Columbo's criminals usually follow a pattern in doing themselves in. Sometimes its the smallest details forgotten in the commission of the crime, other times their undoing comes in covering their tracks later. Suitable for Framing follows the latter mold of Columbo's.
The Wild, Wild West's Ross Martin is an art critic who kills his uncle to frame his aunt following a change in his uncle's will disinheriting him. Martin leaves only just enough clues to arouse Columbo's suspicions, but not enough to slam the door shut.
Martin plays the exasperated criminal perfectly, becoming increasingly frustrated with Columbo's failure to take the bait on the frame-up until finally he overplays his hand, resulting in his undoing in one of the better closing scenes you'll see.
Most importantly is this movie's Columboism--Columbo falls asleep in the Martin's apartment after Martin graciously allows him to search it for evidence of the crime.
Dale Kingston is a tremendous villain. I love the fact that he is so short-tempered, nasty and utterly disdainful of Columbo. I have no problem at all with there being no love lost between the two of them, it means there is always tension in the air!
Columbo's facial expression at the end is awesome (even though I ticked the "spoilers" box, I still don't want to reveal exactly what his evidence is). Without saying a word, he conveys with his eyes: "Come on mate, why are you making such a fool of yourself?! Everyone knows you did it, so why not just quit all this pointless shouting and getting angry, it's ridiculous!"
Up there with "Death Lends A Hand" as one of the standouts of the first series.
My only qualm here is how confident and cocky the suspect acts around Columbo, and practically wears guilt on his sleeve. Many episodes make the suspect a bit too arrogant, and that's after the murder's been committed.
For one thing Martin commits two murders, not only the uncle but also of a fawning art student whom he cons into helping him with the murder. And also he spends the entire episode smirking at Peter Falk who can't quite touch him. Finally when cornered a bit, he throws suspicion on the estranged wife of the victim played by Kim Hunter.
Actually Martin should have gotten away with it. He very cleverly faked the time of death with a really simple gimmick I won't reveal to give himself an alibi. But since Columbo got the scent he spent the episode just working on gut instinct that Martin was the killer.
Don Ameche as the family attorney, Rosanna Huffman as the luckless art student and Mary Wickes as her landlady all contribute nicely to the story. But Martin is one villain you are really glad to see Columbo nail.
The backdrop is a decent one and allows for some good-natured scenes in which the bumbling detective attempts to get to grips with the world of modern art. Although the guest villain, Ross Martin, was unknown to me, he gives a fun performance and gets to harangue the dogged detective at key moments, which is always fun.
The supporting cast incorporates the familiar faces of Don Ameche and Kim Hunter (star of the PLANET OF THE APES films) who give good support. Falk is on strong form here and the presence of an almost unbreakable alibi makes the mystery solving fun. As a whole, SUITABLE FOR FRAMING is a story hard to dislike.
Ross Martin who had recovered from illnesses which plagued his last season of The Wild Wild West. Interestingly, his character here uses the same last name (Kingston) that he uses on the Wild West episode THE NIGHT OF THE RUNNING DEATH. Martin is in good form here.
Don Ameche, and Vic Tayback are among the veteran character actors appearing in this one too. At one point in this, Kingston has Columbo convinced he has no reason to have killed anyone. Then, he tries to frame the one person who he needs to frame in order to have a motive and Columbo outsmarts him.
Nevertheless, this story is entertaining enough for the undemanding viewer and the resolution is not predictable in any way.
Ross Martin is quite aggressive in his role as the murderer and he seems to get perturbed by Columbo's persistence extremely early on, but his performance satisfactorily illustrates his characterisation's misplaced self-confidence.
Not vintage Columbo, but pleasing viewing nonetheless.
Many episodes start with a huge house, a shot of the exterior, a wealthy someone in the way, and the murder. Kingston plants all the evidence and arranges the crime scene without speaking and in fact during these few moments there is hardly any sound at all. Until the gunshot, and then a doorbell.
Kingston establishes his alibi, such as it is, by attending a gallery exhibit opening reception and looking at his watch multiple times, or asking other people to look at theirs. He thinks his plan rocks, and he thinks everyone else exists to help him carry it out if only by confirming when he was at the party. Some of the art jokes are pretty good, though.
This is not my favorite episode by far, though it has a high rating here on IMDb. Ross Martin an actor I generally enjoy and one known for being an acting teacher descends into madness as the murderer. He starts to screech, and do stupid things. Perhaps it's purposeful, as Columbo comes closer and closer. I dunno; it grates.
One awesome scene is with the landlady, looking at the scrapbook. Watch for it!
Culled from The Columbo Case Files: Season One.
This is very entertaining, and of course, the original Columbos like this one were the best. A couple of the plot points are similar to the pilot for the series, which starred Gene Barry. Dangling the prospect of marriage, Barry uses his girlfriend in a plot to kill his wife.
Ross Martin was an effective actor who died too young, and he's marvelous as the critic, and Kim Hunter is fabulous as the frail, ditsy, ex-wife. One of the posters seemed to know her from Planet of the Apes. She has a few other credits, including the role of Stella in the original "Streetcare Named Desire," which she repeated in the film version and won an Oscar. She would be blacklisted during the McCarthy era, but she overcame this and continued her career. Her testimony to the New York Supreme Court in 1962 against the publishers of "Red Channels" helped pave the way for clearance of many performers unjustly accused of Communist connections.
