Peter Falk (Archie Black) 1927 – 2011

I know a lot will be said about Peter Falk, who passed away today in Los Angeles. I probably wouldn’t have said anything were it not for the fact that, when I saw the news, I flashed back to several early films by John Cassavetes.

A gutsy experimenter and improviser like Cassavetes was bound to leave  an uneven  body of work, but one thing he did do was create settings in  which extraordinary actors could perfect their craft and do some of their best work.

Falk did mesmerizing work as part of the Cassavetes Rep. Company,  along with Gena Rowlands, John Marley, Seymour Cassel, and Val Avery.  And if a  film like “Husbands,”  with Falk’s extraordinary turn as Archie Black,  never quite came together into a coherent whole,  it was definitely both a daring experiment and a master class with Falk and several remarkable film actors. 

Dim the lights.

Val Avery (1924 – 2009)

We lost one of the great character actors this week.

Val Avery did menace and sleaze as well as anyone, and was a memorable presence in many of the films of John Cassavetes.