RIP Blake Edwards

Blake Edward, dead at 88. May he rest in peace. I don’t know what his politics were, but I’m pretty sure I can state fairly accurately that he was probably another Hollywood leftist. Not that it matters to me since his movies never beat you over the head with his politics. At least not the ones I was a fan of, and there were many. Obviously the Pink Panther movies top that list. Not just for the physical comedy and brilliant delivery of Peter Sellers, but for dialogue like this:

Clouseau: Does your dog bite?

Hotel Clerk: No.

Clouseau: [bowing down to pet the dog] Nice doggie.

[Dog barks and bites Clouseau in the hand]

Clouseau: I thought you said your dog did not bite!

Hotel Clerk: That is not my dog.

and this one:

[after Clouseau accidentally reduces a piano to a pile of splinters]

Mrs. Leverlilly: You’ve ruined that piano!

Clouseau: What is the price of one piano compared to the terrible crime that’s been committed here?

Mrs. Leverlilly: But that’s a priceless Steinway!

Clouseau: Not anymore

Those were from the best of the Pink Panther series (IMHO), The Pink Panther Strikes Again.

The slapstick scenes and the ones between Clouseau and Kato crack me up no matter how many times I watch them. I only wish Bert Kwok had been in more movies. He made an appearance in Jet Li’s Kiss of the Dragon, but in a serious role. I haven’t seen him in any others.

Anyways, I’ve enjoyed almost every Blake Edwards movie I’ve seen. My favorite, hands down outside of the Pink Panther series is an obscure film almost no one has seen but is in my opinion quintessential Blake Edwards. The movie is called Skin Deep and it features John Ritter in what I consider to be his best comedic role; a womanizing, alcoholic writer who is ultimately redeemed. The scene where John Ritter’s character (Jack) is trying to get to his car after being electrically tortured by an ex-girlfriend is a hilarious example of physical comedy at its best and John Ritter was a master at this.

What made Edwards’ movies stand out was the witty, almost always hilarious dialogue, his knack for creating complex, funny characters and making completely wacky situations seem almost possible. The storylines were always interesting even if the premise was as simple as surviving the Blind Date from hell! Even some of the minor characters in his movies were memorable. The waiter in the restaurant scene in Victor/Victoria (Graham Stark) was hilarious. The actor portraying that waiter made appearances in several Edwards’ movies.

I haven’t seen all of his movies. I’ve never seen the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I’m pretty sure I won’t see it unless I’m dragged to it. One of these days I’ll watch Days of Wine and Roses, but I’m pretty sure I won’t like it either.

Again, I’m not sure where his politics leaned, but I know he and his wife were both philanthropists and were big on children’s causes, so that makes him okay in my book besides the fact that his movies have provided me with hours of laughter and entertainment. He’s one of the few directors in Hollywood who made movies that my wife and I both enjoyed, and that is indeed an anomaly. That he was married for 41 years also makes him an anomaly in Hollywood, although how hard can it be to be married to Julie Andrews? I’m gonna have to dig out my collection of Pink Panther movies and sit down and enjoy a belly laugh or two. RIP Mr. Edwards and thank you.