Goodbye Blake

The film world lost a creative genius this week when Blake Edwards died last Wednesday at the age of 88. From the hysterical Pink Panther to the iconic Breakfast at Tiffanys to the brilliant Victor/Victoria, he supplied hours and hours of stylish entertainment for many of us throughout the years.

Edwards received an honorary Academy Award in 2004 for his “extraordinary body of work,” which included not only his most famous comic movies but also a Broadway musical, the detective television series Peter Gunn and more somber movies like the “Days of Wine and Roses.”

Although Edwards suffered from depression for years, he even spun that into a dark comic anecdote. At one point he had evidently become seriously suicidal. Of all methods of doing away with himself, he decided slitting his wrists on the beach at Malibu while admiring the ocean was the best choice. However, while he was trying to adjust the blade, his dog tried to play ball with him. As Edwards threw the ball for the dog to fetch, he dislocated his shoulder and dropped the blade. After that botched attempt, he thought, “this just isn’t a day to commit suicide.” But while attempting to pick up the blade, he stepped on it necessitating a trip to the emergency room anyway. Just the kind of farcical scene that might have appeared in one of his films!

But rather than rattle on about his decades of brilliant filmmaking, let’s take a look at some of the work that encompassed Edwards’ incredible repertoire.

Peter Gunn was a film noir-ish TV detective show from 1958-61 with fabulous music by Henry Mancini – you’ll definitely recognize the theme song. This is a longish clip but even the beginning is a great representation of the ultra stylish feel of the show.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, from Truman Capote’s novella, is obviously one of Edwards’ best loved films. His incredibly sophisticated direction made this movie the famous icon of style that it still is today. I just love her orange coat in this scene and why can’t I ever get my hair into a perfect chignon like that!

Even though I’ve seen the Pink Panther movies many times, I still find Peter Seller’s bumbling Inspector Clouseau hysterical. If you ever need a good laugh one day, these are the movies to see!

My last selection is one of my favorites. Victor/Victoria is a comic masterpiece. Based on a 1933 German film, this movie has an all star cast including Blake’s wife Julie Andrews, the wonderful Robert Preston, James Garner, Lesley Ann Warren, John Rhys-Davies and ex pro football star Alex Carras as the hilarious “Squash” Bernstein. Again, a rather long clip – but some very funny scenes.

Besides these, Blake Edwards directed many other classics including “10,” and “Operation Petticoat.” There were certainly also failures along the way but he will be remembered for the overwhelming successes.

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26 Responses to Goodbye Blake

  1. I recently watched one of his movies and thought how silly and fun he was……that can be a very good thing. To be remembered for making us laugh out loud. XO

  2. quintessence says:

    Hi Sande – Absolutely – laughter is great medicine! LOVED your interview/post today with Nicky Haslam.

  3. What an “extraordinary body of work” indeed! I need to see “Victor/Victoria” as well.

    p.s. Hope my stocking stuffer list gave you good ideas. How is shopping coming along?

  4. In all the craziness of Christmas I managed to miss this news. I love Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn truly is a syle icon.

    • quintessence says:

      Hi Kate – I can certainly understand how that might happen. I’m not sure people give him the credit he deserved for the incredible style in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

  5. Such a legacy. The world would be sadder without these films…

  6. mydesignchic says:

    What a wonderful tribute…Breakfast at Tiffanys is one of my favorites!!

  7. I’m on my way to netflix right now to rent The Pink Panther—so amazingly funny.

    • quintessence says:

      Hi Mary – yes – I might have to do that as well – and don’t forget about A Shot in the Dark – actually the first Pink Panther!

  8. The Zhush says:

    What a talent! Although that suicide story…never knew that, it gave me the chills!

  9. Oh how sad. I’ve been lost in the vortex that is the holiday and didn’t hear this news. I am also a fan of his movies but didn’t know anything about his personal life and struggles. We even had a dog named Kato growing up – from the Pink Panther movies of course.

    • quintessence says:

      Hi Jeanette – you aren’t the only one who missed this – one of the reasons I posted it. Too funny about Kato – my husband loves that aspect of the movies!

  10. That is so very sad and what a wonderful tribute, darling! Wish you a nice day

  11. What a truly talented man! I hope that he found happiness….as he was so able to give it to his audiences!

  12. They don’t make films like this anymore. Sadly, it’s the end of an era isn’t it? I’ve never seen Victor/Victoria but always meant to. I’m going to put it on my Netflix now.:)


  13. Andrea says:

    Wow, you are quite the movie buff!!! I had the fleeting thought the other day ‘I’ve never seen Victor/Victoria’ well, you’ve convinced me now!


  14. Stacey says:

    We’ve truly lost a legend! He would be proud of this post:-). I am yet to see Victor/Victoria though. I’ll have to add it to my list:-). XX

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