IMDb > "Columbo" Ransom for a Dead Man (1971)
"Columbo: Ransom for a Dead Man (#1.0)"
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"Columbo" Ransom for a Dead Man (1971)

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Overview

User Rating:
7.6/10   1,245 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Dean Hargrove (teleplay)
Richard Levinson (story) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Ransom for a Dead Man on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
1 March 1971 (Season 1, Episode 0)
Genre:
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A very promising pilot See more (24 total) »

Cast

 (Episode Cast) (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Lee Grant ... Leslie Williams
John Fink ... Michael Clark

Harold Gould ... Agent Carlson
Patricia Mattick ... Margaret Williams

Paul Carr ... Hammond

Jed Allan ... Phil
Charles Macaulay ... Richard
Hank Brandt ... Attorney (as Henry Brandt)

Jean Byron ... Pat (as Jeane Byron)
Richard Roat ... Perkins
Norma Connolly ... Celia
Harlan Warde ... Paul Williams
Bill Walker ... Crowell

Timothy Carey ... Bert
Judson Morgan ... Judge
Richard O'Brien ... Priest

Celeste Yarnall ... Gloria
Lisa Moore ... Nancy
Lois Battle ... Waitress
Reginald Fenderson ... Mechanic
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Angelo De Meo ... Desk Clerk (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Richard Irving 
 
Writing credits
Dean Hargrove (teleplay)

Richard Levinson (story) &
William Link (story)

Richard Levinson (based on a character created by) &
William Link (based on a character created by)

Gene Thompson  uncredited

Produced by
Dean Hargrove .... producer
Richard Irving .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Billy Goldenberg 
 
Cinematography by
Lionel Lindon (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Edward M. Abroms 
John Elias (uncredited)
 
Art Direction by
John J. Lloyd 
 
Set Decoration by
Bert Allen (set decorations) (as Bert F. Allan)
 
Production Management
Donald L. Gold .... unit manager (as Don Gold)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
George Bisk .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Robert R. Bertrand .... sound (as Robert Bertrand)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
 
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
95 min | USA:98 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | Sweden:11 | UK:PG (video rating) (2000) (2004) | UK:U (theatrical release) (1972)

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:
Continuity: 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, Leslie Williams:Ah, Mrs. Williams! Don't you have any live-in servants?
Leslie Williams:Yes.
Lt. Columbo:Oh, well it must be the same problem everywhere. You want something done, you gotta do it yourself.
Leslie Williams:How's that?
Lt. Columbo:Oh, I was just saying, you pay a lot of money for help, and you end up doin the cooking.
Leslie Williams:Well, you see, my housekeeper's been on vacation the last few weeks.
Lt. Columbo:Oh, I see then, so you've been here alone. Well, listen, if there's, I mean, anything I can do to help, peel potatoes, whatever, you just feel free.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in The Simpsons: Virtual Springfield (1997) (VG)See more »

FAQ

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
A very promising pilot, 3 September 2007
Author: Enoch Sneed from United Kingdom

Three years after the original Columbo pilot "Prescription: Murder", the great man got another chance for immortality in this film. Of course, the rest is history as Columbo went on to become one of the greatest and best-loved TV characters ever.

This pilot sets a high standard (which wasn't always maintained, let's be honest) and has strong writing and characterisation, as well as showing some visual flair with slow fades, jump cuts and other effects.

Columbo here is the Lieutenant we will come to love, absent-minded, rambling, but with pin-sharp instincts and a deep sense of justice ("I couldn't have you convicted on false evidence" he says at one point. He wants to catch the criminal but he will do it fairly and properly). The performances of Peter Falk and Lee Grant are excellent.

Some reviewers have felt the suspect wouldn't be stupid enough to use the ransom money after being so smart in planning the crime and covering her tracks. I think the fact the money was going into a *Swiss* bank probably made her feel it was a risk worth taking - you can't get any information out of those guys, so no-one would know it was the ransom money. Besides, she really doesn't have a conscience.

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See more (24 total) »

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Why is Colombo on a kidnapping case? jonjax71
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