Looking back I guess Peter Falk is one of the constants in my life when it comes to the small screen. Obviously through the Columbo character and the many films I’d be trying to catch up with on late night television from his earlier years like Murder Inc. and the network premiers of films like The In Laws or The Cheap Detective that he did in the seventies. While I haven’t seen it in years I do know I went to see The Brink’s Job at the theater which is I guess my first time seeing Peter on the BIG screen.
The subtitle of this 2006 release is Stories From My Life. It is a self penned recollection of just that, short stories that Falk has chosen to share with his readers or fans if you prefer. He’s very respectful of others and only mentions names when he chooses to.
It’s not a by the numbers biography though he does try to cover many of the events and roles that took him around the world. He talks of the early years before realizing that acting was his direction in life. The shock of going from an off Broadway performer to suddenly being an Oscar nominated actor. Working with Capra and subsequently being typed as a gangster. Hanging out with the Rat Pack and singing with Frank, Dean Sammy and Bing. No pressure at all!
Working with Blake Edwards and a long run with Neil Simon on both stage and film. The success of The Princess Bride and overseas with Wim Wenders on Wings of Desire. Family life escapades and other novelty stories are included with plenty of gags.
He devotes a fair amount of paper to his long association of working with friend John Cassavetes as both a costar and having John for a director. Like most other first hand articles I have read, he speaks very highly of Cassavetes and his originality. I need to make an effort to either see or revisit more of his work. Both on screen and his directing efforts.
Let us not forget his most famous creation of Columbo. There’s plenty in here concerning his legendary detective who solved cases on television from 1968 up till 2003. How he got the look to a couple battles with the network over the show. He recalls a few episodes and costars that added flavor to the show with fondness. People like Lee Grant and Faye Dunaway. I do believe the Johnny Cash episode might be my earliest memory of the rather slow witted in appearance only detective. That might be due to our household’s love of country music while growing up.
A harmless read of Falk’s recollections and arrests in the strangest places and oddest circumstances one might imagine.