(Review originally written at 11 February 2008)

This is the Columbo that got directed by Steven Spielberg at an early point in his career. It's nothing sensational but some small hint of great things to come for Spielberg can be seen in this movie. The movie is basically in the same style as most of Spierlberg's '70's movies and TV works. So that means that some characters tend to show some quirkiness's and no I'm not just talking about the Columbo character alone. The kind of character quirkiness which perhaps can be best seen in the 1975 Spielberg movie "Jaws". But other than some small hints of typical early Spielberg elements, you can't call this movie the work of- and fine example of a rising director star. Not that its bad, of course it isn't but as I said earlier, it also isn't anything too sensational.

This movie began really well and very promising but after it's fine opening, in which as always the murder occurred, the movie became sort of more slow and also dull to watch. Dull because it's mostly a Columbo movie by the book that doesn't have real memorable moments in it, not dull because it's a boring movie to watch.

The murder itself was quite ingenious and the concept of having a crime story writer murdering his writing partner showed some great and interesting potential. The story however didn't really explored all of its possibilities. At least that's the feeling this movie left me with.

The movie was still a good one to watch nevertheless thanks to the character of Jack Cassidy, who thinks he's smarter then Columbo, due to his mystery/crime writing experience and tries to give him all kinds of possible hints, leading away from himself. But of course Columbo knows better and he is his number one suspect from the first moment on but he as usual plays the game along.

The movie does have a good overall style and uses some fine camera position and editing. Funny to see that also most of this was all mostly consistent with Spielberg's later work, especially some of the camera-angles.

A fine and perfectly watchable Columbo movie but don't let the name of Spielberg attached to it rise your expectations for it too highly.


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About Frank Veenstra

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