by John Farr
John Farr explores the serious side of “Pink Panther” director Blake Edwards.
Charming, bubbly Holly Golightly (Audrey Hepburn) leads a peripatetic life in Manhattan, attending swanky parties and living off the largesse of her gentleman acquaintances, who keep her attired in the very best designer outfits. Intrigued by Holly’s coming and goings, as well as her bouts of wistful loneliness, upstairs neighbor Paul (George Peppard) falls for the neurotic socialite. But is there something hidden behind Holly’s sophisticated facade?
WHY I LOVE IT:
Adapted from Truman Capote’s novella, Edwards’s fleet-footed romantic comedy would not be the cultural touchstone it is without the effervescent presence of Hepburn. As Holly Golightly, a small-town Texas girl with her feet planted firmly in the glitz of New York’s party scene, Hepburn is irrepressibly charming, a vision of elflike beauty in Givenchy and pearls. But she is also a frail creature harboring secrets, and Hepburn plays both sides exquisitely. Peppard is solid and likable as writer Paul, Holly’s admirer and confidante, while Patricia Neal chews on her steely role as Paul’s wealthy older mistress. A chic, iconic romance, memorably set to the Oscar-winning strains of Henry Mancini’s “Moon River.”
Kelly Sherwood is an attractive bank employee who lives with younger sister Toby (Stefanie Powers) in San Francisco. When Kelly is accosted by a wheezing psychopath (Ross Martin) who threatens to kill her and her sister unless she embezzles money from her bank, FBI agent John Ripley (Glenn Ford) is called in to handle the tricky case. Can Ripley nab his man before Kelly and Toby are harmed?
WHY I LOVE IT:
Blake Edwards, best known for comedies, shows he can pull off thrillers with equal skill. Make no mistake: this one is lean, gritty and frightening. Remick is solid as a victim ripe for the plucking, and Ford appropriately stolid as the dedicated Ripley. And villain Martin (who’d go on to play Artemus Gordon on TV’s “The Wild, Wild West”) will make your skin crawl with that wheezing whisper. Be warned: not for the faint of heart.
After an awkward meeting at a boat party seems to put them at odds, publicist Joe Clay (Jack Lemmon) and Kirsten Arnesen (Lee Remick) fall madly in love. The social and professional demands of the public-relations racket are nothing new to Joe, but gradually he turns tee-totaller Kirsten on to the pleasures of swilling cocktails at any hour. Over time, alcohol becomes integral to the young newlyweds’ relationship, and threatens to destroy their blissful existence.
WHY I LOVE IT:
A downbeat love story pickled in bile and booze, this melodrama of addiction by the great Blake Edwards skirts the same terrain as “Lost Weekend” without ever getting preachy. Instead, Edwards examines the sullied yet undying connection between his two self-destructive protagonists, played by Lemmon and Remick with unblinking honesty. (Two specific scenes-his in a madhouse and hers in a motel-are wrenching.) Charles Bickford lends terrific support as Kirsten’s widower father, as does Jack Klugman in a small role as Joe’s AA sponsor. “Days” is a hard-hitting drama about love in the ruins, buoyed by Henry Mancini’s melancholic jazz score.