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Pink Panther Director Blake Edwards Dies at 88, Video Clips

by Anne Thompson
December 16, 2010 5:46 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

I grew up on the films of Blake Edwards, who has died at age 88. He is yet another example of a director whose kind we will not see again. Just as wife Julie Andrews was schooled in vaudeville, he possessed a range of skills that few can match today. Most impressively, he knew how to get a laugh from slapstick: the well-timed pratfall, the double take. No one else could have delivered the zany laughs in the best of the long-lived Pink Panther series, A Shot in the Dark. Edwards worked with the brilliant Peter Sellers to create the unforgettable klutz Inspector Clouseau, complete with clotted French accent and killer assistant, Cato, who could pounce on him at any moment, and with composer Henry Mancini, who scored almost all of Edwards’ films.

Edwards also delivered dramas such as Days of Wine and Roses, as well as the delightful confections Breakfast at Tiffany's, which helped to forge Audrey Hepburn's iconic image, The Great Race, Ten, and cross-dressing musical comedy Victor/Victoria, perhaps the best role Edwards ever gave to Andrews, who memorably bared her breasts in the hilarious S.O.B. Edwards also did well by Ellen Barkin in another gender bender comedy, the underappreciated Switch. Check 'em out.

Here's Richard Natale in Variety and Aljean Harmetz in the NYT. UPDATE: And Roger Ebert and Todd McCarthy. Clips below.

Thompson on Hollywood

Charlie Rose interview:

Cato attacks:

A Pink Panther montage:


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More: Directors, Genres, Obit, Comedy, Classics


  • Emma | March 11, 2011 4:15 AMReply

    We have lost the most talented writer/director of the century.
    My prayers are with his wife (most talented performer of the century?) and kids.

  • cadavra | December 17, 2010 12:11 AMReply

    You and me both, Anne. I sat through the original PINK PANTHER twice, and caught hell from my folks for being late for supper. SHOT was as funny as any movie I'd ever seen to that time. And S.O.B. is a flat-out masterpiece. I got to know him a tiny bit when I put WILD ROVERS back together and then help instigate the reconstruction of DARLING LILI, and he was as gracious as any great filmmaker I've ever met. A gentleman as well as a genius. And now only Reiner and Brooks are left anong the truly inspired comedy filmmakers. (Okay, Woody Allen, too.)

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