The Cleveland International Film Festival promotes artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition to enrich the life of the community.
Country: United States
Run Time: 127 minutes
A powerful drama directed by John Cassavetes and featuring an improvisational style of acting. The film stars Peter Falk as the husband of an unstable woman (Gena Rowlands) trying to keep her life from coming apart. An examination of the strains of family life in a blue-collar community, as well as a troubling look at the way mentally ill people are treated, A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE is a moving experience with moments of both humor and pathos. Gena Rowlands was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
Mitch Breit and Caleb Deschanel
FOCUS: PETER FALK, ACTOR For an actor who has won Oscar and Emmy nominations, along with four Emmy Awards, Peter Falk is a surprisingly modest man, who says "Given a strong script and solid dialogue, any actor worth his salt is halfway home." Born in New York City, but raised in upstate Ossining, he attended Hamilton College briefly before enlisting in the merchant marine, making two trips to Europe and a six-month tour of duty to South America, working as a cook. Having seen a fair share of the world, he returned to Hamilton, then enrolled in the New School for Social Research, earning a B.A. in political science. Falk recalls, "While I was at the New School, I found a course where you could act in a play and get credits towards a degree. Naturally, I grabbed it. The play was 'The Time of Your Life, ' and I was in it. The head of the drama workshop offered me a scholarship. Do you believe it? Well, I told him that I wasn't interested in the humiliation of becoming a young actor and starving in a garret. Maybe I believed that at the time, but I'll tell you what I felt - fear, total fear. I turned down the offer because I was afraid of failure. And it took another eight years before I'd become an actor." Following a year roaming through Europe, he returned home to enroll in the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, earning a master's degree in public administration. After graduation, he became an efficiency expert for the budget director of Connecticut in Hartford. His free evenings were spent with the Mark Twain Maskers, a highly respected theater group. A meeting with Eva Le Gallienne proved an auspicious one for the young actor. Under her tutelage, he played the title role in "Richard III" at the White Barn Theater in Westport, Connecticut and, at her ultimate urging, descended on New York determined to become an actor. In less than a month, he landed the choice role of the Bartender in an off-Broadway production of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh." He appeared in several more productions in rapid succession. In television, he appeared on "Studio One, " "Robert Montgomery Presents, " "Omnibus, " "The Law and Mr. Jones" (his first Emmy nomination) and, on "The Dick Powell Theater, " in "The Price of Tomatoes, " for which he won his first Emmy. In 1971, he began playing "Columbo" on the small screen to the delight of the television audience and has won three Emmys for the role. Falk has acted in many fine films over the years, including "Pretty Boy Floyd" (1959), "Murder, Inc." (1960), "Pocketful of Miracles" (1961), "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963), "Husbands" (1970), A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE (1974), "Murder by Death" (1976), "The Cheap Detective" (1978) and "The Brink's Job" (1979). He was nominated for an Oscar for his dramatic role in "Murder, Inc." and for his comedy portrayal in Frank Capra's "A Pocketful of Miracles." Married, Falk lives in a clliffside house in Beverly Hills, is a top-rated pool player and swings a mean golf club on the local courses.