Saturday, 9 May 2009

P is for Peter Falk

My P is Peter Falk's "Just One More Thing", his autobiography.
I'll bet everyone knows this already, but in case you don't, Peter Falk is an actor who's most familiar as Columbo, the bumbling detective. As I learned in the book, he's also an accomplished film actor and started out in theatre. Oh, and you can't forget 'Grandpa' in "The Princess Bride", obviously.
The book is quite short, and it's written very conversationally. In the opening chapter, Falk informs the reader that he doesn't really get on with long books which have long chapters, so his is full of anecdotes which are perfect for reading just before bed. This was a nice touch, and definitely came in useful before bed when I was too tired to concentrate for longer than ten minutes.
The downside to this is that the colloquialisms became a bit repetitve, but he's evidently such a nice man, you can forgive him for that.
Apart from the repetition, the anecdotes are fascinating. Falk reveals lots of juicy details about directors, actors and the role of Columbo, like when he talks about "The Godfather". At the time, he was getting a lot of gangster roles, so he was sent the script for "The Godfather". The way he tells it, the part that he was marked for didn't have enough meat on it, so he passed.
That's the next thing. With autobiographies, you take the author's word for it. In every single action or story in life, there are three sides - yours, theirs and the truth. It's not necessarily that you (or they) are lying, it's just that everyone tells it differently, and that's what makes autobiographies interesting.
Reading this made the recent news that he has
Alzheimer's (although this is unconfirmed by the man himself) all the more poignant. Wikipedia lists his birth year of 1927, which is pretty amazing.
This is a nice, light read and is written so comfortably that you can almost imagine being in the Fred Savage position - having your Grandpa read his stories to you.

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