Columbo: Season 1, Episode 0

Ransom for a Dead Man (1 Mar. 1971)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 1,176 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.

Director:

Writers:

(teleplay), (story), 4 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Instant Video

Editors' Spotlight

Live Chat with Keanu Reeves

We conducted a Live Chat with Keanu about his upcoming film John Wick.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 911 titles
created 17 Aug 2011
 
a list of 8 titles
created 05 Feb 2012
 
a list of 1077 titles
created 04 Dec 2012
 
a list of 2606 titles
created 16 Apr 2013
 
a list of 22 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

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

Ransom for a Dead Man (01 Mar 1971) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Columbo.
1 of 68 Episodes | Next Episode »

Photos

Edit

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
Edit

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


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

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

Early in the pilot when Lee Grant's character leaves her husband's 1971 Lincoln sedan at the stop sign and goes to a mailbox to mail the ransom note she is startled by an approaching car. As the car approaches it is a Corvette. However as the car is shown driving away the rear of the car is a 1971 Lincoln sedan; possibly the same car and/or a sequence planned for earlier in the scene. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: [to Leslie Williams] No conscience limits your imagination.
See more »

Connections

Features Double Indemnity (1944) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
My absolute favorite Columbo episode
7 May 2008 | by (Dallas) – See all my reviews

I love this Columbo pilot movie...it has a richness of production lacking in most of the regular series episodes. I wish the regular episodes looked and felt like this.

The musical score by Billy Goldenberg is absolutely beautiful...variations on a simple theme, first as a intriguing, gently unfolding tune as the murder is planned and carried out. Then, as the cover-up is under way and we are introduced to a lush dramatic orchestration of the same theme, exciting and beautiful, worthy of a James Bond film. So versatile, this amazing tune, that it is used throughout the movie without ever sounding quite the same. The final iteration is as a jaunty little ditty in the airport coffee shop that sneaks up on you...totally unnoticed until the fun wrap-up and credits. Genius! Billy Goldenberg was only 34 when he did this...a master!

I also like the way the titles at the beginning and end look. The way the camera lingers at the last scene, of nothing but an airport window, allowing the credits to play out as the music plays, is so much more satisfying, more "movie-like", than the abrupt ending cut and the harsh yellow titles against stills of prior scenes of the regular series episodes. Some have derided the digital zooms and other editing choices made in this episode, but I couldn't disagree more. One of my favorite images is of the coldly beautiful Leslie, standing at the edge of a cliff, her eyes black as night, then suddenly ablaze like diamonds. They are actually the headlights of the big Lincoln she is driving in the scene. Beautiful imagery not even attempted in the series episodes.

That gets me to my final point as to why this Columbo is a cut above...Lee Grant! I enjoy watching Columbo match wits with female adversaries, and Leslie Williams is one of the best adversaries, if not the best, he has ever had...beautiful, sexy, flirtatious, shrewd, cunning and let's not forget - "greedy". I could watch her all day...I can't get enough of her. She is in control of every frame of film she appears in, every word, movement, every breath. Lee Grant is a great actress - great acting in a really fun part.

This episode is not perfect, but the Billy Goldenberg score, the "movie" look, and especially Lee Grant elevate it to the top for me. Fun to watch anytime.


14 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Identity Crisis - motive and missing clue? billdz-geo
Columbo's First name is Frank and His Wife is Named Rose. Master_Timelord
Columbo Goes To College- |Steven Caffery Calumette
Last Salute to the Commadore Calumette
Swan Song IloveMuggy
Guest stars you would've love to have seen in the 70's episodes old-skool101
Discuss Ransom for a Dead Man (1971) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?