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:
7.5/10   1,182 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:
Good early Columbo murder mystery. See more (23 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:
Produced as a second pilot for "Columbo" (1971) three years after Prescription: Murder (1968) (TV). Its success led to "Columbo" being made part of a rotating Mystery Movie wheel of programs for most of the 1970s.See more »
Goofs:
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): At the beginning Leslie Williams is shown constructing the bogus ransom letter without wearing any gloves. Her fingerprints would have been all over it, showing that it was she who had actually made the letter.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 7 people found the following review useful.
Good early Columbo murder mystery., 15 January 2008
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands

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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