Pink Panther (2006)

Director: Shawn Levy
Official site:

Score soundtrack released 2006.3 by Varèse Sarabande


The best one can say about Levy's prequal to the Sellers Clouseau films is that it really does try hard. Unfortunately although there are recognizable stars seemingly well-cast, The Pink Panther somehow lacks some of the fun sparkle these slapstick movies need to engage their audience, and a coherent plot thread (admittedly never really the strength of the originals) and some neat ideas only become apparent after the one hour mark. The composer's job here is to underscore the action and to chose where to reflect the audience's perceived fun and where to play-it-straight. Wisely Beck heads for both but tends to emphasize the former, playing cheekily light with the close-up frollicks, and at a cartoonish gallop for the more extravagant escapades. This at least helps maintain a continuity where some ideas on screen fall flat. Continuity is lso to the fore in his continual development of the famous Panther theme, whether hyped up for a football [soccar] match or plaintive with harp to the fore when the detective is brought low. To this reviewer, who heard the music on CD first, the big surprise is how the soundtrack release wisely dispenses with the film's cue order (especially at the beginning) to maximise aural narrative at the expense of filmic purism...

IMDb Credits:

Original Music by Christophe Beck
Non-Original Music by Henry Mancini (theme)
Pete Anthony .... conductor
Kevin Kliesch .... orchestrator
Maureen Crowe .... music supervisor
Sean Dougall .... score coordinator
Randall Poster .... music supervisor


CD credits:

Music by Christophe Beck
The Pink Panther Theme composed by Henry Mancini
Recorded and mixed by Casey Stone
Arrangements and orchestrations by Kevin Kliesch
Additional orchestrations by Sean Dougall
Saxophone solos by Plas Johnson
The Hollywood Studio Symphony, conducted by Pete Anthony
(violins (31), violas (12), cellos (10), double basses (8), flutes (4), clarinets (11), oboes (3), bassoons (5), horns (6), trumpets (7), trombones (8), tuba, guitar, percussion (7), piano (2), harp (2), accordian. N.B. It is highly unlikely those credited performed simultaneously at any one point)
N.B. Beck regular Chris Bleth performed cor anglais, oboe, alto saxophone, flute, alto flute, and bass flute - each family of which is separately credited in the CD liner!
Editor: Terry Wilson
Recorded at Todd A-O and Sony Pictures Scoring Stages

There is a common reaction to sliding a newly purchased CD into one's player and discovering it only half full, and that is to ask one's self whether the purchase was really worth it. This is a common trial film composers often suffer: a 35 minute soundtrack album is not, on first glance, a good marketing ploy for a composer. After many a year purchasing and reviewing such albums I take the alternate viewpoint: a 74 minute score is rarely worth my time. Why? Because although there is much music written that lasts longer than an hour, very little of it was designed for performance without the aid of a verbal or visual crutch. Think opera, oratorio, ballet. Then ask yourself whether many composers write symphonies longer than one hour. There are very few of them. This is not because we have limited attention spans, but because music in the Western world is generally designed to take advantage of our ability to follow a musical pattern and the weave of melodic invention, tonal shifts and thematic recollection that makes it coherent. The longer the work, the more treaturous the task. A half hour is in my view the optimum length for such works post-1850, and even here, a multi-movement form is desirable to portion out that pattern into mite size chunks.

Chris Beck's music for Pink Panther works splendidly with the film - it hovers between revelling in the iconic wizardry of Henri Mancini's original scoring and tongue-in-cheek modern updates. Beck's work with Shawn Levy is laced with modern rave styles that make it attractive to (um) hip audiences, for example in Big Fat Liar. It also delves into the more slapstick orchestral style which Beck experimented with in Garfield. The difference here, though, is that there is more room to breathe round pop music, and, of course, there is Mancini's theme to give it better 'visibility'. This sums up the score-in-film, but it is only on disc that the real pleasure starts: what we are given is a classic theme-and variations-gem, topped and tailed by that classic jazz track so lovingly recreated and only slightly adapted. Where many composers might (of necessity?) rely on a theme repeated ad nauseum in every cue ( would not wish to shame the composers I feel have done this in the past) , Beck never allows a verbatim repeat. No, better, he takes Mancini's themes and RUNS. The orchestration is a delight, the styles constantly changing, each variation is short-but-sweet and never outstays its welcome. The result is a fresh and entertaining score which is surprisingly unified by thematic material which might otherwise have outstayed its welcome by the end of the main titles. One of the ways Beck combats this is the second track: 'Perfect day for a murder' is one of the few cues to last longer than 2 minutes, and it focuses entirely on taking a Mancini theme and giving it a totally unrecognizable landscape - millennial electronic beats, synths, big David Arnold heavy brass and a wicked harmonic twist that shock the complacency out of the opening title's 'silver age' authenticity. With this under his belt, CB has the rest of his time to have fun with you, and the remaining half hour is just enough to show you what he's got. To help him out, Beck has his usual team round him, including Casey Stone as mixer, Kevin Kliesch as main orchestrator; and then he has the orchestral trappings of a big budget movie, expanded by guitar, pianos, accordian - even Panther pro Plas Johnson on the saxophone. So forget whether you liked the film or not—after its first rather slow outing, the Pink Panther was rarely more than a succession of wildly varying quality sketches and slapstick set-pieces—and enjoy the real ingredient behind its success: thoroughly entertaining music.

All tracks are by Chris Beck

01. Main titles [clip]
02. Perfect day for a murder [clip]
03. The damburger incident
04. Dreyfus in charge
05. Paris bound
06. The airport
07. Helping Nicole get off
08. The area is secure
09. Blind love
10. Pierre Phouquette
11. 006 calling
12. Flesh mask
13. Pinch a finger
14. A farewell to Ponton
15. Vitamin V
16. Clouseau's lament [clip]
17. Chasing Yuri [clip]
18. Waldorf Astoria arrival
19. The ring
20. Dragalong Dreyfus
21. End titles
22. Pink Panther theme

Total duration: 35'11"