"Hey, anyone wanna PISS all over Peter Sellers' grave??"
Remember Peter Sellers? The comic genius who died considerably before his time? In addition to being remembered quite fondly by film fans around the world, he also has the distinction of being whored out for a sequel - AFTER he died!The wonderful Peter Sellers was known as a true comic genius, and is best remembered for the Inspector Clouseau character from the Pink Panther series. As is often the case in an extended series of films, the early ones are classics, while the later ones are poor money-grubbing junk at its worst.
Trail of the Pink Panther goes beyond the realm of a normal 'bad' movie. Before I explain why, here's a quick look back at the series.
The Pink Panther-1963 A Shot in the Dark-1964 Return of the Pink Panther-1974 The Pink Panther Strikes Again-1976 Revenge of the Pink Panther-1978
These four films (especially the last three) are hysterically funny and well-made slapstick comedies. Clouseau's complete stupidity always worked out for him in the end. The supporting characters added a lot to what was essentially a one-man show: Herbert Lom as the inspector's long-suffering superior, Dreyfus, is howlingly funny as he progresses from homicidal hatred to outright insantiy. I also got a kick out of Clouseau's relationship with his abusive yet loyal manservant, Kato (Bert Kwouk). The high-concept slapstick silliness was always tempered perfectly with Seller's imbecilic yet arrogant portrayal of the clueless detective...and that accent!
Curse of the Pink Panther-1983 Son of the Pink Panther-1993
Both movies were made after the death of Peter Sellers, and tried to introduce new 'bumbling Inspectors' and perhaps breathe new life into an already dead series of movies. Unfortunately, Curse of the Pink Panther featured the awful Ted (Sheena) Wass and if you know the Ted Wass I'm speaking of, the you also know that he's about as funny as a dead fern. Even more disturbing was the choice for Son of the Pink Panther: Roberto Benigni! He got the plum role a few years before becoming the blithering, drooling moron we all enjoyed laughing at during the Oscars a few years back.
Trail of the Pink Panther-1982
So why is this swill the worst of the bunch? This movie was released after the untimely death of Peter Sellers. This movie consists entirely of unused clips and outtakes from the earlier Panther films! After he was already dead! Doesn't that just seem a little goddam creepy to anyone? Did the ghoulish Blake Edwards need some extra cash that badly?
Trail of the Pink Panther is simply a compilation of moronic characters, who sit back and reminisce about their wacky adventures with Clouseau, and then some outtake from another movie is presented as a flashback! So not only are we watching crap footage off the cutting room floor from a movie five years old, but it's the only way they could get Peter Sellers to be in the movie, because he had to die and screw the whole Pink Panther series! How selfish.
Never mind that this movie is a plotless and brainless affair for its entire running time. Ignore the fact that the performances by Richard Mulligan and Herbert Lom are so awful that you'll think they were brainwashed. Look past the predictable pratfalls and the insufferably pathetic sexual innuendoes. What you'll find is a movie that's reprehensible on a moral level, let alone an artistic one.Maybe I just take this movie stuff a bit too seriously, but I think this type of sequel is just the lowest of the low. Trying to squeeze a few extra pennies out of a rapidly worsening series, and to go as far as this. Surely the great Peter Sellers deserved a better swan song than this. Blake Edwards should be ashamed of himself for even considering this movie, let alone producing and releasing the reprehensible thing.