Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In Lugash, the Pink Panther diamond is stolen by Gino Rossi, leading to a confrontation with Chief Inspector Clouseau. Meanwhile, the French government seeks Clouseau’s replacement, settling on the inept Officer Clifton Sleigh. Clifton’s journey to solve the case is fraught with assassination attempts and mistaken identities. Ultimately, he uncovers a conspiracy involving the Litton family and Countess Chandra.

‘Curse of the Pink Panther’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Curse of the Pink Panther (1983)In Lugash, Gino Rossi (Christopher Reich) pulls off a daring heist, stealing the legendary Pink Panther diamond from a museum in the Middle Eastern country. He attempts to sell it to Countess Chandra (Joanna Lumley) at her exclusive spa on Majorca. However, their transaction is rudely interrupted by Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the French national police force. In the ensuing chaos, Rossi aims at the inspector, only to be thwarted by Chandra, who shoots him dead, and then turns her gun on Clouseau.

The French government is thrown into disarray by the disappearance of their esteemed detective. Chief Inspector Dreyfus (Herbert Lom)—with the assistance of Aldous, the Huxley 600 supercomputer—is tasked with finding a replacement. Secretly delighted to be rid of the bumbling Clouseau, Dreyfus manipulates the computer to select the world’s least competent detective. Aldous settles on Officer Clifton Sleigh (Ted Wass), a well-intentioned but hopelessly inept New York City policeman.

In the bustling streets of New York City, Clifton Sleigh’s incompetence is on full display. He botches a sting operation by disguising himself as a woman to catch a purse snatcher, only to attract unwanted attention from various unsavory characters. Mistakenly arrested by fellow officers, he finds himself in disbelief when informed of his assignment to France by his exasperated commanding officer, Lieutenant Palmyra. Relieved to be rid of their worst detective, the precinct gladly sends Clifton off to join the Sûreté.

Meanwhile, a bunch of Mafia bosses revel in their newfound prosperity since Clouseau’s vanishing act. Led by Bruno (Robert Loggia), they seek to ensure the inspector’s permanent absence by contracting an assassin to eliminate Clifton before he departs the U.S. However, Clifton proves to be a slippery target, as the hired gunman meets his demise while attempting to take aim, plummeting to his death. Another hitman lies in wait for Clifton at the Paris airport, but fate intervenes as he stumbles and fatally impales himself on his own weapon.

Upon his initial meeting with Dreyfus in the latter’s office, Clifton’s clumsiness sends the inspector hurtling through an open window and into a concrete fishpond two stories below, resulting in a broken leg for Dreyfus. Meanwhile, Clifton ventures into Clouseau’s now-museum-like apartment, only to be confronted by Cato (Burt Kwouk), Clouseau’s loyal manservant. After overcoming Cato’s assault, Clifton seeks guidance from Professor Auguste Balls (Harvey Korman), the mastermind behind Clouseau’s disguises and the last person known to have seen him alive. Though lacking information on Clouseau’s whereabouts, Balls presents Clifton with his latest invention: the Instant Companion, an inflatable, lifelike female doll. Undeterred by further attempts on his life, Clifton resolves to kick-start his investigation at the scene of the diamond theft in Lugash.

Anticipating Clifton’s arrival, the President of Lugash, having already squandered the insurance payout from the stolen gem, directs his Secret Police to repatriate the detective before he can gather any incriminating evidence. Meanwhile, from her secluded spa on Majorca, Chandra monitors Clifton’s progress with amusement, sharing updates with Clouseau, whose visage remains concealed beneath bandages post-plastic surgery.

Clifton’s next stop is Nice, nestled along the French Riviera, where he encounters Sir Charles Litton (David Niven), accompanied by his wife, Lady Simone Litton (Capucine), and their newer acquaintance, George (Robert Wagner). Clifton’s clumsiness triggers inquiries from the Littons about any relation to Clouseau. Denying any kinship, Clifton recalls facing similar queries from the Lugash President. Sir Charles, though once interrogated by Clouseau post-robbery, denies involvement in the crime or the moniker “The Phantom,” dismissing rumors that George is his heir. Advising Clifton to pursue his inquiry in Valencia, Spain, Sir Charles bids him farewell.

In Spain, Clifton engages a taxi to reach his lodgings (driven by the same cabbie Marie Jouvet encountered in the prior film), only to find himself pursued by Bruno’s henchmen. Narrowly escaping, Clifton evades his pursuers with the aid of his Instant Companion, masquerading as a vacationing couple. However, a mishap with a cigarette causes a leak in the doll, prompting Clifton to return to his hotel for reinflation via a gas pipe, all while keeping Dreyfus abreast by phone.

Surviving the subsequent blast, Clifton ventures to Valencia amidst a festive atmosphere. Despite continued pursuit by Bruno’s goons, he evades capture in the bustling streets, seeking refuge in a nightclub. Here, he encounters Juleta Shane (Leslie Ash), a spirited Englishwoman skilled in martial arts. Together, they overpower the thugs and retreat to the hotel, where Juleta’s advances on Clifton are interrupted by Dreyfus’s surveillance. Misidentified as an imposter, Clifton narrowly avoids arrest when Juleta, actually Julie Morgan, Countess Chandra’s aide, is tranquilized. Seizing the opportunity, Clifton slips away amidst the chaos, aided by the distraction of a poisoned wine victim.

Offered a lift by George to the Litton yacht the following day, Clifton accompanies the Littons to Majorca, where Vichila, the local police chief, warns Chandra of Clifton’s impending arrival. Unable to approach the spa by conventional means, Clifton paraglides overhead, only to be downed by a shot from the wheelchair-bound Dreyfus, who inadvertently propels himself off a cliff. Unfazed, Clifton crashes into Chandra’s spa, where he encounters a disguised Clouseau, resembling actor Roger Moore (credited as Turk Thrust II). Enthralled by Clouseau’s deceptive guise and oblivious to his idiocy and accent, Clifton learns of Clouseau’s alias as “Gino Rossi” and his prior visit to the spa before facial reconstruction in Madrid. With this revelation, Clifton alerts the Sûreté and departs for Paris.

Meanwhile, Chandra and Clouseau crack open their safe, anticipating the sight of the Pink Panther, only to be greeted by a solitary white glove in its place. “Swine Phantom!” exclaims Clouseau, now impersonating Roger Moore.

At Sûreté headquarters, Dreyfus prematurely closes the case, wrongly attributing the theft to Clouseau, masquerading as Rossi. Gleeful to be rid of Clouseau, Dreyfus ignites the inspector’s dossier, but his celebratory act backfires as flames swiftly engulf his desk. Clifton rushes to the rescue with a fire hose, inadvertently propelling Dreyfus out of the window and into the concrete fishpond below, a recurring misfortune.

In the climactic scene aboard the Litton yacht, George admires the purloined Pink Panther diamond, while Sir Charles muses over the absence of his single white glove. Simone coyly hints at perpetuating “The Phantom’s” legacy, as the trio raises a toast to their triumph.

In a post-credits scene, the animated Pink Panther is depicted filching the Pink Panther jewel. Struggling under its weight, he fumbles and drops the diamond off-screen, shattering it into pieces.

Rate the Film!

Our Rating

MGM/UA Entertainment Company released Curse of the Pink Panther on August 12, 1983. Blake Edwards directed the film starring David Niven, Robert Wagner, and Herbert Lom.

User Rating: 0.84 ( 4 votes)
Show More
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x