(Review originally written at 18 July 2008)

Plotwise and the way the story is build up from its beginning till end, every Columbo movie is basically the same. It's the reason why most of the Columbo movies are of the same high quality. There however are a few Columbo movies that stand out. Often a Columbo movie can distinct itself from the others and the usual quality, through its directing style, plot or acting. This is a Columbo movie that knows to distinct itself through its plot.

Storywise this is simply one fine movie. It on top of that is also quite original for a Columbo movie, thanks to some nice little touches that makes the story and its storytelling different from the usual Columbo formula. For instance we don't get to see the first murder being committed at all and there is not one murderer but two, of which one is the deputy police commissioner and Columbo's boss. In the long run the story isn't at all about the first murder in fact. The story on top of that has some small side-plots, which isn't something common for a Columbo movie, also due to its normal short running times. It's a story that develops nicely and has plenty of twists and surprises in it. It's the kind of script that would had also worked out for a good cop thriller movie.

But it's still a typical Columbo movie alright with most of its usual ingredients. The character of Columbo himself can be seen as a real police investigator this time, interrogating and looking for clues, while in most other Columbo movies he doesn't really feel and act like a police-man but more like a noisy, smart, observing private detective, like for instance Agatha Christie's Poirot or Miss Marple.

Perhaps it's true that the movie focuses more on the perpetrators than on the Columbo character, even more than usual but I see this as a part of the reason why this movie is different and more original from other Columbo movies, rather than as something that is bad about the movie.

The movie also really benefits from Richard Kiley, who plays a fine role, as Columbo's main suspect. His character carries the movie for quite a large part.

A movie that doesn't follow all of the usual Columbo movie rules but works out fine anyhow thanks to its well written script, that helps to make the movie one of the more original Columbo movies out there.


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About Frank Veenstra

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