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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Peter Falk Comedies at the Aero in LA

It’s easy to forget the many talents of an actor when that actor makes everything they do look so damn easy. Peter Falk was that kind of an actor. Even though he was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor for his serious, and startling portrayal of a mobster in Murder, Inc, Falk could make us laugh as well. And tonight, starting at 7:30pm you can catch two of his silliest roles at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

Courtesy of The American Cinematheque (official site), tonight’s line up includes Murder By Death and The Cheap Detective. Both films feature an all-star cast in send-ups of classic detective tales written by comedic genius Neil Simon. For just $11 you can catch a double feature that includes the talents of Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Sid Caesar, Ann-Margaret, Madeline Kahn, Eileen Brennan, Phil Silvers and many more! With that kind of a line up you should be well aware that the tongues will be placed firmly in their cheeks, and be prepared to laugh at some of the dumbest, lowest, cheapest jokes imaginable. I’m telling you , if you like broad comedy then this is the night for you!

First up, Murder By Death is an incredibly silly send up of an Agatha Christie-type mystery. Of course there is a “Miss Marple” (played beautifully by Elsa Lanchester) and a “Hercule Poirot” (who else but James Coco), but you also have a smashup of just about every detective type from the 1930s including a “Mr. & Mrs. Charles” (David Niven and Maggie Smith) of The Thin Man fame, a “Charlie Chan” (Peter Sellers) and a “Sam Spade” played by Falk himself. Things get complicated as Alec Guinness provides a performance not seen by the great thespian since his multi-role portrayal in Kind Hearts and Coronets.

Second up is the even more painful puns and jokes of The Cheap Detective. Falk is back, but this time he’s playing a version of Philip Marlowe. Once again Eileen Brennan appears as his girl Friday, and the plot loses all meaning to make room for the gags. But then, neither film is to be taken seriously for it’s story line. If you do that, you’re going to miss out on a fun evening of simple comedy presented at its very best.

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