(Review originally written at 9 July 2008)

This is quite a special Columbo movie, not because it's very original or is of exceptional quality but because it features famous singer Johnny Cash as the murderer.

Of course Johnny Cash also plays a musician in this movie and he more or less plays himself. This is always an handy and safe approach when you work with an actor that is not really an actor in the first place. As a matter of fact, Cash spends halve of the time singing in this movie.

Besides Johnny Cash and Peter Falk the movie, among others, also features Ida Lupino. Columbo movies often featured movie stars from the 'old days'. Ida Lupino actually also starred before in the other previous Columbo movie "Columbo: Short Fuse". Lupino is best known for the work she did in the 40's, with movies such as "High Sierra", "The Sea Wolf" and "They Drive by Night" on her resume.

The movie is directed by Nicholas Colasanto, who also directed the most excellent Columbo movie "Columbo: √Čtude in Black". That movie was mostly great since he left the two main leading men, Peter Falk and John Cassavetes, lots of room to improvise and do things their own way, rather than being hold down by a script or directed. But of course with a movie that stars non-professional actor Johnny Cash you can't really afford to choose this approach, even though he obviously still gave some of the other actors some room. The directing for this movie also most certainly is not bad, it's actually quite great but it can't really touch "Columbo: √Čtude in Black". Nicholas Colasanto himself by the way still better known to the world as an actor, who portrayed the character Coach in the hit-series "Cheers", right till his death in 1985.

Nicholas Colasanto's directing style on the other hand has as a consequence that the movie is slow moving in parts and you have the feeling at times that Colasanto's overdid it perhaps at times with his directing approach.

An all in all good Columbo movie, that is obviously especially worth watching for the fans of Johnny Cash.


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About Frank Veenstra

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