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Film / The Pink Panther Strikes Again

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"Why are the world's chief assassins after Inspector Clouseau?
Why not? Everybody else is."

The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976) is the fifth film in The Pink Panther franchise, once again directed by Blake Edwards and starring Peter Sellers as (now-Chief Inspector) Clouseau.

Three years after the events of The Return of the Pink Panthernote , Former Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is seemingly cured, but after meeting up with Clouseau prior to his release from the psychiatric hospital, the therapy is undone. Dreyfus escapes and organizes a criminal gang that kidnaps nuclear physicist Hugo Fassbender (Richard Vernon) and his daughter Margo (Briony McRoberts). Forcing the former to build a Disintegrator Ray, Dreyfus threatens to unleash it on the world unless Clouseau is killed, and many countries immediately send assassins after Clouseau as he sets out to stop Dreyfus himself.


Followed by Revenge of the Pink Panther.

This film provides examples of:

  • Activation Sequence: A villainous version, with Dreyfus' Disintegrator Ray taking a long time to activate before being used in an attempt to destroy England.
  • Actor Allusion: Dreyfus' organ playing and cape within the film is a nod to the fact Herbert Lom had starred in The Phantom of the Opera (1962).
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The novelization of the movie (by screenplay co-writer Frank Waldman) features a totally different and relatively bizarre ending where both Dreyfus and Professor Fassbender are disintegrated by the Doomsday Machine. The final chapter reveals that they have rematerialized in the distant future in a lonely part of space known as the Ultimate Galaxy of the Dimension Quattro (where everything they've disintegrated, including the United Nations Building and the front half of a dog named Shlep, has ended up). Facing an eternity together as the sole inhabitants of this empty plane of existence, Dreyfus and Fassbender have become friends.
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  • An Arm and a Leg: After being catapulted back into the castle, Clouseau lands on top of the doomsday machine, knocking it out of position and zapping Dreyfus' legs. Despite this, Dreyfus is still able to walk normally until the entire castle is vaporized. He is also able to play the pipe organ after his arms disappear.
  • Animated Credits Opening: Produced by Richard Williams' Studio. Can be seen here along with the Creative Closing Credits.
  • Armed Legs: One of the killers uses a shoe knife.
  • Artifact Title: The Pink Panther diamond plays no part in the film's plot.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Dreyfus declares he will make the UN building disappear at 3PM Eastern Standard Time, which would be 9PM in Germany. However, it is broad daylight in both locations.
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Going by the way that Clouseau accidentally shot a man in the ass by knocking one over and making it go off, Professor Fassbender stores his hunting rifles loaded and unsafed.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Dreyfus may have reflected the doomsday LASER off of a satellitenote , because otherwise, the LASER beam fired from Germany would have to be pointed through the Earth to reach the United Nations Building in New York City. This issue is never explained in the film, but this is a comedy after all. Targeting the LASER on England may be more plausible.
  • Badass Boast: Dreyfus says a couple for Clouseau, although they are not meant to be compliments at all:
    Dreyfus: This (the disintegrator laser)? This is only a water pistol next to Clouseau.
    • In another scene, one of Dreyfus' goons points out the obvious: Dreyfus has some of the best criminals in the world right here in the room, why not just send them to kill Clouseau? Dreyfus' answer? "They wouldn't survive."
  • Balloonacy: Clouseau is floated out of his apartment window by the inflatable hump in his hunchback costume, thereby causing him to miss the bomb Dreyfus sets off.
  • Bank Robbery: Dreyfus breaks a number of criminals out of prison and has them rob a bank in order to secure the funds he needs for his plot.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Dreyfus orchestrates the escape of a prisoner being transported by train. He goes to the bathroom, then climbs out through the ventilator on to the roof of the train and holds onto the skid of a waiting helicopter.
  • Big Secret: Fassbender's butler lies about having witnessed the crime due to concern that it will come out that he's a Drag Queen.
  • The Cameo:
    • Omar Sharif plays the Egyptian assassin whom the Russian one mistakes for Clouseau on their initial meeting; he beds her, and she falls in love and chooses not to kill him, which is extremely confusing for the real Clouseau later.
    • There's also a musical cameo: the (intentionally) awful singing voice sported by drag queen Jarvis is supplied by Julie Andrews via dubbing.
  • Captain Obvious:
