another man done gone

one of my favorites, blake edwards, gave up the ghost today.

my introduction to the man's work was, like it probably was for a lot of people in my generation, the series of pink panther films he made with peter sellers. i love them dearly. little did i know at the time that he was going to be my bridge, consciously or unconsciously, to so much that i now have a deep affection for. when i watch his films these days, i see nods to ernst lubitsch, laurel and hardy, leo mccarey and all the great silent clowns. i see his reverence for his predecessors and his love of humans and their frailties. i find his work admirable because it demonstrates a gentleness lacking in so much contemporary comedy. he reminded us you can be funny without cruelty. yes, i was often laughing at someone taking a pratfall in one of his films, but never out of malice. it was always much more out of solidarity, especially with inspector clouseau, one of my favorite screen underdogs. edwards always said the secret to the success of that character was his perseverance. i think it was the same for edwards, moving steadily forward, honest and true, never thinking he was going to fail, occasionally sucking a parrot into the vacuum cleaner. i'm glad he always landed on his feet. let's shed no tears. it hardly befits a comic talent of his stature. instead, i would like to send him off with this tribute. ladies and gentlemen, from his film, the great race (1965), the greatest pie fight ever committed to film!

rest in peace, sir. thanks for the laughs.

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