A Woman Under the Influence/Husbands

The late Peter Falk (1927-2011) made a successful Hollywood career out of being underestimated. Columbo cemented him as TV star during the '70s, during which time he also made some remarkable movies with his buddy John Cassavetes. Tonight's double-feature Falk tribute begins (at 7 p.m.) with the better-known A Woman Under the Influence and follows with the more rarely screened Husbands (1970). Falk, Cassavetes, and Ben Gazzara play a trio of Long Island pals launched by the death of their fourth comrade-in-suburban-discontent into a bender begun at the wake and leading all the way to London. Before there were bros or bromance, Cassavetes carefully rehearsed these scenes of overlapping male monologues, wrestling, singing, and sudden exclamations of love. (Gazzara on marriage: “Aside from sex, I like you guys better.”) Cassavetes stages the London hotel scenes with a bevy of hookers in long, rather heroically awkward takes, where Falk softly sings to a Chinese call-girl who can't understand him. As adulterers, they're failures; and they know what familial roles await them back in Port Washington. “I'm a very ordinary guy,” says Falk, and you can't tell if that's a boast or a lament. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

Fri., Oct. 14, 7 & 9 p.m., 2011

 
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