    François: What kind of bomb was it?
    Clouseau: The exploding kind.
  • Carnival of Killers: The world's greatest assassins descend on Munich in attempt to kill Clouseau and end up wiping each other out. (Coincidentally, given this trope's name, the sequence in question takes place at an Oktoberfest celebration.)
  • Catapult to Glory: Clouseau is inadvertently lofted through a castle window by a catapult.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the opening, Clouseau tells Dreyfus that he might run for office in a few years. Dreyfus stifles a laugh and says he'll certainly vote for him. Clouseau then replies that, in return, he'll ensure he's released. Dreyfus then does the sign of the cross in a "God help me" sort of way, to which Clouseau just says "yes, I know how you feel."
  • Contrived Coincidence: Clouseau checks into an inn near Mondschein Castle. Later, Dreyfus calls the innkeeper to request a dentist who happens to live there.
  • Darker and Edgier: It could be the second darkest film in the franchise, though it's more of a Black Comedy.
  • Delayed Reaction: Clouseau doesn't notice that the helium hump in his Quasimodo disguise has caused him to float out the window until Cato tries to speak to him. Cato is naturally unfazed seeing him floating above the street.
  • Disintegrator Ray: The device created by Professor Fassbender (and used by former Chief inspector Dreyfus as a weapon of mass destruction).
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Dreyfus attempts to destroy an entire country because he was lied to about Clouseau's assassination. The country that falsely claimed to kill Clouseau is Egypt. The country Dreyfus decides to punish is England.
    • Well, he did say "they all betrayed me" and his demand to have Clouseau killed was directed at the entire world, so...
    • And then there's of course the whole plot hinging on him threatening to destroy/kill the entire world unless someone kills Clouseau for him.
    • Lastly, Professor Fassbender was from England, and Dreyfus was completely insane by that point.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Dreyfus hijacks every TV signal in order to announce his death warrant for Clouseau. Problem: Nobody knows what he's talking about and are more concerned that he interrupted the big football game.
    President Ford: Call the FBI. Call the CIA. Call the Pentagon! Find out who won the game!
  • Down to the Last Play: The football game that Dreyfus preempted, to President Ford's dismay.
  • The Dragon: Bank robber Tournier, who is the first recruit to Dreyfus's army, acts as an advisor to him and goes to try and kill Clouseau himself after most of the world's assassins fail.
  • Dramatic Thunder: The first shot of Mondschein Castle is accompanied by a thunderclap.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: When Dreyfus attempts to blow up Clouseau in his apartment, he calls him, to ensure he's within the blast radius, and claims he's part of a committee that intends to present him with an award. Clouseau remarks that he wondered why, after nine years of service, he's not been recognized sooner.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: Dreyfus has several women as part of his crew.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Dreyfus is wearing a grey suit in the opening, and once he becomes a supervillain, he dresses in all black.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Dreyfus is fully aware that he has turned into a Bond villain and is enjoying every minute of it.
  • Exact Words:
    Closeau: Does your dog bite?
    Hotel Clerk: No.
    Closeau: <petpetpet> Nice doggie!
    Dog: OMNOMNOM!
    Closeau: I thought you said your dog did not bite!
    Hotel Clerk: That is not my dog.
  • Explosive Instrumentation: The computers and panels in the control room start exploding as the doomsday machine overloads.
  • Face Death with Dignity: As the laser slowly destroys the castle, Dreyfus remains playing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" on the organ.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: in his previous films, Dreyfus' has been a threat just to Clouseau. Here, he is the leader of a powerful crime group and threaten's the world's powers into doing what he wants.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Dreyfus' fate. As he tries to destroy England with his laser, Clouseau accidentally knocks it around at the crucial moment - it malfunctions and zaps Dreyfus instead.
  • Honey Trap: Olga, the Soviet agent. She seduces her prey before killing them, even boasting that no man had ever been able to involve her emotionally. However, she ends up seducing the Egyptian assassin, mistaking him for Clouseau, and falls in love with the real Clouseau, much to his confusion.
  • I Have Your Wife: Fassbender's daughter is threatened to make him build Dreyfus's device.
