Miscellaneous Reviews Festivals Lists Etc
#
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
X
Y
Z
Here


web analytics

 

The Films of Blake Edwards

Bring Your Smile Along

He Laughed Last

Mister Cory

This Happy Feeling

The Perfect Furlough

Operation Petticoat

High Time

Breakfast at Tiffany's (November 17/12)

Based on Truman Capote's novel, Breakfast at Tiffany's follows George Peppard's Paul Varjak as he moves into a New York City apartment building and immediately befriends an unusual young woman named Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn). The film, like its source material, doesn't contain much in the way of a plot, as the meandering narrative, for the most part, details the day-to-day exploits of the two central characters - with the leads' almost incredible charisma, Hepburn especially, going a long way towards compensating for the less-than-eventful nature of George Axelrod's screenplay. Blake Edwards' lighthearted treatment of the material ensures that Breakfast at Tiffany's, generally speaking, boasts an irresistibly playful and charming vibe, and there's little doubt that the movie benefits substantially from the inclusion of a few captivating sequences (eg Paul and Holly go on a shopping trip, Holly sings Moon River on her windowsill, etc). It's just as clear, however, that the film's overlength becomes more and more problematic as time progresses, with the movie's palpably underwhelming final stretch compounded by an increased emphasis on incongruously dark elements and plot twists. By the time the appealingly upbeat and feel-good conclusion rolls around, however, Breakfast at Tiffany's has, despite its erratic atmosphere, established itself as a captivating romantic comedy that lives up to its place as a classic of the genre. (This is, of course, despite Mickey Rooney's astonishingly racist turn as Holly's Japanese neighbor, Mr. Yunioshi.)

out of

Experiment in Terror

Days of Wine and Roses

The Pink Panther

A Shot in the Dark

The Great Race

What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?

Gunn

The Party

Darling Lili

Wild Rovers

The Carey Treatment

The Tamarind Seed

The Return of the Pink Panther

The Pink Panther Strikes Again

Revenge of the Pink Panther

10

S.O.B.

Victor Victoria

Trail of the Pink Panther

Curse of the Pink Panther

The Man Who Loved Women

Micki + Maude

A Fine Mess (November 25/05)

A Fine Mess was trounced both critically and financially upon its original theatrical release back in '86, and it's not terribly difficult to see why. Given that writer/director Blake Edwards purportedly based his screenplay upon a Laurel and Hardy short, it comes as no surprise that the film is heavy on broad instances of physical comedy. And while some of this stuff is admittedly pretty funny, the majority of it is not - although there's no denying that the movie remains entertaining throughout. Stripped of expectations - Edwards had just come off Micki + Maude, which remains one of his most successful films - A Fine Mess comes off as a thoroughly ludicrous but strangely enjoyable piece of work. Ted Danson and Howie Mandel star as Spence and Dennis, a pair of scheming friends who are always on the lookout for a quick buck. Spence thinks he's found a goldmine after eavesdropping on a plot to inject a racehorse with a drug that'll increase its speed exponentially, and convinces Dennis to bet his life's savings on the equine's upcoming race. Problems emerge when the two men responsible for the fix - the bickering, bumbling duo of Turnip (Richard Mulligan) and Binky (Stuart Margolin) - learn of Spence and Dennis' intentions, and are told to eliminate them by their boss (a hammy Paul Sorvino). The remainder of the film is essentially one long chase sequence, punctuated by the occasional burst of inexplicable hijinks (eg Spence and Dennis inadvertentluy purchase an antique player piano at a fancy auction house). The exceedingly over-the-top performances effectively mirror the film's absurd tone, and it's certainly worth noting that the actors rarely cross the line into out-and-out flamboyance (Mandel, not surprisingly, comes awfully close a few times). The rampant silliness - as off-putting as it initially is - eventually becomes hypnotic, in an I-want-to-look-away-but-I-just-can't sort of way. Edwards imbues A Fine Mess with an expectedly frantic pace, ensuring that - at the very least - it's never boring (although it does peter out somewhat towards the end, as it becomes more and more obvious just how hard Edwards is working to maintain the frenetic vibe). And though it's generally not laugh-out-loud funny, there's one sequence that almost justifies the film's entire existence: Dennis, having consumed some spicy Indian food, lets loose with a bout of comedically high-pitched screaming in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

out of

That's Life!

Blind Date (January 3/03)

Blind Date is proof positive that it's not as easy as it looks to put together a good wacky comedy. Movies like Weekend at Bernie's and Policy Academy make it seem like an effortless thing, getting laughs out of completely absurd situations. Blind Date proves, though, that it's not quite as effortless as it seems. Bruce Willis stars as Walter, a successful architect who's on the verge of a big promotion. Whether or not he gets it has a lot to do with his ability to impress a potential client, who has very old-fashioned views on how men and women should behave. One such belief is that men shouldn't be single, so Walter asks his brother (played by Phil Hartman) to set him up with a date. He's matched with Nadia (Kim Basinger), a beautiful woman who comes with a warning - never let her drink (she'll get wild, Walter is warned). The two hit it off instantly, and presumably this attraction clouds Walter's judgment, who quickly offers Nadia a glass of champagne. She drinks more than she should, and the rest of the evening essentially becomes Walter's worst nightmare as Nadia proceeds to wreak havoc. The problem with Blind Date is that the situations within aren't inherently wacky; a movie like Weekend at Bernie's, which featured two guys trying pass off a dead man as alive, contains an organically funny setup. But here, though director Blake Edwards tries quite hard, the variety of circumstances Willis' character finds himself in just aren't all that believable. For example: After Walter experiences that wild night, which sees him fired and jailed, it seems reasonable enough that he'd never want to see Nadia again. But no, the third act - which sees Nadia marrying a sleazy lawyer named David (John Larroquette, who completely steals every scene he's in) - finds Walter doing whatever he can to get Nadia back. It doesn't make sense; we're never given any indication prior to that that Walter even likes her, let alone loves her. Edwards does, however, liven things up with a couple of spectacularly entertaining SteadiCam shots. The first is the best, which starts out in Walter's office, wanders the hall in his office, goes into an elevator, and winds up in the lobby. Edwards' sense of style similarly improves a lot of Blind Date, but still isn't enough to prevent it from becoming tedious.

out of

Sunset

Peter Gunn

Switch

Son of the Pink Panther

© David Nusair