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Pink Panther Director Blake Edwards Dies at 88, Video Clips

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 16, 2010 at 5:46AM

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.
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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:

Victor/Victoria:

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Obit, comedy, Classics


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.