One of the things that attracts me to early Columbo's is how amusingly dated they now appear. In this episode the first thing you notice is the dreadful crushed velvet dinner-jacket and huge bow tie that the central character, Dale Kingston, wears. Later, he goes to a chitzy art exhibition where lots of art luvee's wearing silk neck-ties reside. In every scene, you hear a never-ending bossa-nova tune in the background as Kingston makes cutting remarks and jokes with artists. The cars people drive are ridiculously huge with ultra springy suspension. After all this is 1971, when flares were just starting to become wider and cars were pre-emissions. There are interesting appearances by Don Ameche and Kim Hunter, the latter will be best remembered for being a monkey in the Planet of the Apes series. If you like Columbo and like to see how tasteless wealthy Americans were back then, watch it.
Nicely scripted by Jackson Gillis, this is an enjoyable but unexceptional early Columbo. The best bit is the last three minutes, where the smarmy villain gets outsmarted good and proper with a truly ingenious bit of business involving fingerprints. Martin is not the best Columbo villain; he's a bit too loathsome - he kills a defenceless old guy, a young woman he pretends to be in love with and tries to pin it on a weak-minded lady - but the pleasure comes from watching Columbo bait him into incriminating himself, Columbo's standard modus operandi. Hunter is good as the nervous chatterbox ex-wife, and Wickes and Tayback are both funny in small parts as a landlady and a grumpy artist respectively. A minor TV mystery, but still a lot of fun, due as usual to Falk's fine acting chops.
I liked the movie its style. Director Hy Averback (Hy?) did a great job with it! You can really tell by its that this is a '70's movie. Having a typical '70's atmosphere has never harmed a movie, so that's a real positive thing.
Because the movie its story is set in the world of art, the movie features a whole bunch of quirky characters, which of course makes the movie also really pleasant to watch. This time the only quirkiness doesn't come from the Columbo character alone.
Actually the story is not that much special in its core and the killing itself and the whole plan around it also isn't among the best or most ingenious ones but the movie is greatly paced and due to its style and plenty of humor this movie is great watch.
Despite the fact that the movie doesn't really feature any big names in it, besides Peter Falk himself. it really doesn't hurt the movie, since the actors portraying the main characters in this movie are obvious capable ones. Ross Martin plays a great role as the movie its murderer. It's quite a good character as well. A great match for Lieutenant Columbo.
Yet another greatly watchable Columbo TV-movie.
As with many TV film series (such as Perry Mason), if you like one or two of them then you'll pretty much like them all. This entry in the Columbo series pretty much follows the usual formula we know the killer and the "perfect" plan but then watch Columbo follow his hunch and gradually starts to pick holes in the story he is told before eventually finding enough to prove his suspicions. Saying this is not a spoiler it is simply what happens in all the films. Here we waste no time getting down to business and our victim is gone before the opening credits have finished rolling and it isn't long before Columbo is in there with his usual rambling prying. Fans will enjoy it because it does everything we expect from these films and does it well enough but it isn't one of the best Columbo films you'll see. The "chase" is good but not great fun because the material isn't there and, although the ending is well delivered, it is all a bit too convenient or even fortunate.
Falk is on good form as ever, playing his unassuming but sharp character with the crumpled confidence that he can now do in his sleep. Martin is pretty good in some scenes but he tends to get annoyed by Columbo as opposed to having a real chemistry with him or joining in the game he plays. Support is surprisingly stellar with roles for Don Ameche and Kim Hunter but as with all these things the film belongs to the two lead actors and they do well enough with the material to make the film work.
Overall this is an OK Columbo film but not one of the best. The crime is clever without being over elaborate but the "chase" isn't as good as in other films and the ending is satisfying but smacks more of good fortune rather than great detective work. Fans will still enjoy it because the formula is all in place and, while not brilliant, it is still about par for the Columbo series.
Columbo immediately suspects the victim's nephew , art critic Dale Kingston (Ross Martin.) He is after all thought to be the only living relative and sole heir.
However Kingston was at a party at the time, he is cocky, arrogant and has an alibi to fall back on. There is also the victim's ex-wife who seems to have incriminating evidence pointing towards her.
Columbo stories are never a whodunnit. We know who did it. It is a case of if they can get away with it.
I would love to have known why Columbo suspected KIngston in the first place. What struck me about this episode was how well Ross Martin acted here, he did a lot of a little things and made it look so easy.
The story is thin, and doesn't make much sense-why was the art student, for example, willing to participate in a killing? We're told it would further her career, but how? And Falk seems to be looking for his footing as Columbo, this early in the show's run. Still, if you're a big fan of the series, as am I, you'll enjoy this one.
Being on top of things as usual Columbo smells something foul in Dale's explanation about his chubbiness with Uncle Rudy since the two haven't been getting along with each other as of late. With Tracy later found dead at the bottom of a valley due to a car accident, that Dale staged for her, Columbo is soon on to him in knowing that Tracy was involved with him in a painting of her's later being found hanging in Dale's home.
It's when Uncle Rudy's will is finally read by family lawyer Frank Simpson, Don Ameche, which leaves Rudy's entire art collection to his ex-wife Edna, Kim Hunter, that it suddenly becomes clear to Columbo at least what was behind Rudy's murder! And why all the clues seem to lead straight to her! As it turned out Dale planted them in order to get her out of the way by having her convicted in Rudy's murder! Thus with a victim's killer not legally being entitled to his or her estate Dale can get his hands on Rudy's multi-million dollar art collection that his uncle kept him from getting!
***SPOILERS*** Columbo in getting the not so smart Dale Kingston,in underestimating Columbo's detective skills, to indite himself in Uncle Rudy's murder in fact left enough evidence to indite himself as well! This complicated move on Columbo's part completely flipped out the by then totally destroyed Dale who never in a million years expected that, Columbo's bumbling but extremely effective bait and switch trick, from happening!