Inspector Clouseau (film)

Inspector Clouseau is a 1968 British comedy film. It was directed by Bud Yorkin, written by Frank Waldman and Tom Waldman and stars Alan Arkin as Inspector Clouseau. It was filmed by Mirisch Films at the MGM-British Studios, Borehamwood and in Europe.

Inspector Clouseau
Directed byBud Yorkin
Produced byLewis J. Rachmil
Screenplay byFrank Waldman
Tom Waldman
Based onCharacters:
Blake Edwards
Maurice Richlin
StarringAlan Arkin
Music byKen Thorne
CinematographyArthur Ibbetson
Edited byJohn Victor-Smith
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
  • 28 May 1968 (1968-05-28) (Los Angeles)[1]
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box officen/a

Screenwriter Frank Waldman would later co-write The Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, Revenge of the Pink Panther, and Trail of the Pink Panther. Tom Waldman would co-write Trail with Frank.

The film was not directed by Blake Edwards, did not have a score by Henry Mancini and the title role was not portrayed by Peter Sellers. All three were involved at that time with the film The Party. The Mirisch Company wanted to proceed with this film, so when Sellers and Edwards declined to participate, Mirisch decided to proceed without them. The film languished in obscurity and although it has been released to home video on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray, was not included in 2004's Pink Panther Collection but was later added to the Ultimate collection released in 2008.

The film received mostly negative reviews and performed poorly at the box office.


An organized crime wave strikes across Europe. Suspecting a mole within Scotland Yard, the Prime Minister brings Clouseau in to solve the case. Clouseau foils two assassination attempts but is subsequently kidnapped. The gang uses him to make masks of his face which they later use to commit a series of daring bank robberies across Switzerland. Eventually, Clouseau foils the plot and unmasks the traitor within the Yard.


Cast notes

In addition to the title role, Arkin also played the members of the gang whenever they were disguised as Clouseau, with the other actors' voices dubbed onto the soundtrack.


Following the two successful previous Pink Panther films, Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers vowed never to work together again. Producer Walter Mirisch was interested in a third Panther film, but Sellers repeatedly refused the role. Following Alan Arkin's success in The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, Mirisch asked Arkin if he would fill the role vacated by Sellers. Blake Edwards turned down the director's chores so Mirisch found Bud Yorkin. Just prior to shooting, Sellers contacted Mirisch stating that only he could play the role and would, if he himself approved the script. Mirisch turned him down.[2] In addition, series regulars Chief Insp. Dreyfus and Cato are absent from the film.

The film was produced by Louis Rachmil as one of Mirisch Films United Kingdom's film company qualifying for Eady Levy funds. Location scenes for Inspector Clouseau were shot in Europe.[3]

The animated opening credits were created and designed by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and animated by London-based TVC, using DePatie-Freleng`s character design of The Inspector from the series of short cartoons under that title. (DePatie Freleng also animated the Pink Panther cartoon shorts, as well as the opening credit sequences for most of the Edwards-Sellers Clouseau films.)


Renata Adler of The New York Times was negative, calling the film "one of those episodic, all-purpose arbitrary comedies in which anything goes—and nothing works."[4] Variety praised the film as "a lively, entertaining and episodic story of bank robbers. Good scripting, better acting and topnotch direction get the most out of the material."[5] Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 stars out of 4, writing that "Arkin provides some funny scenes," but that they "are the exception and not the rule, however. For most of the time, events move pretty slowly, and the camera lingers on Arkin, waiting for moments of inspiration that never come."[6] Time magazine wrote, "Arkin follows meticulously in his predecessor's flatfootsteps, but the result is only a parody of a parody," adding, "Bud Yorkin's slovenly direction makes the film look as if every expense had been spared, trapping Arkin in a farce of habit that will probably retire Clouseau to oblivion — one picture too late."[7] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "a dull comedy ... that deflates faster than a leaky balloon. Not that it's the highly gifted Arkin's fault. He tries and tries (and occasionally succeeds) but the uninspired script is hopeless from the start."[8] Leo Sullivan of The Washington Post called it "a mirthless failure."[9] Penelope Gilliatt of The New Yorker called it "an incredibly bad film, but Alan Arkin is sometimes very funny in it, especially when he doesn't try to be."[10] The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote, "Though it moves at a fast enough pace and is more inventively directed than A Shot in the Dark (Bud Yorkin makes good use of his elaborate sets and expensive gadgetry), this third film in the Clouseau series finally demonstrates that the joke has run out of steam. That it works at all is largely due to Alan Arkin's performance as Clouseau, which emerges as a hilarious blend of Keaton and Sellers."[11]


  1. "Inspector Clouseau (Advertisement)". Los Angeles Times. May 26, 1968. Calendar, p. 18.
  2. pp.167-168 Mirisch, Walter I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History Univ of Wisconsin Press, 2008
  3. TCM Notes
  4. Adler, Renata (25 July 1968). "Screen: 'Inspector Clouseau' Arrives". The New York Times: 26.
  5. "Inspector Clouseau". Variety: 6. 22 May 1968.
  6. Ebert, Roger (6 June 1968). "Inspector Closeau". Retrieved 17 November 2018.
  7. "Inspector Clouseau and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter". Time: 96. 9 August 1968.
  8. Thomas, Kevin (May 28, 1968). "'Clouseau' at Vogue and Bruin". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 14.
  9. Sullivan, Leo (14 June 1968). "Alan Arkin Plays Inspector Clouseau". The Washington Post: D8.
  10. Gilliatt, Penelope (27 July 1968). "The Current Cinema". The New Yorker: 80-81.
  11. "Inspector Clouseau". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 36 (420): 11. January 1969.
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