Just One More Thing: Peter Falk Remembered
April 22–June 17
Peter Falk (1927–2011) leaves a lasting acting legacy defined on the one hand by his iconic role of police detective Frank Columbo from the influential and long-running TV series bearing his name, and on the other by a diversity of scene-stealing character roles in movies, including colorful criminals and ne'er-do-wells (MURDER, INC., POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES, THE GREAT RACE, THE BRINK'S JOB); males in mid-life and marital crisis in the films of his friend John Cassavetes (HUSBANDS and A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE, and opposite Cassavetes in Elaine May's shambolic and rollicking MIKEY AND NICKY); cutting up with Alan Arkin in the anarchically comic THE IN-LAWS; as the kindly grandfather in THE PRINCESS BRIDE; and as an angelic version of himself in Wim Wenders' WINGS OF DESIRE. Falk's magnetic presence, gravelly voiced charm and winning personality are on display in this wide-ranging retrospective of his best films.
AFI Member passes accepted at all films in the Peter Falk series.
Peter Falk earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as Abe Reles, the Brooklyn mob hitman who turned informer. Co-directed by Burt Balaban and Stuart Rosenberg (COOL HAND LUKE), this gritty true crime tale features a bevy of great character actors in supporting roles, including Vincent Gardenia, Sylvia Miles, Seymour Cassel, Henry Morgan and jazz great Sarah Vaughan. Shot in striking black-and-white CinemaScope.
DIR/PROD Burt Balaban; DIR Stuart Rosenberg; SCR Irve Tunick, Mel Barr, based on the book by Burton Turkus and Sid Feder. US, 1960, b&w, 103 min. NOT RATED
THE GREAT RACE
New 35mm Print!
Sun, Apr 22, 4:45; Mon, Apr 23, 6:45
"Let's see The Great Leslie try that!" Blake Edwards' delightfully daffy, slapstick-filled adventure spectacular is a must-see on the big screen. It's the dawn of the 20th century, a brave new world of machines and technological marvels, with riches and fame for those who dare to master them. Mustache-twirling Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon) challenges rival adventurer/inventor The Great Leslie (Tony Curtis) to a round-the-world automobile race. Lemmon is at his comedic best, as is Peter Falk as Fate's put-upon henchman. Natalie Wood crashes the party as a late entry into the car race, who quickly becomes the prize in another kind of contest between the rivals.
DIR/SCR Blake Edwards; SCR Arthur A. Ross; PROD Martin Jurow. US, 1965, color, 160 min. NOT RATED
POCKETFUL OF MIRACLES
Sat, Apr 28, 1:15; Sun, Apr 29, 1:30
This was Frank Capra's final film, a 1961 remake of his 1933 classic LADY FOR A DAY. Bette Davis is a boozy, good-hearted street peddler ('Apple Annie'), and Glenn Ford the gangster who dotes on her. When Davis' long-lost daughter Ann-Margret (in her screen debut) prepares to return to New York after convent school in Europe, the neighborhood's Runyonesque riff-raff pulls together to help Davis preserve the hoax she's perpetrated for years in correspondence with her daughter: that she's actually a well-to-do dowager. Peter Falk, in an Oscar-nominated performance, steals every scene he's in as Ford's wisecracking bodyguard.
DIR/PROD Frank Capra; SCR Hal Kanter, Harry Tugend, based on a story by Damon Runyon. US, 1961, color, 136 min. NOT RATED
Following the death of their close friend, a trio of men just entering middle age — Ben Gazzara, Peter Falk and John Cassavetes — quit their Long Island suburban lives (and wives) for a trip to London and an extended round of debauchery. "By turns ribald, witty, cruel and moving, HUSBANDS leaves the audience to find answers to the questions it raises about responsibility, marriage and mortality… Some critics think HUSBANDS the richest of Cassavetes' films." — John Wakeman, "World Film Directors, Volume Two."
DIR/SCR John Cassavetes; PROD Al Ruban. US, 1970, color, 131 min. NOT RATED
WINGS OF DESIRE [Der Himmel über Berlin]
Fri, May 19, 9:45; Sun, May 20, 9:05; Mon, May 21, 9:05; Wed, May 23, 6:45
After an eternity of looking after mortal beings, observing their lives, their loves, their passions and pains, intrigued angel Bruno Ganz decides to join them, crossing over to live life as they do. He discovers love with circus acrobat Solveig Dommartin, and in the person of "Der Filmstar," Peter Falk, something like an old friend. Wim Wenders' elegant, moody and profoundly moving film was "Dedicated to all the former angels, but especially to Yasujiro, François and Andrej," a reference to fellow filmmakers Yasujiro Ozu, François Truffaut and Andrei Tarkovsky.
