(Review originally written at 22 July 2008)

No way that is among the best of the Columbo movies but it s still simply one fine entry in the long and popular running series.

The movie is directed by Bernard L. Kowalski, who is perhaps my favorite director out of the entire Columbo movie series. He directed numerous Columbo movies, of which this one isn't his best or most interesting to watch but there simply is just not such a thing as a bad Bernard L. Kowalski Columbo movie.

The entire movie is mostly set at one location; In and around the house were the murder was committed. Not that this is something unusual for a Columbo movie but this one is perhaps an extreme example of it. But of course when you have such a large 'high-tech' house, it isn't anything to surprising that this approach got picked with its story. It's of course also a real typical approach for a murder mystery to have most of the movie set at a large house. It's of course an approach Agatha Christie novel/movies are best known for. Guess Columbo also wanted to have a taste of this.

The fact that the movie is mostly set at one location is perhaps the main reason why the movie feels rather simplistic. It tried to make the story more interesting and tried to spice things up by inserting lots of modern high-tech gadgets into the movie and weave it into the murdering plot. But of course all of those high-tech gadgets are no terribly outdated and they look quite ridicules honestly. But who knows, maybe in 20 years from now people will also laugh at seeing our 'modern' tools and gadgets in movies. It's at least not as ridicules as the robot in the other earlier Columbo movie "Columbo: Mind Over Mayhem".

The movie is also quite short and just over an hour long. Because of this not everything seems developed and wrapped up properly. Especially the ending just comes too soon and the movie feels as if it could had used some more moments in which Columbo tried to make things tough for his main suspect, played by Oskar Werner and some more moments in which the killer tried to fool Columbo and conceal his crime better for the world in order to avoid getting caught.

Peter Falk is good as always as Columbo, who this time again has a cold. Also present again is his dog. Oskar Werner also plays his role just fine, although the movie also leaves you the feeling that they could had done some more and developed his character a bit better. Austrian born actor Werner is best known for playing the main lead in the original "Fahrenheit 451", which is currently being remade. He quit acting shortly after this Columbo movie, most likely forced due his drinking problems. He also died quite young of an heart attack in late 1984. Also present in this movie is Gena Rowlands. But due to the limited running time of this movie, non of the supporting roles are quite big or interesting enough to be worth mentioning.

Not the worst Columbo movie but there are definitely better ones out there, especially also from Bernard L. Kowalski.


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About Frank Veenstra

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