Return of the Pink Panther (The) [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray B - United Kingdom - Fabulous Films
Review written by and copyright: Samuel Scott (21st December 2015).
The Film

***This is an A/V and Extras review only. For reviews on the movie from various critics, we recommend visiting HERE.***

The world's most hilariously disaster-prone detective is back on the case as Peter Sellers stars in this merry masterpiece of sheer slapstick sleuthing fun!

When the priceless Pink Panther diamond is stolen yet again, the inimitable Inspector Jacques Clouseau is saved from an unwilling early retirement and sent off to the country of Lugash to investigate. Certain the heist is the work of a suave jewel thief known as The Phantom, Clouseau unleashes his formidable array of outlandish disguises and preposterous deductive powers in a madcap pursuit of his would be quarry.

Tracked by his own, nerve-wracking boss, Clouseau carves a path of comical, crime-busting chaos across all of Europe in this delightfully zany comedy romp.

Video

Independent British distributor Fabulous Films released "The Return of the Pink Panther" on to DVD a few months back in the United Kingdom, in what turned out to be a port of the older Universal release. For this Blu-ray release - the format worldwide debut - Fabulous have once again licensed a master from Universal.

Presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and given a 1080p AVC MPEG-4 encode, this transfer obviously comes from a dated source, probably struck for the 2006 DVD release. There is some light damage noticeable throughout the runtime however it is made up of some minor occasional specks and nothing too major. At 36:45 there is some haloing/ringing around Catherine Schell's character Lady Litton, and this does happen on a couple of smaller objects in the film too. Blacks are generally quite deep, though in clothing can appear soft. There is some crush in the shadows, but it is negligible. Details on this Blu-ray release are unsurprisingly an improvement on what we have seen before, with smaller background details adding some solid depth, especially in external shots. Minute patterns in carpets, small bellows of smoke from cigarettes in ashtrays, facial hair, and furniture are all much finer and the issues with some of the blockiness from previous releases almost eradicated. It does seem some light digital noise reduction has been used, however it certainly has not been done to the degree that Universal sometimes treat their catalogue titles. A couple of scenes are very soft and washed out, but these are thankfully few in number. Whilst nobody will be ecstatic about this transfer, and some Panther fans will no doubt be disappointed by the dated master, there is no doubt in my mind it is the best it has looked on home media to date. Most fans will be happy, but like me, will still yearn for a new master which takes care of the issues found here.

The feature is uncut and runs 112:52.

Audio

Fabulous Films have included a single English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono track for this release, and it sounds fine. Although the track can sound a little flat, there are some scenes which are surprisingly full of depth for a mono track, with the hoover scene in the seventy third minute especially noteworthy. Dialogue is clean throughout and is only mumbled when part of the joke surrounding Clouseau's accent requires it. Henry Mancini's score is well utilised and never overpowers the dialogue. There are no drop outs, scratches, or pops, and I noticed no signs of background hiss. Everything sounds more pronounced than on the DVD, and this makes for a nice improvement.

In a bizarre decision, no subtitles have been included, despite Fabulous including them on the DVD. I guess the subtitle stream they were provided runs at PAL speed, so just wouldn't match up here without a little work.

Extras

Unfortunately there are no extra features.

Overall

The Film: B Video: C+ Audio: B Extras: F Overall: C+

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.