DIR/SCR/PROD Wim Wenders; SCR Peter Handke, Richard Reitinger; PROD Anatole Dauman. West Germany/France, 1987, b&w/color, 128 min. RATED PG-13
A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Fri, May 25, 9:40; Sat, May 26, 10:00; Sun, May 27, 9:15; Tue, May 29, 9:00
On the verge of madness, Gena Rowlands struggles to maintain her relationship as wife to civil engineer Peter Falk and mother to their three children. Director John Cassavetes' most searing, emotionally raw film features a legendary performance by his real-life wife Rowlands, with Falk extremely good as her long-suffering, temperamental and frustrated husband. "In WOMAN, love costs, love demands, but its cost and demands are almost welcome as proof that profound love exists. These are people willing, quite literally, to go to hell for each other." — Tony Safford, Sundance Film Festival.
DIR/SCR John Cassavetes; PROD Sam Shaw. US, 1974, color, 155 min. RATED R
MIKEY AND NICKY
Sat, Jun 2, 3:00; Thu, Jun 7, 6:45
The saga behind the making of this film is legendary: 1 million feet of film were shot to get spontaneous raw drama; 18 months in the editing room; writer/director Elaine May and star Peter Falk purloined the footage to keep it from prying studio execs. After a botched release, May's preferred version (the one being shown) saw the light of day a decade later. John Cassavetes is a small-time hood with a contract on his head; Falk is his long-suffering best friend; and Ned Beatty is a most persistent hit man. Featuring cameos by legendary acting teachers Sanford Meisner and William Hickey playing mob bosses.
DIR/SCR Elaine May; PROD Michael Hausman. US, 1976, color, 119 min. RATED R
THE BRINK'S JOB
Fri, Jun 8, 9:45; Sun, Jun 10, 5:40; Thu, Jun 14, 6:45
William Friedkin's lovingly detailed and drolly humorous heist film, based on a true story from 1950s Boston, earned an Oscar nomination for Dean Tavoularis' exquisite set design and art direction. Peter Falk stars as a small-time crook who, after pulling a heist he feels should have gotten better coverage in the press, sets his sights on a big-time score. A raft of great character actors rounds out Falk's gang, including Warren Oates, Paul Sorvino, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield and Gena Rowlands as his wife. Sheldon Leonard steals the show as a barking-mad J. Edgar Hoover, who suspects the job was pulled by a gang of Communists.
DIR William Friedkin; SCR Walon Green, after the book "Big Stick-Up at Brink's" by Noel Behn; PROD Ralph B. Serpe. US, 1978, color, 104 min. RATED PG
Tue, Jun 12, 7:00; Sat, Jun 16, 11:00 a.m.; Sun, Jun 17, 9:00
Mild-mannered dentist Alan Arkin doesn't know what to make of future in-law Peter Falk, the father of his daughter's fiancé and allegedly a CIA operative — or is he just a delusional braggart? Somehow, Arkin finds himself embroiled in Falk's Latin American-set intrigue before having satisfactorily answered that question. This extremely silly cult classic comedy features an inspired, anarchic performance by Falk, deftly counterpointed by Arkin's trademark deadpan skepticism.
DIR/PROD Arthur Hiller; SCR Andrew Bergman; PROD William Sackheim. US, 1979, color, 103 min. RATED PG
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Wed, Jun 13, 7:00; Fri, Jun 15, 2:15
Peter Falk reads a story to his sick grandson Fred Savage, who's at first turned off by its mushy-sounding title, but soon riveted by its twists, turns, derring-do and, yes, romance. Robin Wright shines as the beautiful Buttercup, in love with farm boy Westley (Cary Elwes) but eventually betrothed to loathsome Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). When she's kidnapped by the motley crew of Vizzini the Sicilian (Wallace Shawn), the giant Fezzik (André the Giant) and Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), the excitement begins. Hilarious in supporting roles are Christopher Guest, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane and Peter Cook; the script is by the legendary William Goldman.
DIR/PROD Rob Reiner; SCR William Goldman, based on his novel; PROD Andrew Scheinman. US, 1987, color, 98 min. RATED PG
Fri, Jun 15, 9:30; Sat, Jun 16, 11:10 a.m., 9:30; Sun, Jun 17, 1:20