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Film / Trail of the Pink Panther

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"The trail that always leads to laughter..."

Trail of the Pink Panther is a 1982 crime/comedy film and the seventh installment in The Pink Panther franchise, once again directed by Blake Edwards. This was the first film in the series to be created after the death of Peter Sellers, and utilized previously-unused footage of Sellers as Clouseau from the previous films.

For the third time in the series, the Pink Panther diamond is once again stolen in Lugash. President Haleesh (Harold Kasket) requests the aid of Inspector Clouseau, seeing how he had managed to find the diamond before, much to Chief Inspector Dreyfus’ (Herbert Lom) continuing chagrin. While Dreyfus wallows away in his psychiatrist’s office, Clouseau bungles around the city before boarding a plane to Lugash.

Then he goes missing.

This news catches the attention of French television présentatrice Marie Jouvet (Joanna Lumley), who decides to seek out some of Clouseau’s old friends, including his senile father (Richard Mulligan), to learn more about his life and, against everyone's best wishes, find out what's become of him.

This film provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Situation: Organized crime picks up after Clouseau disappears. Whether this is just a coincidence or if he really was doing something to keep crime down is unclear, but The Don decides to assume its the later and work to prevent Clouseau from being found.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Marie Jouvet of television fame becomes the focus character of the film when Clouseau goes missing.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The film opens with these, with the Pink Panther and Clouseau messing about with the credits.
  • Dedication: The opening titles begin with a dedication to Peter Sellers.
    "To PETER ...the one and only Inspector Clouseau."
  • Fake Shemp: Two rather obvious examples can be seen when Clouseau buys groceries and in the final scene of him on the cliff.
  • Grub Tub: At one point, Dreyfus has a dream where he's living the high life in a fancy house on a hill. As he's about to dive into his swimming pool, his hot trophy wife tells him that he'd been sent 3000 pounds of Jell-O for his birthday. Dreyfus remarks that only Clouseau would be stupid enough to do that, before he finds out firsthand just where he put it.
  • Improvised Weapon: When she is attacked by Cato while looking through Clouseau's apartment, Marie grabs a frying pan from the kitchen to defend herself. She is successful despite Cato being a trained martial artist.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Marie is diligent in her exploration about what happened to Clouseau even after being threatened by the mob.
  • La Résistance: It's revealed Clouseau was a resistance fighter against the Nazi's, albeit a bumbling one who entirely failed to blow up a German convoy.
  • Missing Main Character: Thirty eight minutes into the film, Clouseau disappears en route to Lugash.
  • Nerves of Steel: Despite admitting that she will likely faint or throw up when she gets home, Marie refuses to show any sign that mob boss Bruno Langois intimidates her in the slightest.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Lugash president who've just sent for Clouseau to solve the case (and believes he can) after finding out the size of the insurance payment he'll have to give back if Clouseau recovers the Pink Panther.
  • Rearrange the Song: The Pink Panther Theme.
    • The opening titles variant offers a much more mellow take on the theme, with a heavier use of flutes and soft strings rather than swinging brass.
    • The end titles variant is played over a Credits Montage of Peter Sellers' funniest moments as Inspector Clouseau and even includes a small excerpt of The Inspector Clouseau Theme.
  • Right Behind Me: Bruno's girlfriend is right behind him when he talks about Marie's ass as she leaves and makes her displeasure very evident.
  • Shout-Out: Oddly, during the main titles, the Pink Panther and Clouseau turn into weird ball-shaped monsters, a deliberate reference of the video game Pac-Man, which came out two years prior.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: The thief who steals the diamond and causes Clouseau to go after it (crashing his plane) is only onscreen for about a minute (and a few seconds in the opening of the next movie).
  • Snap Back: The film can't quite seem to decide whether it's attempting this. Certain plot details and bits of dialogue seem to imply that it's ignoring all three of the 1970s sequels and instead acting as an alternate sequel to A Shot in the Dark, with Clouseau having been promoted to co-chief with Dreyfus in the aftermath of the Ballon case, and Dreyfus never having gone insane beyond his Villainous Breakdown at the end of Shot. On the other hand, the movie features flashbacks to the 1970s sequels, and there's a fleeting reference to this being the third time the Pink Panther jewel has been stolen (the first of course being in the first film, and the second being in Return).