Blake Edwards and I (or Should It Be Me?)

A Shot in the DarkAs I posted briefly yesterday, Blake Edwards passed away. While some of you might not know who he is, you really ought to–and you likely know of his work and influence if nothing else. For the Pink Panther series alone, the man should be legendary. (And if Clouseau isn’t your style, what about Edwards being married to Julie Andrews?) So I thought I’d take a minute for today’s blog entry and tell my favorite experience with a Blake Edwards movie.

I can’t remember not knowing about the Pink Panther. Granted, some of that is because for the first decade of my life, I thought the Pink Panther meant the cartoon, and I remember being quite disappointed when I saw my first real Pink Panther movie, and it wasn’t 120 minutes of a pink feline blowing up a bumbling detective. That said, we all mature, and I’m pleased to say I grew in nicely to the Peter Sellers movies and now appreciate them for the masterpieces they are. 🙂

I also enjoy Breakfast at Tiffany’s, although I didn’t watch it until college, when it was part of a film adaptation course I took (one of many). Reading the book by Truman Capote and comparing it with the film–good times. And anything with Audrey Hepburn in it is pretty much good by default, if for no other reason than getting to watch Audrey Hepburn for an hour and a half.

But my personal favorite Blake Edwards experience has to be The Party, hands down. I had never even heard of the The Party before 2002, when I flew British Airways home from Slovakia. Each seat had its own built in television with a selection of movies to choose from. Denisa went with some romcom for her choice–I was drawn to The Party, since the description mentioned Blake Edwards and Peter Sellers in the same paragraph.

I grant you that The Party isn’t for everyone. I forced my family to watch it once I got home, and many of them just sort of stared at it in bewilderment, trying to figure out what I thought was so funny. Peter Sellers plays Hrundi Bakshi, an Indian bit actor who manages to single-handedly destroy an entire movie set. He then inadvertently gets invited to a Hollywood party, and hilarity ensues. And who can forget the birdie num nums? It’s a bumbling, wildly un-PC performance, and trapped as I was on a 9 hour plane ride, I found it uproariously funny. You know how when you’re not supposed to laugh out loud, it somehow heightens the humor of anything? That’s what happened to me on that plane. I loved the whole film, and I still do.

So, Mr. Edwards, thank you very much for Clouseau, Holly, and most of all Hrundi. You shall be missed.

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