Son of the Pink Panther

Son of the Pink Panther (1993) is the ninth entry in the 30-year-old The Pink Panther film series. Directed by Blake Edwards, it stars Roberto Benigni as Inspector Clouseau's illegitimate son. Also in this film are Panther regulars Herbert Lom, Burt Kwouk and Graham Stark and a star of the original 1963 film, Claudia Cardinale. It was the final film for both writer-director Blake Edwards and composer Henry Mancini; Edwards retired from movie making, and Mancini died the following year. It opened to poor box office and bitter reviews from critics who felt the Pink Panther movies had run their course. Princess Yasmin of Lugash (Debrah Farentino) is abducted in French territorial waters off the coast of Nice by terrorists led by a mercenary named Hans (Robert Davi)) in order to force her father to abdicate and allow her disgraced stepmother's lover, a military general with terrorist ties to an unfriendly neighboring kingdom to claim the throne. Police Commissioner Dreyfus (Herbert Lom) is tasked with solving the case of the kidnapped princess. While investigating her disappearance in the South of France, he has a run-in with the kidnappers, and a local gendarme, named Jacques Gambrelli (Roberto Benigni). Gambrelli opens the trunk of the kidnapper's van and unknowingly spies the Princess who he believes is the driver's sister en route to the hospital. During the investigation, Dreyfus learns that Gambrelli is in fact the illegitimate son of the late Inspector Jacques Clouseau, which leads to the injured (by Gambrelli) Dreyfus sending the clutzy cop off to rescue the princess and prove himself his father's true heir. Claudia Cardinale played the Princess in the original Pink Panther film. Here she returns as Maria Gambrelli, the part originally played by Elke Sommer in A Shot in the Dark. This was the first Pink Panther film in a decade, following two unsuccessful attempts to continue the series following the death of Peter Sellers, who originated the character of Clouseau. Considered a relaunch of the series, the plan was for Benigni—a popular Italian comedian who had yet to be discovered in America—to continue on where Sellers had left off. Son of the Pink Panther failed to generate critical or commercial success, the loss of Sellers proving once again to be too great. Benigni was not Edwards' first choice for the role. Kevin Kline, Rowan Atkinson, Gérard Depardieu and Tim Curry were all considered before Benigni won the role. The film's budget of $28 million came partly from MGM (then under Alan Ladd Jnr) and with $13.8 million from Aurielo De Laurentiis' company, Filmauro. Filming started 8 June 1992 and finished 14 months later, taking place in Pinewood Studios and the country of Jordan. The opening Pink Panther sequence cost an estimated $1 million.[1] Before Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation established in the same year, the opening Pink Panther sequence is made by Desert Music Pictures. Perhaps appropriately, this was the final film scored by Henry Mancini (he makes a cameo himself in the opening titles, giving his baton to the Panther who conducts the film's variation of the Theme). The soundtrack album was released by Milan Records. Kroyer Films created the opening and closing titles for the film starring the animated Pink Panther and Clouseau Junior characters. The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. The Radio Times Guide To Films gave the film only 1 star out of 5. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 6% based on 35 reviews. Roberto Benigni's performance in the film earned him a Razzie Award nomination for Worst New Star. This was the last Panther film to be directed by Blake Edwards; it was also Edwards' final film. The series was rebooted in 2006 with the release of The Pink Pantherstarring Steve Martin as Inspector Jacques Clouseau and Kevin Kline (previously considered for the role of Clouseau) as Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus. The Pink Panther 2 saw Kline's Dreyfus replaced by John Cleese. To date, this is the only Pink Panther movie to be released straight to video in Britain.