Obituary: Saluting Blake Edwards

Blake Edwards headshotWhen Blake Edwards died this week at the age of 88 of complications from pneumonia, the world lost one of the last Hollywood lions who managed to stay vital and current from his beginnings in the last 1950s up through the turn of the century a decade ago.

A master of all brands of comedy — sophisticated, slapstick, adult and musical — Edwards was so entrenched, prolific and generally successful in Hollywood that it’s hard to believe he never won an Academy Award for any of the 40-plus films he wrote and directed (though he was given an honorary Oscar in 2004 for his “extraordinary body of work”).

The movies will live on, of course, and keeping that in mind, we’d like to pay our respects with a tribute to our favorite films by the late, great Blake Edwards.

Victor/Victoria (1982)

Victor/ Victoria (1982)
Julie Andrews (Edwards’ wife for the past four decades) plays a woman impersonating a man impersonating a woman in the popular gender-bending, music-filled period comedy.
Available on DVD from Turner Home Entertainment

S.O.B. (1981)
A bitingly nasty satire on the hedonistic and cut-throat world of Hollywood, this is one of Edwards’ most personal films. Also starring Andrews, the film was inspired by the production of his costly and disastrous 1970 musical spy epic Darling Lili (which is available on DVD from Paramount).
S.O.B. is available on DVD from Warner Home Video

"10" (1989)

“10” (1979)
Restless Los Angeles composer Dudley Moore gets stoked—and stroked—by a corn-rowed Bo Derek in Edwards’ clever, observant comedy about possibilities and pitfalls of addressing a middle-age crisis.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner

The Great Race (1965)
An all-star cast including Jack Lemmon, Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis are in a this bloated but colorful comedy featuring one of the greatest pie fights to every creamily grace the big screen.
Available on DVD from Warner

The Pink Panther (1963)/A Shot in the Dark (1964)
The first and best entries in the venerable Pink Panther comedy series star the incomparable Peter Sellers as the intrepid idiot Inspector Jacques Clouseau.
Panther available on DVD from MGM Home Entertainment/Shot available on DVD from MGM

The Pink Panther (1963)

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)
Edwards’ affecting drama about a party-happy alcoholic (Jack Lemmon) and a young woman (Lee Remick) whom he pulls into a sad spiral to the bottom of his whiskey tumbler.
Available on DVD from Warner

Experiment in Terror (1962)
The only thriller in Edwards’ canon is a taut police procedural starring a cast-against-type Glenn Ford as a bad guy who terrorizes Lee Remick into aiding him in a bank heist.
Available on DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Take a glorious Manhattan backdrop, Audrey Hepburn as the irrepressible Holly Golightly and George Axelrod’s screenplay (based on the Truman Capote novel), mix ’em together, and the result is one of Edwards’ most romantic and delightful concoctions.
Available on DVD from Paramount Home Entertainment

Operation Petticoat (1959)
Cary Grant and Tony Curtis turn up the charm in this light and likable early Edwards comedy about the silliest submarine (and crew!) in the U.S. Navy.
Available on DVD from Republic

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.