The Full History Of The Pink Panther
The Pink Panther franchise debuted in 1963. It has produced a total of 11 movies and has been used in a variety of other media, from books and comics to video games and even children’s cartoons. Let’s take a look at The Pink Panther‘s multiple films, notable cast members, and other intriguing details.
Less than a year after the original Pink Panther movie, the sequel, A Shot in the Dark, was produced. Peter Sellers returned as Jacques Clouseau, while Blake Edwards served as both director and producer.
Audiences got to see Clouseau’s showy French accent for the first time in this movie. Characters like Commissioner Dreyfus and Cato, who would go on to become fan favorites in the series, made their debut in A Shot in the Dark.
Edwards And Sellers’ Friendship
Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers were eager to explore more of the Clouseau character after their collaboration on the first Pink Panther movie, but their relationship drastically deteriorated when filming A Shot in the Dark.
By the time the movie was finished, Edwards and Sellers had even vowed never to collaborate again. Fortunately for Pink Panther fans, the two reconciled a few years later and collaborated on a number of movies.
The third movie in the series, Inspector Clouseau, marked a significant change from the first two because Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers did not return. Instead, Bud Yorkin assumed the director’s chair, and Alan Arkin played Clouseau.
The Mirisch Company invited Sellers and Edwards to work on the movie, but they turned it down. As a result, production went ahead without them. Sadly, Inspector Clouseau earned a bad reputation as a result of this choice.
Sellers Preferred That No One Else Fill The Position
Shortly before filming for Inspector Clouseau began, Peter Sellers had a change of heart. He called Mirisch and expressed his preference for him to portray Clouseau and his willingness to participate in the movie if he could first read the script and personally approve it.
Mirisch objected, though. The producer didn’t want to give in to Sellers’ requests because he was content with Alan Arkin at that point. As a result, production began with Arkin, who was already one of Hollywood’s most popular actors after being nominated for an Oscar.
After the underwhelming Inspector Clouseau, fans were eager to see The Return of the Pink Panther because it reunited several of the original cast members, including Blake Edwards as director and Peter Sellers as Clouseau.
However, it was quite difficult to have this movie made. Producer Walter Mirisch was interested in Blake Edwards’ idea for a new Pink Panther movie and approached him with it. United Artists, the studio’s financial backer, declined because they believed that the careers of Edwards and Sellers were declining.
A Watershed Moment
Even the team behind The Return of the Pink Panther wasn’t certain of its likelihood of success. Franchise supporters were also uncertain about it, including United Artists. Sellers was also concerned.
To everyone’s relief, The Return of the Pink Panther marked the franchise’s return to success. It was a pivotal moment in Sellers’ career and revived the series, allowing for additional movies to be produced in the years that followed.
The next movie was hastily rushed into production in order to capitalize on The Return of the Pink Panther‘s unexpected success. The film’s plot was based on a script Blake Edwards and Frank Waldman had been developing for a Pink Panther TV series, which was, fortunately, hanging around.
The connection between Sellers and Edwards, however, started to deteriorate once more because the entire procedure was so hurried. Sellers was having a terrible time, and Edwards later compared him to an “asylum convict” who was “certifiable.”
Romance Of The Pink Panther
The script for the upcoming installment in the series, Romance of the Pink Panther, was written by Jim Moloney and Peter Sellers. Blake Edwards would not have been the film’s director as a result of the issues between Sellers and Edwards.
The story revolves around Clouseau’s obsession with Pamela Stephenson’s The Frog, a cat burglar. The project had Clive Donner and Sidney Poitier linked as potential directors, but the movie was never made as a result of Sellers’ passing.
Even with the ups and downs of the franchise over the years, The Pink Panther has remained a beloved series.