“(Blake Edwards) is not a trick director. A number of directors, for no reason at all, will suddenly shoot a scene through a keyhole or over a doorway just because it seems like a clever thing to do. Blake doesn’t do those things; he doesn’t try to show his ego on film.”
“Characters make your story.”
For some reason film writer/director Blake Edwards always seemed British to me. That’s probably because I always associated him with Peter Sellers (The Pink Panther), Dudley Moore (“10″) and Julie Andrews (actress & Edwards’ wife for 41 years) who were all born in England. But Edwards, who died last Wednesday, was actually born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Edwards film that had the biggest impact on me? That’s easy, the movie “10.” I was 18. Sure I can still see Bo Derek running down the beach in slow motion, and Dudley Moore’s bumbling efforts in pursuing a woman who he considered a perfect 10—falling backwards down the hillside and such.
“When you start analyzing the great film comics they were constantly beating each other up and falling down stairs and tripping over pants. They got their laughs through a sort of carnage, and I think I started doing that, too.”
But the movie “10” wasn’t just a comedy wrapped in the stylish branded hair, it was a social commentary. Roger Ebert in his 1979 review of the film said that it was “a lot more than a comedy: It’s a study in the follies of human nature.”
Perhaps what made it one of Edwards better films is that he was 58 when he made the film. Like Dudley Moore’s character he had it all, but it wasn’t enough. He had directed Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and wrote and directed the The Pink Panther (1963) so the 60s were good to him. His contract at one time had him making 10% of the gross. He made a lot of money on those Pink Panther movies that were so popular.
But after the failure of Darling Lily (1970) he fled Hollywood for Switzerland. For all his success did not bring him happiness. In interviews and in his writings he wrote and spoke about struggling with depression, alcoholism, and he whe was disillusioned and hurt by the dishonesty of Hollywood. But the problem was he was happiest when he was working, so he keep working into his 80’s.
So there were some scars, mixed with a little depth and reflection when Edwards wrote and directed the movie “10.” The take away for an eighteen year old at the time was more than just a bookend for a Farrah Fawcett poster. I think that was the first film that showed me what a mid-life crisis was. Though I don’t recall having seen the film since it first came out, I think tucked in there was a theme that landed somewhere between “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” and “be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”
Be careful what you wish for
‘Cause you just might get it
And if you get it then you just might not know
What to do wit’ it, ’cause it might just
Come back on you ten-fold
Careful What You For
Now if you can write a script that makes people laugh and makes people think, that’s quite an accomplishment. (The Apartment and The 40 Year Old Virgin territory.) And if you can get it made with someone that looks like Bo Derek then you also might have a #1 movie the weeks it opens on its way to making a lot of money as well.
But be careful what you wish for…