Columbo: Season 1, Episode 0

Ransom for a Dead Man (1 Mar. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,175 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 5 critic

A brilliant tort attorney gets rid of her boring husband by faking his kidnapping and keeping the ransom. The FBI may be fooled, but not Columbo.

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Title: Ransom for a Dead Man (01 Mar 1971)

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
John Fink ...
Michael Clark
...
Patricia Mattick ...
Margaret Williams
...
Hammond
...
Phil
Charles Macaulay ...
Richard
Hank Brandt ...
Attorney (as Henry Brandt)
...
Pat (as Jeane Byron)
Richard Roat ...
Perkins
Norma Connolly ...
Celia
Harlan Warde ...
Paul Williams
Bill Walker ...
Crowell
...
Bert
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Storyline

Leslie Williams, a brilliant tort attorney is bored by her husband, a respected member of the state supreme court. After trading on his famous name to get ahead, she tries to get her freedom by murdering him and concocts a scheme to make it appear that he's been kidnapped and held for ransom. After she pays the ransom to herself, his dead body is found. She may have fooled the FBI but not Lt. Columbo, who is aided by her vengeful stepdaughter. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Billy Goldenberg scored the opening "Columbo" stories in 1971, his commercially released "Columbo Theme" recorded as such by Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra ("Law Beat" album, Contour Records 2870 369) did not become a regular feature of the show. The theme is first heard during the helicopter sequence of "Ransom for a Dead Man" but Goldenberg did not use it as a title theme and composed mainly fresh music for "Murder by the Book" and all his subsequent scores. The "Columbo" series never had any recognizable theme tune of its own. See more »

Goofs

When Columbo and Mrs. Williams are ordering drinks at the airport bar, a Boeing 747 can be seen taxiing toward them in the background. In the time it takes for Columbo to say "I'll have a Root Beer", the plane vanishes. 20 seconds later you can see the same plane taxiing farther into its parking space. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: Eh, say, eh, you know I have this cousin Ralph, eh, his name is Ralph. Eh, anyway eh, Ralph was the greatest at everything. You know I mean he thought better, he talked better, he made out better. Ralph was the greatest. I mean Ralph, boy, that Ralph was something, I'll tell you that. I'll never forget him.
Leslie Williams: Eh, is there a point to this story, Lieutenant?
Lt. Columbo: A point?
Leslie Williams: A point.
Lt. Columbo: No, I don't think there's a point, except... well maybe, you know maybe what it was, is that when you were talking about ...
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Connections

Features Double Indemnity (1944) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good early Columbo murder mystery.
15 January 2008 | by (Groningen, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

The Columbo movies are all great murder mysteries to watch. Difference with most other serials/movies is that in a Columbo movie you always get to see the killing right in the beginning, which also means that you already know who is the killer. So all the Columbo movies show is how Lieutenant Columbo solves the crime, in his own unique way. This is an approach that always works surprising well and the movie also still leaves plenty of surprises, since you never know exactly how the killer came to its deed and what the motive was.

The movie gets of course carried by Peter Falk as the strange and quirky but of course clever and very observing Lieutenant Columbo. Though I liked the 'old man' Columbo better in the later TV movies. He pretends to be more stupid than he in fact of course truly is, in order to harmlessly gain trust from his suspects. It's a great character and basically the foremost reason why this Columbo TV movies are so popular and still great to watch after all those years. The Columbo movies were made in even 5 different decades, all with Peter Falk in the title role, which says something of its popularity and quality of the series, that just never seems to dry out. The series will probably won't ever stop until Peter Falk is no more. Acedemy Award winner and multiple nominee Lee Grant also plays a good role but most of the other actors in this movie seem like C-grade TV series actors. Especially Patricia Mattick was annoyingly bad and all her character ever did was moaning.

This movie is the second of two Columbo pilots. Strangely enough it was made 3 years after the first Columbo pilot "Prescription: Murder", as if the first pilot was not a total success but they still wanted to give it a chance, having faith in its potential.

It has a good story that drags a bit at points and the clues left out for Lieutenant Columbo are at times a bit too obvious but knows to keep your interest throughout. It has some interesting side-plots and developments but it doesn't ever allow things to fully develop in order to make it all fit into the time span of the movie. This also means on the other hand that the movie feels like it wrapped up too fast toward the ending.

The movie features some quirky '70's effects and trick but luckily enough it never really crosses the line. It's also a reason why this movie surely doesn't feel outdated and is actually now just still as good as ever to watch.

7/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/


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