Episode 124

( 1 Jul, 2011)

Roger's Office: Peter Falk

Transcript for Roger's Office: Peter Falk

Okay so now let’s go to Roger’s office where he talks about two of the late Peter Falks more memorable movies “Wings of Desire” and “A Woman Under the Influence.”

Peter Falk is remembered best for playing Columbo, one of the most enduring and beloved of television characters, he of the battle-scarred trench coat. But the gravel-voiced actor had many other great roles. This is Bill Kurtis speaking for Roger Ebert. Falk had the central role in one of the best of all movies,  "Wings of Desire," made by Vim Venders in 1988.

/clip:  "I can't see you, but I know you're there"

He plays one of the people watched over by guardian angels in Berlin. These angels, including one played by Bruno Ganz, observe human lives but cannot participate in them. Children can sense them--but not adults, except for Falk's character.


The role in which Peter Falk probably found the best expression for his personality was in "A Woman Under the Influence," made in 1974 by his great lifelong friend John Cassavetes.


He plays a construction foreman involved in a tumultuous marriage  to Gena Rowlands. They're both a little crazy, she obviously, he in a more subtle way. Their dialogue here is largely improvised.


The film is about how their troubled marriage survives on the bedrock of their love. So much did Falk love tis project that he paid out of his own pocket to help Cassevetes finance it.


You can easily see "A Woman Under the Influence" because it's currently streaming on Netflix. "Wings of Desire" is on DVD in the Criterion collection. They prove there was a lot more to Peter Falk than "Colombo."

Thanks, Roger.