Friday Song: Henry Mancini

Sitting under the red velvet canopy of the Academy before Blake Edwards in a tribute screening of his caustic Hollywood comedy and my personal favorite, S.O.B (1981), two giant golden Oscars flanking the stage, the sold-out room filled with former movers and shakers like Jack Klugman, Haskell Wexler, Sally Kellerman, Sid Ganis, Lesley Ann Warren, Robert Loggia, Gavin MacLeod among others, and capped with movie royalty like the still glowing Julie Andrews, I basked in the sheer Tinsel Town magic, a reminder of all the twining decades of film history and their talent. The evening was more bittersweet given that Blake Edwards had directed Tony Curtis in five pictures, and the frail but sharp Edwards noted that it was hard for him to think Comedy Tonight in the wake of his friend’s passing and he asked us to pause for a moment and wish him well.

But Edwards is still a funny man, and his honest responses were the best. “Ask me a fucking question,” he said to his longtime producing partner and interviewer, Walter Mirisch. Edwards spoke of actors and experiences, saying that Peter Sellers could be wonderful or pain in the ass — or usually both. He had very kind things to say about Dudley Moore. He conceded he was lucky and when Mirisch got too effusive, Edwards said, “Cut the bullshit.” That sums up his attitude and when he spoke of Henry Mancini, he simply said he was a genius. He told the story after a preview screening of BREAKFAST WITH TIFFANY’S (1961) where the studio head paced and said, “First thing is we get rid of that fucking song.” Obviously they did not and this song still gets me, even more after last night’s visit to the stars.

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3 Responses to “Friday Song: Henry Mancini”

  1. I hear you. Both SOB and this particular Mancini song are favorites of mine, too. Sounds like a great night there (and what a cast!). Nice touch for him to mention Tony Curtis’ passing. Great you got to go and see this, my friend.

  2. For the love of a Pagan Gad, THE FUTURIST! is so jealous you got to attend this event. You S.O.B. !!

  3. […] was doubly fortunate to attend a talk with him in September and a screening of my favorite of his films, the caustic S.O.B. … at the Academy of Motion Pictures, moderated by veteran producer Walter Mirisch, with a nebula of […]

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