“The Blake Edwards Days”
“People don’t belong to people”. Holly Golightly
“Shame is an unhappy emotion invented by pietists in order to exploit the human race”. Blake Edwards
Blake Edwards (born William Blake Crump, July 26, 1922 – December 15, 2010) was an American film director, screenwriter and producer.
Edwards, the step-grandson of prolific silent-film director J. Gordon Edwards, married his first wife, actress Patricia Walker, in 1953. They had two children, and divorced in 1967. She appeared in the comedy All Ashore (1953), for which Edwards was one of the screenwriters.
“I have always felt alienated, estranged from my own father, Jack McEdwards”. Blake Edwards
After attending grammar and high school in Los Angeles, he began taking jobs as an actor: “I worked with the best directors – Ford, Wyler, Preminger – and learned a lot from them. But I wasn’t a very cooperative actor. I was a spunky, smart-assed kid. Maybe even then I was indicating that I wanted to give, not take, direction”. Blake Edwards
He soon turned to writing screenplays and radio scripts before turning to producing and directing in film and television.
In the 1954–1955 television season, Edwards joined with Richard Quine to create Mickey Rooney’s first television series, The Mickey Rooney Show: Hey, Mulligan, a sitcom about a young studio page trying to become a serious actor. Edwards’s hard-boiled private detective scripts for Richard Diamond, Private Detective became NBC’s answer to Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, reflecting Edwards’s unique humor.
Edwards also created, wrote and directed the 1959 TV series Peter Gunn, which starred Craig Stevens, with music by Henry Mancini. In the same year Edwards produced, with Mancini’s musical theme, Mr. Lucky, an adventure series on CBS starring John Vivyan and Ross Martin. Mancini’s association with Edwards continued in his film work, significantly contributing to their success.
His best-known films include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Days of Wine and Roses, and the hugely successful Pink Panther film series with British comedian Peter Sellers. Often thought of as primarily a director of comedies, he also directed dramas and detective films. Late in his career, he transitioned to writing, producing, and directing for theater.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, based on the novel by Truman Capote, is credited with establishing him as a “cult figure” with many critics.
“You know what’s wrong with you, Miss Whoever-you-are? You’re chicken, you’ve got no guts. You’re afraid to stick out your chin and say, “Okay, life’s a fact, people do fall in love, people do belong to each other, because that’s the only chance anybody’s got for real happiness.” You call yourself a free spirit, a “wild thing”, and you’re terrified somebody’s gonna stick you in a cage. Well baby, you’re already in that cage. You built it yourself. And it’s not bounded in the west by Tulip, Texas, or in the east by Somali-land. It’s wherever you go. Because no matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself”. Paul “Fred” Varjak to Holly Golightly
Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
“This, in its own terrifying way, is a love story”. Tagline
Days of Wine And Roses, a dark psychological film about the effects of alcoholism on a previously happy marriage, starred Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick.
“Thanks for the compliment, but I know how I look. This is the way I look when I’m sober. It’s enough to make a person drink, wouldn’t you say? You see, the world looks so dirty to me when I’m not drinking. Joe, remember Fisherman’s Wharf? The water when you looked too close? That’s the way the world looks to me when I’m not drinking”. Kirsten Arnesen Clay
“Perhaps the most unsparing tract against drink that Hollywood has yet produced, more pessimistic than Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend”.
“Being thrown out of this place is significantly better than being thrown out of a leper colony”. Blake Edwards
The Pink Panther
“You may rest assured that there’s trouble, because Inspector Clouseau is on the case…That’s the trouble!. Tagline
Edwards is best known for directing most of the comedy film series The Pink Panther, all of those starring Peter Sellers as the inept Inspector Clouseau. It was considered a fruitful, yet complicated, relationship between the director and the lead actor, with many disagreements during production. At various times in their film relationship, “he more than once swore off Sellers” as too hard to direct. However, in his later years, he admitted that working with Sellers was often irresistible:
“We clicked on comedy, and we were lucky we found each other, because we both had so much respect for it. We also had an ability to come up with funny things and great situations that had to be explored. But in that exploration there would oftentimes be disagreement. But I couldn’t resist those moments when we jelled. And if you ask me who contributed most to those things, it couldn’t have happened unless both of us were involved, even though it wasn’t always happy.” Blake Edwards
Edwards’ second marriage from 1969 until his death was to Julie Andrews. Andrews had a daughter from her previous marriage, and the couple adopted two orphans from Vietnam in the early 1970s, Amelia Leigh and Joanna Lynne. Andrews appeared in a number of his films, including Darling Lili, 10, Victor Victoria and the autobiographical satire S.O.B., in which Andrews played a character who was a caricature of herself. In 1995, he wrote the book for the stage musical adaptation of Victor/Victoria, also starring Andrews.
“It has been difficult for many critics to accept Blake Edwards as anything more than a popular entertainer. Edwards’ detractors acknowledge his formal skill but deplore the absence of profundity in his movies. Edwards’ movies are slick and glossy, but their shiny surfaces reflect all too accurately the disposable values of contemporary life”. George Morris
“For someone who wants to practice his art in this business, all you can hope to do, as S.O.B. says, is stick to your guns, make the compromises you must, and hope that somewhere along the way you acquire a few good friends who understand. And keep half a conscience.” Blake Edwards
“It’s been my experience that every time I think I know where it’s at, it’s usually somewhere else”. Blake Edwards