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(Review originally written at 7 March 2008)

Story-wise this isn't among the best or most cleverly written Columbo movie but the movie is extremely well made, with excellent directing and truly fine acting.

Especially the acting within this movie attracts the attention. Director Nicholas Colasanto did a great job with the actors in the movie. Appereantly he allowed Peter Falk and John Cassavetes lots of space to play with, also since both are being credited on here as uncredited directors of this movie. Must be part of his directing style to allow the actors this much room. It works out extremely well for this movie. Perhaps he did this because Colasanto himself also used to work as an actor. He is perhaps best known for playing the role of Coach in the hit-series "Cheers", from the very start of it in 1982 until his death in 1985.

So Peter Falk seems better than ever before in his role as Lt. Columbo. Also veteran actor John Cassavetes does a real great job as the movie its murderer and is a good match for the lieutenant. Beside them, the movie also features Myrna Loy. A big star from the silent movie era and also Pat Morita, in a small early role.

But not just the acting-directing within the movie is real good. Visually and technically it's also a really great made movie, with slow long shots, without the use of any cuts. Also obviously the reason why this movie is longer than most Columbo movies. It really takes its time to set up things and tell its story. The movie also features a couple of nice artistic and experimental kind of shots. Of course all really fitting for the '70's.

But like I said before, story-wise this just isn't among the best Columbo movies. Also the clues being left out for the lieutenant are a bit too obvious this time. It makes the murderer come across as a bit dumb, like he didn't thought his plan over good enough, while the character obviously is an intelligent man. Columbo this time also tries to irritate the suspect and other characters a bit more than he usually tries to do, in order to solve the crime. This and Peter Falk's different acting approach are a reason why his character might come across as different than he does in other Columbo movies. But different does not mean worse in this case.

The movie also features a quite good musical score by Richard DeBenedictis, who after this became sort of the steady composer for the Columbo movies.

A great Columbo movie to watch!

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

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