Monday, August 24, 2009

peter falk "just one more thing: stories from my life" book review

peter falk's autobiography, "just one more thing: stories from my life," is a fun, quick read. i finished it in just a few hours because it was so hard to put down. it helped that i'm a big fan of falk, and his columbo is my all-time favorite t.v. detective. his book is hardly a traditional narrative, however. it's series of short vignettes, not quite in linear order, covering topics that falk in interested in talking about.

surprisingly, there is the barest of personal information. i never knew that he lost his eye to cancer at the shockingly young age of three! nor did i know he spent time in the merchant marine and attended four colleges while searching for a potential career (which at the time, did not include acting). when he finally broke into acting, it in a series of off-broadway productions in the mid to late 1950's.

his first major film role was in "murder, inc." - which, ironically, not only cast him as a career criminal, but earned him an oscar nomination in the process! but the bulk of his stories focused, as we'd expect, on "columbo" and the odds and ends surrounding his iconic detective! peter falk was responsible for trench coat and vintage car (along with all the bits associated with his style - especially searching his pockets for a pencil, paper... and the classic, "just one more thing" tag line).

aside from "columbo" we learn that "the in-laws" with alan arkin is probably his favorite movie. and that his favorite pastime is probably painting (and the book is liberally punctuated with examples of his work). but, there are large gaps - for example, little is said about his children, while much is written about his current wife. but, as noted, the book is filled with stories he's interested in telling.

the only sad part is the realization that peter falk now suffers from alzheimer's disease. the news was made public only last year (and a couple of years following the publication of his book). it will be a tragic end to such a wonderful man. peter falk just celebrated his 82nd birthday.

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