The famed movie director, producer and screenwriter, Blake Edwards, died yesterday at the age of 88.
He was renowned as a master of slapstick comedy, and was responsible for some of the funniest and most entertaining movies of the past half-century. I grew up with them, and still watch them with great enjoyment. The Pink Panther series (excluding the latest two post-Blake-Edwards abominations, of course); The Great Race; (which memorably - and hysterically - included what's been called "the largest pie fight in cinematic history"); Operation Petticoat; I've laughed at them all, and will do so many times in future, I'm sure.
In its obituary, the Los Angeles Times points out:
Sam Wasson, author of the 2009 book 'A Splurch in the Kisser: The Movies of Blake Edwards', said Edwards "has as many films that are respected as films that are reviled."
"He hasn't quite made it into the pantheon of great directors," said Wasson. "People don't really know where to place Blake Edwards because so much of his material is outwardly goofy, even though it's sophisticated."
And while Edwards had as many flops as hits, Wasson said, "I position him along the line of Hollywood's greatest directors of comedy, beginning with [Charlie] Chaplin and continuing with [Ernst] Lubitsch, [Preston] Sturges and [Billy] Wilder.
"He was certainly the last great writer-director of mainstream Hollywood comedy."
In memory of this master of comedic mayhem, here are a few clips from his films. First, the trailer for 1959's 'Operation Petticoat'.
Next, the pie fight from 1965's 'The Great Race'. It really doesn't work well in small size, so I recommend watching in full-screen mode if you can.
Next, a montage of slapstick moments from some of the Pink Panther movies of the 1970's.
Such comedic genius is rare. May he rest in peace: and sympathy, too, to his widow, Julie Andrews, and his children.