• Inspector Clouseau



    Released by: Kino Studio Classics
    Released on: June 27th, 2017.
    Director: Bud Yorkin
    Cast: Alan Arkin, Frank Finlay, Delia Boccardo, Barry Foster
    Year: 1968
    Purchase From Amazon

    The Movie:

    After the success of Blake Edwards’ The Pink Panther and its follow up, A Shot In The Dark, the writer/director bowed out of the third film that The Mirisch Corporation wanted, as did leading man Peter Sellers. This left Bud Yorkin in the director’s chair and Alan Arkin in the unenviable position of having to replace Peter Sellers. The results, when judged on their own, aren’t bad – but that there is the problem, see. It’s impossible not to compare this picture to the two Edwards films and to compare Arkin to Sellers. They are, after all, playing the same character.

    The plot, such as it is, finds Clouseau on loan to Scotland Yard. He arrives in London to help them uncover the details of a robbery attempt that ties into some other, larger and more mysterious crimes that the local authorities have not been able to solve on their own. It more or less just sort of goes from there, giving Arkin ample opportunity to go way over the top in his portrayal of the character’s inherent clumsiness.

    "There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of those times."

    The storyline here is pretty much disposable. It is neither as interesting or as mysterious as the plots provided for the two Edwards/Sellers collaborations nor is it as good as the ones that would follow (Sellers’ final turn in the role, Trail Of The Pink Panther, made of outtakes and deleted footage, notwithstanding). The producers replaced clever with serviceable and the quality of the movie reflects it.

    To be fair, there are some good gags here. Some of the dialogue is witty and parts of this film will make you chuckle. But again, this brings us back to the film’s biggest problem, and that is that it isn’t Sellers in the role but Arkin asked to ape him. As such, we get the strong and overdone French accent that Sellers used to make Clouseau the character that he is, along with all of the slapstick and physically comedic traits, most of which Arkin, for better or worse (it’s for worse), dials up to eleven. Arkin tries. He was funnier, more natural and more interesting in other films and to be fair, he’s not the worse choice to replace Sellers – but then, you shouldn’t replace Sellers, at least not in a film sandwiched in between two far superior entries in the series.

    Location photography is nice. The movie is reasonably well paced. The film’s score is just fine. There are fun supporting performances from a few recognizable British actors like Patrick Cargill, Beryl Reid and Barry Foster. Hammer horror regular Michael Ripper shows up in the movie too – never a bad thing. That can’t prevent the film from feeling like a pale imitation of the real thing, however.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Inspector Clouseau arrives on a 25GB Blu-ray disc from Kino Lorber framed at 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer. No complaints here – the image is clean, sporting good detail and texture throughout and virtually no print damage. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction and color reproduction looks spot on.

    The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track with removable subtitles provided in English only. The audio is free of any issues and it offers up clean, clear and easily discernable dialogue alongside properly balanced levels and some decent depth.

    Extras for this release start off with an audio commentary featuring film historian William Patrick Maynard, who approaches his take on the movie pretty realistically, noting what works and what obviously doesn’t. There’s a lot of good background information here on how and why Arkin came to star in the picture, the absence of Blake Edwards, studio involvement, the contributions of the supporting players and quite a bit more.

    Additionally Kino has included a theatrical trailer for the feature bonus trailers for The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, After The Fox, The Curse Of The Pink Panther and Son Of The Pink Panther, menus and chapter selection. Also check out that great cover with the Jack Davis poster art front and center.

    The Final Word:

    Inspector Clouseau isn’t the complete disaster some have made it out to be over the years but neither is it any sort of underappreciated comedic masterpiece. Arkin is miscast but he gets points for trying, and while the script might be predictable and the physical comedy overdone, the movie nicely shot and occasionally funny, just not as consistently funny as it needed to be. Kino’s Blu-ray presentation is a good one, presenting the picture in great shape, with nice audio and a few extras.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!