Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Big Screen in the Sky

It's a very sad day here at Film Gab with the announcement of the death of writer/director Blake Edwards at age 88. It's impossible for this gabber to be subjective about Edwards. I was raised on The Pink Panther movies and had my first inklings of homosexuality while watching Victor Victoria. Later, as I began indulging in classic films, I came to appreciate his edgy drama The Days of Wine and Roses and of course his era-defining Breakfast at Tiffanys. Edwards' comedy came from an innate understanding of characters that were "fish out of water." Holly Golightly, Inspector Clouseau, Carole Todd and Peter Seller's hilarious lost Indian actor Hrundi V. Bakshi in The Party are all superb examples of characters who stayed true to themselves even in the midst of a normal, sometimes hostile world. It was life-altering to watch these films and realize that not being like everyone else could be funny instead of neurosis-inducing.
When Edwards was awarded an honorary Academy Award® in 2004, he rolled out onto the stage in an electric wheelchair. Hilariously, the chair malfunctioned and launched across the stage. Edwards grabbed his Oscar as he flew by the presenter and went through the wall on the opposite side of the stage. He couldn't even accept his Oscar®  like everyone else- and we wouldn't want it any other way. Heaven- Cue Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme", please.

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