About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blake Edwards

And now, Blake Edwards. I would say Edwards had a career somewhat like Scorcese's. Big ups, big downs, all sorts of things in between. I didn't like Breakfast at Tiffany's but it's enduring. Several mid-range masterpieces. Some outright duds, many of them even. I think his legacy isn't in any one or two films the way Scorcese's would rest on Raging Bull and Goodfellas but rather in the way Edwards defined film comedy for a generation or two with the Pink Panther movies, 10, and Victor/Victoria. 

I would say VV is my own favorite because it blends the best elements of Edwards' work. 

Take farce. There is a lot of classic farce in the Pink Panther movies. However, the earlier ones are a little too quiet and debonair for someone of my age and certainly younger who grew up in a louder age. My introduction to Edwards was in the Dyan Cannon Pink Panther movie, and I think if I saw that today I wouldn't like it as much as an adult because it is mostly about the Pink Panther schtick, though I think I would still find some of the funny parts to be genuinely funny. 

But VV...  set in France so it has to be sophisticated and certainly the Julie Andrews character considers herself that. And the songs by Henry Mancini and Leslie Bricusse have a sparkle, wit, sophistication to them.  Even on a first viewing I could appreciate the quality of the filmmaking, the way the camera cuts to the outside of a diner for the final act of a scene instead of keeping us in the thick of it. And in the midst of all of this sophistication it has all the elements of classic farce rendered with impeccable timing. Mistaken identity, banging doors, frenzied mayhem, people sent to hide on the ledge. 

SOB isn't that good, but it has Richard Mulligan. Mulligan was one of the stars of the classic TV comedy Soap and could do amazing things with his body and his timing and his presence, an amazing actor nobody knows much about. SOB may be the only film he was in that was worthy of his presence. 

I wasn't a big fan of The Party, a late in life reteam of Edwards and Peter Sellers, but you can read an appreciation of it by JABberwocky client Bryce Moore. 

I'm not saying all that could be said on Edwards. His best films were done before I was in college, he hasn't been a presence for 15 years and was hardly one for ten years before that. But at his best, he did define film comedy. 

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