  • Instrument of Murder: A clarinet blowgun.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: During Kato's surprise attack on Clouseau, Kato displays impressive ability wielding a staff and Clouseau shows off his elite skill with a pair of nunchucks before they start using them to fight.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: When Inspector Clouseau goes to Munich, the yearly Oktoberfest festival is going on; justified as the film takes place on and around October 9th. During the celebration, the world's greatest assassins compete to kill him.
  • Madness Mantra: Dreyfus' "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better!"
  • Manly Gay: Jarvis the butler is drag queen and kisses Clouseau at one point but drives around on a motorcycle and is able to kill an assassin who tries to silence him.
  • Monumental Damage: Dreyfus vaporizes the United Nations building to make his threat clear. He is initially disappointed when told that the machine will not leave a crater or wreckage.
  • Murphy's Bed: It's the basis for the final non-animated gag.
  • Nails on a Blackboard: Used as a literal torture method.
  • Naked in Mink: Olga Beriosova (Lesley-Anne Down) seduces Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers) in a scene that is beyond words.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The U.S. President and Secretary of State are obvious parodies of Gerald Ford and Henry Kissinger.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Upon reading the transcript of Dreyfus' threat, the Scotland Yard detectives initially laugh it off, until they read that he intends to make the UN building disappear. They realize he intends to use Fassbender's work to make good on his threat.
    • Clouseau is catapulted onto the doomsday machine, knocking it out of position. Everyone in the control room panics upon seeing the machine is now pointing inside.
  • Oktoberfest: The hilarious scene where Clouseau goes to the Munich Oktoberfest and several dozen assassins from around the world accidentally kill each other while trying to kill him.
  • Ominous Opera Cape: Dreyfus wears a black opera cape while making his threat to the world.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: Former Chief Inspector Dreyfus plays a version of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" instead of the usual Bach Toccata.
  • Operation: [Blank]: Fassbender worked on a project called Operation Looking Glass, which was the basis of his doomsday machine.
  • Potty Dance: Just before activating the doomsday machine, Dreyfus says he needs to go to the bathroom and tells Fassbender to hold off until he gets back. The Professor says he has already started the firing sequence, causing Dreyfus to wince in discomfort as he watches the machine being aimed.
  • Pretty in Mink: Would-be assassin Olga wears a full-length coat and hat.
  • Rake Take: While talking with Clouseau in the prologue, Dreyfus steps on one, causing him to fall over in the water... again.
  • Realpolitik: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, one of history's most famous proponents of Realpolitik, suggests that Dreyfus will likely hand over the doomsday machine to whichever country eliminates Clouseau. Hence, the assassins are ordered to kill each other in order to be the one with a shot at Clouseau, though they all fail against him nonetheless. In reality, Dreyfus muses that he might continue his reign of terror regardless of whether Clouseau is killed or not.
  • Reference Overdosed: The opening titles include parodies of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Batman, King Kong, The Sound of Music, Dracula, Singin' in the Rain, Steamboat Bill, Jr., and Sweet Charity. The closing scene includes a parody of Jaws.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Professor Fassbender. Dreyfus kidnaps him and threatens to torture his daughter if he doesn't build a doomsday machine based on his theoretical studies.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: The "Strikes Again" version is used for this title.
  • Running Gag: The amount of times Dreyfus is knocked into the pond at the beginning.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dreyfus is due to be released from the insane asylum when Clouseau drives him to insanity within the span of five minutes. After that, he goes full James Bond supervillain just to have Clouseau killed.
  • Screen-to-Stage Adaptation: A stage version was created for regional/amateur theaters in 1981. It's a Pragmatic Adaptation that, among other things, gives the Girl of the Week more characterization, has its own "Pink Panthers" (stagehands who sometimes interfere with the plot), and completely rethinks the climax: the disintegrator ray has a self-destruct mechanism built in that the professor activates. Dreyfus is ready to go down with it, but Clouseau's morals and sense of honor mean he's ready to Save the Villain...or go down with him. The prospect of going into eternity with Clouseau is terrifying enough for Dreyfus that he allows himself to be saved and taken into custody.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After Clouseau knocks the doomsday machine out of position and zaps Dreyfus, everyone immediately flees the castle.
  • Separated by a Common Language: Clouseau and the hotel clerk.
    Clouseau: (in his usual exaggerated French accent) Tell me, do you have a room?
