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STUDIO: MGM
MSRP: $69.98
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 1266 min
SPECIAL FEATURES:


Featurettes

Animated Title Sequences from the Films

American Cinematographer featurette

The Story Behind the Animation

Remembering Friz documentary



The Pitch

Fictional diamond becomes fictional panther in sixteen years of animated shorts.

The Humans

Dave Barry, Mel Blanc, June Foray, Rich Little and Paul Frees

The Nutshell

The Pink Panther brings his sixteen year animated run to DVD with this Classic Cartoon collection. Not all of these are Pink Panther joints. You also get all the shorts starring Inspector Clouseau, Roland, Ratfink, The Ant and The Aardvark. It’s a celebration of the larger DePatie/Freleng animation studio as a whole. Much attention is paid to the fact that the studio was the first animation house to win an Academy Award with their first at bat. But, nobody really pays attention to what happened in the later years.

The Lowdown

The Pink Panther is such an animation oddity. The film comes out to a massive gushing from fans and critics. Then, they around and punch out a sequel in less than a year. That film is a monster hit. All the while, they develop a serious of theatrical animated shorts to air before the latest and greatest MGM films. All starring that loveable pink feline that graces the movie credits of the latest Pink Panther caper.

The problem with the shorts is that they stopped being the animated theatrical short. They started becoming Saturday morning television fodder. Then, they became quick fixes for a syndication run. Much like the film series itself, the Panther lost steam. But, why?

Well, a lot of that can be attributed to the watering down of the central character. How many adventures can you have with a cartoon feline that does the same shit over and over again? Before you all start screaming every cartoon cat from Garfield to Tom, I ask one more thing. What kind of back story does Pink have? Nothing.

Hell, the cartoons take a great leap of faith with the anthromorphication of a diamond into a human-like feline. That’s why you need other fill-ins to take Pink’s place. Ratfink and Roland is a paper-thin rip on Jay Ward’s Dudley Do-Right. The Inspector Clouseau of the cartoons has fuck all to do with Peter Sellers’ classic performance. Then, there’s the Ant and the Aardvark that play as a riff on Tom and Jerry.

The story never changes throughout the years. Cat chases mouse or other prized possession. Larger animals hunt smaller animals. People wax poetic about the simple pleasures in life. A little blood, a little violence and it’s all over in less than seven minutes. That’s all you need in life. A little cartoon violence to take your mind off the monotony of the commonplace.

The Pink Panther: The Classic Cartoon Collection proves that MGM really cares about their classic properties. It’s just that the classic shorts presented here range from excellent to forgettable. The A/V quality is pretty sharp, when you consider that a lot of these prints haven’t seen the light of day in decades. But, the special features feel way too spread across the board.

The Package

Life in a Pink Panther Factory from American Cinematographer - This quickie spot shows us the inner workings of the Freleng / DePatie animation studio. It’s fun material for the cartoon junkies out there. But, it really means nothing to the vast masses of casual viewers.

Animated Main Title Sequences for The Films – A collection of the five title sequences that were designed animated for the feature films.


Featurettes
– A bunch of short looks at various aspects of The Pink Panther animated shorts. We get to see how to draw the Panther, we get to see how the character exploded in popularity and a look at taking the character from the drawing board to the silver screen.

Remembering Friz documentary – A ton of animators get together to remember Friz Freleng. He was one of the golden boys of Termite Terrace who in his later years helped The Pink Panther to become the cartoon icon that it is today.


Frank Darabont presents The Pink.

8.0 out of 10