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WILD ROVERS was the prototype Western for my childhood - my grandfather, a rancher in the Ben Johnson mold (they traded horses a few times on the rodeo circuit) took me to the very "last picture show" theater in a small town near Texarkana on a Saturday and we sat thru it twice. I must have been seven or eight years old. He told me it was "not as good as Red River" but that he had liked the scenes in the snow. I never forgot that day - and vowed to see this Red River someday. Later, (jump cut thru the public education system, please) Mr Edwards was the first director I saw in action on location - I had moved to Los Angeles and he was shooting Blind Date in Brentwood not far from my little guesthouse. My career in film was yet to begin, but my path had been set already, years ago in a little movie-house near the Red River, long since torn down. Jump cut again, past college and on to my return to Texas, only now I was in the capital city, trying to raise the ground floor of the indie film scene by volunteering for the Austin Film Society and hanging out with the late critic George Morris, who dearly loved Blake's films and had a VHS of Ford's SEVEN WOMEN he shared with us young turks. By this time I'd seen at least a dozen of Blake's films and knew enough to credit him for his writing on films like SOLDIER IN THE RAIN and OPERATION MAD BALL, which scored points with Morris. Edwards represented the last of a breed to me, the studio-bred director who could make a film like SUNSET that I knew I could see with someone like my grandfather, and we'd all enjoy it. Blake Edwards touched my life and brought a thousands laughs to a million people, but to me he will always be someone from Tulsa, Oklahoma (look it up) who made good in the movies, and directed a picture I got to share with my cowboy hero.
Toggle Commented Dec 16, 2010 on Blake Edwards, 1922-2010 at Some Came Running
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Dec 16, 2010