    Clerk: I do not know what a "rheum" is.
    Clouseau: (pulling out his English-to-German dictionary) "Zimmer".
    Clerk: Ah! A "room"!
    Clouseau: That is what I've been saying, you idiot.
  • Sequel Escalation: Clouseau goes from investigating robberies and murders to try to save the world. Also Dreyfus has been trying to kill Clouseau ever since his first appearance in A Shot in the Dark, but in this film he goes full-blown James Bond supervillain and threatens to destroy the world unless someone, anyone, kills Clouseau.
  • Sex–Face Turn: The same effect is achieved not by the antagonistic woman actually seducing the hero, but by having her sleep with someone she thought was him when it was in fact another member of the same multi-national Carnival of Killers as her. This leaves the hero very confused when she suddenly appears naked in his bed professing her undying love for him.
  • Sherlock Scan: In the opening, Dreyfus shows off some of his policeman skills by remarking that his psychiatrist has had another fight with his wife, as it is the only time he doodles.
  • Shout-Out: The movie has this in spades, eight of which are in the opening credits alone.
  • Siege Engines: Inspector Clouseau is accidentally propelled up and through a castle window by a catapult.
  • Spanner in the Works: When Clouseau unwittingly lands on top of the laser and ends up unintentionally aiming it at Dreyfus.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Some of the criminals ask Dreyfus why they don't just go after Clouseau themselves, instead of having the world's assassins do it. Dreyfus replies that they would not stand a chance.
  • Supervillain Lair: The Bavarian castle that Dreyfus has bought and converted into his hiding spot for the doomsday machine. The control room definitely looks like something out of a James Bond film.
  • Sweater Girl: Margo Fassbender spends most if not all of her screen time in a sweater that isn't exactly bulky.
  • Sweet Tooth: Dreyfus helps himself to sweets, eventually getting a cavity.
  • Take Over the World: Dreyfus' ostensible goal in creating the doomsday device, but the true reason is simply to get Clouseau killed. Though he later tells Fassbender that he considered continuing his reign of terror regardless of whether Clouseau is eliminated.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jean Tournier, an otherwise brilliant criminal, goes against Dreyfus's advice and decides to take out Clouseau himself for clout. His plan? Sneak into Clouseau's hotel room disguised as Clouseau himself. He is immediately gunned down by the Egyptian assassin, showing that maybe dressing as the man all the world's greatest killers are openly gunning for may not have been the best call.
  • The Tooth Hurts: Former Chief Inspector Dreyfus gets a bad toothache and sends for a dentist. Clouseau pretends to be the dentist and performs dental malpractice on Dreyfus.
    Dreyfus: (laughing goofily throughout due to an overdose of nitrous oxide) He has pulled the wrong tooth! There's only one man who would pull the wrong tooth. It's Clouseau! Kill him! Kill him!
  • Torpedo Tits: One of the killers, a cross-dressed man, attacks Clouseau with spikes emerging from the fake tits in his dress. He meets his end when he's pinned to a table.
  • Twitchy Eye: Dreyfus' famous twitch is more pronounced than ever here. When he is disintegrated at the end, it's the last thing that we see of his face.
  • Uncertain Doom: Two of the assassins at the Oktoberfest who kill other assassins (a sniper peeking out the mouth of a dragon prop and a piper who shoots a poisoned dart) aren't shown dying on screen, although it's later claimed that the Russian and Egyptian assassins are the last ones left and there's little reason to doubt that statement.
  • Villain Ball: Upon seeing that Clouseau is in the castle, Dreyfus announces he will pick a target and then worry about Clouseau. Then again, he has gone completely insane by this point.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: At the Oktoberfest, Clouseau wanders aimlessly through the festival while dozens of assassins end up killing each other while trying to kill him. The easiest incident to describe was when he entered the center stall at a restroom, while two gunmen entered the other two. Clouseau bends over to pick up a dropped roll of toilet paper at the moment the assassins fire, resulting in a Mutual Kill.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Dreyfus gleefully tortures Fassbender's daughter Margot to convince him to build the laser.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: After three years of therapy, Dreyfus is finally sane again and within hours of being released from the asylum. He suffers a total relapse and ends up even crazier than before after spending a mere five minutes in Clouseau's company.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: In the final scene, Clouseau tries (and fails) to seductively take off his suit to a Tom Jones song before his love scene with Olga.
  • You're Insane!: Professor Fassbender is quick to point out that Dreyfus is mad.


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