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Pink Panther Strikes Again, The (1976, Peter Sellers, Lesley Anne-Down)

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The fourth film in the Pink Panther series saw director Blake Edwards and star Peter Sellers back together with Sellers as the superbly incompetent Jacques Clouseau, now promoted to Chief Inspector. The reason for his rise is that his predecessor, Charles Dreyfus (Herbert Lom), was driven mad in The Return of the Pink Panther and committed.

The film opens with Dreyfus escaping from the asylum and setting up a criminal empire. Kidnapping scientist Dr Fassbender (Richard Vernon), he uses his knowledge to build a ray machine that can ‘disappear’ whole cities. With the world at his mercy, Dreyfus has one demand: the death of Clouseau!

As Clouseau tries to track down Dreyfus’s hideout, the world’s governments put their finest assassins on the case but naturally, Closeau continually cheats death by his own incompetence. As he closes in on Dreyfus, one of them, Russian agent Olga (Lesley-Anne Down) falls for his charms and joins his quest.

By now director and star were so familiar with the character that the film could assume audience knowledge and expand on gags both perpetrated by Clouseau and at his expense. The accompanying cast, including Leonard Rossiter as a world-weary British cop shadowing his French counterpart and, of course, Burt Kwouk as Clouseau’s manservant Cato, given to surprise training attacks at just the wrong moment, add to the humour, and Lom is superb as the twitching, maddened Dreyfus.

production details
UK – USA | 103 minutes | 1976

Writer and Director: Blake Edwards

cast
Herbert Lom as Dreyfus
Leonard Rossiter as Quinlan
Omar Sharif as Egyptian Assassin (uncredited)
Byron Kane as Secretary of State
Colin Blakely as Drummond
Julie Andrews as Ainsley Jarvis (singing voice) (uncredited)
André Maranne as Francois
Burt Kwouk as Cato
Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau
Lesley-Anne Down as Olga
Howard K. Smith as Himself (scenes deleted)
Dick Crockett as The President
Joan Rhodes as Daphne
Michael Robbins as Jarvis
Deep Roy as Italian Assassin