|1.||The Pink Panther Theme|
|3.||Champagne and Quail|
|4.||The Village Inn|
|5.||It Had Better Be Tonight|
|6.||Piano and Strings|
|7.||Shades of Sennett|
|8.||A Shot in the Dark|
|9.||The Shadow of Paris|
|10.||Summer in Gstaad|
|12.||The Greatest Gift|
|13.||The Orange Float|
|15.||The Wet Look|
|16.||Main Title from The Pink Panther Strikes Again|
|17.||Bier Fest Polka|
|18.||Come To Me|
|19.||Until You Love Me|
|20.||The Inspector Clouseau Theme|
|21.||After The Shower|
|22.||Honk Kong Fireworks|
|23.||Thank Heaven For Little Girls|
|24.||The Pink Panther Theme|
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|by Dan Goldwasser
May 9, 2004
This year we are celebrating not only the 40th anniversary of the Pink Panther, but also the 80th birthday of composer Henry Mancini. He has been honored with a commemorative stamp by the US Postal Service, and there's a special DVD box set of the Pink Panther films coming out through MGM Home Video. Now RCA / BMG Heritage has released "The Ultimate Pink Panther", a compilation album spanning the best of the first six films.
Beginning with the classic Pink Panther theme, the album is mostly the same laid back jazzy lounge that Mancini was known for, with these films. The smooth European sounds come through in such tracks as "Royal Blue", "Champagne and Quail", and "Piano and Strings". The cheesy song, "It Had Better Be Tonight" is sung with great gusto by a choir, and "Shades of Sennett" is a rather circus-crazed melody with a lightly off-tune piano.
Only two tracks from A Shot in the Dark, the film that really set the comedic tone of the Panther films. "A Shot in the Dark" is recognizable as the main underscore from the "Pink Panther" animated shorts, and "The Shadow of Paris" is yet another song. Much of the tracks presented from The Return of the Pink Panther are jazzy cues, which mirrors the way they tended to be used in the film - as background source cues, rather than action-specific underscore.
"Main Title from The Pink Panther Strikes Again" is a great variation on the original theme, as through the opening titles, Inspector Clouseau chases the Pink Panther around a movie theater - and they enter the films. This allowed Mancini the freedom to do musical nods to Hitchcock, The Sound of Music, Batman and others. Following that, though, it's more source cues with "Bier Fest Polka" and "Until You Love Me". Tom Jones croons in "Come To Me", followed by Peter Sellers trying his hand at the song in classic Clouseau style. Finally, he gets his own theme with "The Inspector Clouseau Theme", a jaunty ditty performed with a pleasing countermelody. It's used elsewhere in the film score, but not presented on this compilation.
Revenge of the Pink Panther gives us two more source cues; the jazzy "After the Shower" and the Chinese-styled fun and upbeat "Hong Kong Fireworks". The album finishes off with "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" (sung by Sellers in character) in marching band style, and then Bobby McFerrin's vocal rendition of "The Pink Panther Theme" as heard in Son of the Pink Panther.
There is a lot of great music that Mancini wrote for these films, and this compilation album really does a great job in pulling some of the best moments from those scores. But, it's just a taste, and if you like what you hear, you would be paying Mancini great respect by getting the full albums as well.
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