Monday, 27 April 2015

Of Detectives, and Griffin and Phoenix

Griffin and Phoenix A Love Story 1976
image from Wikipedia
I'm drawn to good detective stories but a lot of the ones I like have such gloomy protagonists. For example, the manner in which the original Sherlock Holmes stories had been written depicted Holmes as a thinking machine, which to me is not far from a lonely character. Inspector Morse is another favourite of mine but I feel as though I wouldn't be able to watch an episode without getting depressed. That ending of an episode of Morse filmed in Australia, when he was seen climbing the steps to the Sydney Opera House, always made me tear up. Morse's sidekick, Robbie Lewis, was really fun at the start but when he became inspector in the spin-off, he seemed to be going to the same direction as Morse. "Endeavour" the prequel, shows Endeavour Morse in his youth and the events that lead to how we know him as the melancholic inspector.

Lt. Columbo is probably the only detective I can watch who will certainly leave me feeling lighthearted and whistling after every episode. I felt that the actor who had played him, Peter Falk, was an extremely nice person in real life and that it would have been great to have him as a grandad (perhaps I'm thinking of The Princess Bride when I say this). Though I have seen every Columbo episode 5 - 10 times, I haven't seen many other works of Peter Falk. And in those few I've seen him in, I still saw Lt. Columbo's mannerisms.

Yosimete, California
Yosemite, California, USA. Autumn 2014
Griffin and Phoenix, A Love Story is a TV movie from 1976 and portrayed Falk in a not-so Columbo role: a leading man (who would have thought?) lonely and angry in what could possibly be one of the saddest films of all time. I took it lightly at first, when the film started with Geoffrey Griffin (Falk) and his wife and two sons going on a trip to Yosemite, the poor quality of the film and yet the slight familiarity of the roads; the fact that this was filmed before my husband and I were born, and that we were in Yosemite only six months ago. When Griffin drove to see his sons in their house in Albuquerque, I went, "is that Walter White's house?" I started to feel a tightening in my chest when he and Sarah Phoenix  (played by Jill Clayburgh) finally met, however I liked the idea of doing crazy things with that special person. I don't know what made me feel the characters' pain, being a huge fan of Falk, perhaps, and seeing him take on a different role. Or maybe it was these two actors' chemistry and the fact that in real life, both of them are now gone, dying within months of each other.

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