(Review originally written at 24 July 2008)

The main concept of the movie is enjoyable and original but not really credible though. Why would someone with diplomatic immunity, in an area where the LAPD has no jurisdiction, ever allow the police to interstage. Someone with diplomatic immunity could of course had also very easily covered up a murder without much intervention. Instead they give full cooperation to the police, which is of course a big mistake from them, especially when Columbo is on the case. There also many clues left out for them, making this one of the most poorly planned out murder-plots from any Columbo movie. You would expect something more clever and better planned from an high ranking important foreign diplomat.

It also gets never explained in the movie why the first murder ever got committed, making this really one of the less great written Columbo movies, despite having an interesting and original premise.

Still the movie remains a good and enjoyable one to watch, also really thanks to the movie its cast. Of course Peter Falk is great as lieutenant Columbo. Hector Elizondo plays a worthy competitor for the good old lieutenant. Elizondo is a great actor, who fits the role well, despite that he of course is not Arabic, while his character is. The movie also features well known movie star Sal Mineo but in a quite small role. It was one of his final roles before he got murdered on the street, in 1976. The movie is of course mostly about Columbo and his confrontations and interrogations with the Hector Elizondo character, like every Columbo movie goes. Especially the confrontation toward the end, when Columbo is making his accusations and is saying the Elizondo character is lying, is a great one.

It's quite amusing to see Columbo mingle in this one with many important country delegates and even with a king.

It isn't the Columbo movie with the best or most steady pace. The movie isn't always fast going. Luckily the movie is not too long with its mere 73 minutes of running time. It's funny though how IMDb never seems to have the running times right for any Columbo movie.

Seems like Ted Post just wasn't the best director the Columbo series ever had. Also his other later Columbo movie "Columbo: A Matter of Honor" isn't among the best in the long running series that spread over many decades. The directing just isn't lively or original enough. It's the effective sort of directing for TV work, that is just never anything too exciting to watch.

Not really one of my favorite Columbo movie entries but it's amusing and good enough to watch, especially for the fans, since it follows the usual formula and features the usual Columbo ingredients, that makes all Columbo movie so perfectly watchable and enjoyable to watch.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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