If you’ve never seen a panther that is pink, then think again! MGM have announced plans to make a new feature-length version of The Pink Panther.
The successor to the previous 11 movies, plus the myriad of cartoons, will be a cross between animation and live-action. This means that the character of Inspector Clouseau will take more of a backseat this time, with the titular cat being the main focus.
In fact, the mauve moggy had only a cameo role in the title credits for the original film, with the actual Pink Panther in question being the diamond that was central to the storyline. From these humble beginnings, however, came the David DePatie/Friz Freling shorts that became as beloved as the Blake Edwards movies that started the legend back in 1963.
If, like me, you were familiar with the TV animation from a young age and were introduced to the Peter Sellers films afterwards, you may also have been a tad miffed. After watching endless Pink Panther cartoons on Sunday afternoons and during the holidays, I felt somewhat disappointed when I realised that the cartoons were, as previously mentioned, limited to the title sequence. The antics of Sellers and Burt Kwouk quickly dispelled any scoolboy tantrums, but I must admit I’m glad that this latest venture is going to contain some traditional animation.
But where would the franchise be without that laid-back, jazz-infused theme tune? Fans will be ecstatic to know that it will be back once again, keeping the memory of its composer, Henry Mancini, very much alive. The same can be said of Edwards of course, whose widow, the evergreen Julie Andrews, firmly believes he is there in spirit: “It is exciting that the quintessential ‘next step’ for our beloved Panther will be enjoyed by a fourth generation of audiences. I feel that Blake is encouraging us on.”
A release date has yet to be announced, but no doubt that ‘fourth generation’ will have lots to look forward to, not to mention the three that have come before it.