag is Clouseau's ridiculously elaborate and Overly Stereotypical Disguises.
  • Match in a Bomb Shack: Played for Laughs in the climax, a chaotic shootout in a dark fireworks warehouse. All the characters run past the warning signs without reading them; the one man who shouts a warning is ignored; and Dreyfus sets off a chain reaction of fireworks when he flicks his lighter to see better. The shootout continues amid the explosions.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Clouseau gets his clothing and borrowed car stolen by a transvestite armed robber who just got paroled from prison and promptly returned to his life of crime. After the French Connection destroys the car, Clouseau (now wearing the robber's dress) tries to identify himself to some men in a patrol car, and they assume that he is the robber in question pretending to be the deceased Chief Inspector and arrest him.
  • Mumbling Brando: Clouseau disguises himself as a Mafia godfather by dressing up in an overly-padded pin-striped suit and stuffing cotton balls in his cheeks. While drinking a toast with a genuine Mafioso, he accidentally swallows a cotton ball and starts choking.
  • Mythology Gag: A couple to A Shot In The Dark.
    • Upon arriving at the sanitarium, Clouseau threatens one of the men with having him transferred to Martinique and demoted to a meter maid which did happen to Clouseau before Balon called in some favours.
    • The Commissioner tells Dreyfus that his first assignment upon being reinstated to Chief Inspector is to find the one or ones responsible for Clouseau's death and joking adds that they'll be brought to the guillotine, a nod to how Clouseau stated that in the earlier film that the killer would rather see an innocent woman go to the guillotine than lose her to another man.
  • No Matter How Much I Beg: The film confirms that Cato follows Clouseau's instructions about surprise attacks to the letter, much to Clouseau's frustration.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: They're not just for cartoons anymore! And Revenge takes the charred-and-smoking reveal to a new level when Clouseau's state is enough to set paper on fire, and his attempt to put it out sets a whole office aflame in a case of Disaster Dominoes.
    • According to a newspaper we see towards the end of the film, all members of the French Connection were arrested which confirms they all survived the firework factory exploding even though the resultant fireball was taller then every building in the city.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Early in the film, during one of Clouseau and Cato's duels:
    Landlord: (to some prospective tenants) It's a very substantial building, but we're doing a great deal to it. I'm sure when it's finished, you'll find it peaceful and delightful.
    (he opens the apartment door and a screaming Clouseau and Cato run out)
  • Obvious Trap: Invoked Trope. After his first two attempts fail, Douvier rings up Clouseau with an anonymous tip-off to lure him to where his assassins are waiting. After he hangs up, Simone says that Clouseau will think it's a trap, but Douvier replies that he'll think it's too obvious to be a trap. Gilligan Cut to Cato and Clouseau arguing.
    Cato: But it's obviously a trap!
    Clouseau: Cato, it is too obvious to be a trap.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Cato's disguise in Hong Kong includes this. He can't see a thing in them, and as a result becomes even more clumsy than his employer.
  • Rump Roast: When the Hong Kong fireworks factory starts exploding, Douvier ducks under a table and is surprised when Simone (who should be back in France, or dead) joins him.
    Douvier: Simone?! What the hell are you doing here?!
    Simone: I'm waiting for the firecrackers to go off.
    Douvier: What firecrackers?
    Simone: The ones I just stuck in your pants.
    (Douvier screams in agony and runs off yelping)
  • Shout-Out: Simone Le Gree shares a similar name with sadistic slaveowner Simon Legree.
  • Special Effects Evolution: Compare the car bomb from A Shot in the Dark — which was realized by just shaking the camera and having someone shine an orange spotlight at Peter Sellers and Herbert Lom — with the much more impressive explosion that destroys Professor Balls' shop in this film, and it's clear that the studio was pouring a lot more money into the series by this point.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The climax is a shootout taking place in a warehouse full of fireworks, with predictable results.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Despite being disintegrated by the end of the last film, Dreyfus is still alive in this one.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: No mention is made of what happened to Dreyfus after he snaps and tries to kill Clouseau yet again. Or what the department does with two Chief Inspectors if he wasn't punished.
  • Whip of Dominance: After returning to his apartment following a long evening out, Inspector Clouseau finds that in his absence, his manservant Kato has turned the place into a Chinese-themed brothel. The Madam, mistaking Clouseau for a customer, summons Tanya the Lotus Eater, a Caucasian Dominatrix carrying a whip, who immediately starts beating and snaring Clouseau repeatedly, right after he foolishly tries telling her that he's opposed to women's liberation. Needless to say, Tanya is definitely a take-charge lady.
  • Woman Scorned: Douvier's plot starts to unravel because his wife demands he leave his mistress, and when Simone doesn't take it well, he orders a hit on her so that she can't spill the beans to the cops in revenge. Then Clouseau interrupts the assassination attempt by sheer chance, so she tells him about Douvier's link to the French Connection.