(Review originally written at 9 August 2008)

Bernard L. Kowalski was probably the most consistent director out of all the Columbo movie directors. His Columbo movies are not necessarily the best (though "Columbo: Death Lends a Hand" is still one of my favorite Columbo movies) but his ones are always really solid and bring out the best of the classic successful Columbo formula. It's probably also the reason why they let him direct so many Columbo movies in the '70's, with this movie as his last Columbo movie.

3 years after his Star Trek buddy Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner also plays in a Columbo movie, as the killer as well. He's not as good as Leonard Nimoy in it but of course still plays the role well enough. William Shatner is actually a really stiff actor. He doesn't seem to move a muscle when he's delivering his lines and when it does so it feels very forced, in a B-movie kind of way. It makes him mostly such a cult-favorite but of course at the same time is also the same reason why he has never really starred in any big Hollywood productions and is mostly an actor who is doing his work for TV productions. He and Peter Falk have some great interaction together in their sequences. Lt. Columbo as always manages to get close to his suspect and gains his trust, by letting him think he is helping Columbo with the case this time.

The movie has a well written plot, with a cleverly executed murder and it uses some nice settings. This time Columbo has to snoop around the set of a popular police series, in which the William Shatner plays the main part and of course soon becomes Lt. Columbo's prime suspect. It luckily isn't one of the longest Columbo episodes though, since it also just isn't the most interesting one.

Nothing too special, just simply one fine executed Columbo movie entry and a great example of why the Columbo formula was such a great and successful one.


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About Frank Veenstra

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