Original Spin: Beginning with 1963’s The Pink Panther, Peter Sellers played quintessentially klutzy French inspector Jacques Clouseau in a series of six Pink Panther pix. Although there was always some flimsy cloak-and-dagger plot, the movies worked best when Sellers’ hysterical slapstick and impenetrable accent held center stage.
Often, when an actor appears in a sequel, it’s a sign that his career is dead. Trail of the Pink Panther took this concept to a whole new level–Peter Sellers was literally dead when director Blake Edwards patched together this turkey with outtakes from previous movies.
It’s structured as a series of flashbacks. “Why, I remember the time that crazy Clouseau did…” Some scenes are tied together with a stand-in for Sellers (keep an eye peeled for bad wigs and shades). Edwards should be ashamed of exploiting his old buddy Sellers in such a shoddy fashion, but as anyone who has watched Edwards’ movies knows, he has no shame.
The suave David Niven, a veteran of the original Panther flick, and the apoplectic Herbert Lom, a longtime Sellers foil, simply aren’t enough to carry a Pink Panther movie.
The Best of the Mess: Peter Sellers buffs may choose to think of his scenes as DVD extras, bonus features in search of a movie. It’s far from his best work, but there’s something worthwhile even in the rehearsals of a genius.
Our Alternate Title: Clouseau-less