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Reviews & Ratings for
"Columbo" Suitable for Framing (1971)

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

The Best Columbo Ending of All Time

Author: Mark C. Robinson from Takoma Park, MD
5 July 2007

Seeing Ross Martin duel with Columbo is a treat. Whereas his best-known character, Artemis Gordon from "The Wild Wild West," was laid-back and mischievous, his portrayal of art critic Dale Kingston embodies the worst traits of a professional critic: cold, calculating, and arrogant. He makes the perfect antagonist for the rumpled detective. Kingston appears to cover all his bases, manipulating everyone (but Columbo) for his own ends, whether through seduction, simpering, or browbeating. For awhile, he even stymies the great detective. But in the end, he is shocked to discover that Columbo has been one step ahead of him, besting the art critic with what has to be the most unexpected piece of evidence in a surprise ending! I never tire of watching this episode!

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Columbo in the world of art

Author: Petri Pelkonen ( from Finland
9 July 2008

Dale Kingston (Ross Martin), a famed art critic kills his uncle for his notable collection of paintings.And so enters Lt.Columbo the scene smoking cigars and asking questions.Columbo:Suitable for Framing (1971) is another great installment to the Columbo series.There was always a great deal of humor there.It's quite funny when that lady is showing him all those photos and he's anxious of seeing just one.Peter Falk is really one of the kind and the only one that could play this character.Ross Martin makes a great villain.Kim Hunter plays the victim's ex-wife Edna Matthews.The legendary Don Ameche is Frank Simpson.I had fun, once again, watching Columbo solving the crime.Columbo never lets me down.

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14 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of my Faves

Author: tagehri from United States
12 September 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One of my favorite Columbo movies for many, many reasons--a well-executed crime with seemingly no trail to follow, an exasperated suspect, and one of the best of all "Columboisms" you'll find in the series.

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.

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Yet Another Classic

Author: stubbers from Essex
2 March 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The murder in "Suitable For Framing" must be one of the earliest to occur in all the Columbo films. No lengthy build-ups here, just a short burst of piano music interrupted within seconds by a gunshot. I always remember this episode and its startling introduction from years ago, and it's probably the one I've seen most of all.

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.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

What a great ending!

Author: TheLittleSongbird from United Kingdom
7 March 2012

I have said many times that I love Columbo, and while Suitable for Framing is not one of my favourites of the series, there are so many things to love about it. I do agree that there is the odd noticeable continuity error such as with the paintings and the fruit bowl, but they weren't so frequent to distract myself from watching a highly entertaining episode. The locations and fashions are striking, once you get past Dale Kingston's over-sized bow tie, and Suitable for Framing is slickly edited mostly, and the music is fitting with the setting and adds to the mood. The story is very clever, with one of my favourite endings of any of the Columbo episodes because of Falk's facial expression that speaks so many words without saying anything and there is quite a bit of tension here as well, and the episode is tightly written, with a perfect balance of the humorous and the intense. Peter Falk is brilliant as always, and Ross Martin's short-tempered and disdainful Kingston really contrasts well with Columbo. Don Ameche was a fine actor, and a pleasure to see here, and Kim Hunter is also good. All in all, a great Columbo with a great ending. 9/10 Bethany Cox

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

very entertaining

Author: stones78 from United States
4 June 2010

This early season episode has an interesting twist about an art critic who murders his wealthy uncle in order to inherit an elaborate art collection, with the help of a young art student. Ross Martin portrays the snobbish nephew who devised the murderous scheme, and is questioned a few times by Columbo. Martin and Peter Falk have great chemistry, and I believe they were acquaintances many years ago as young actors, and you can tell they're both comfortable with each other in this segment also. Many familiar faces are present, like Don Ameche, Vic Tayback, and Kim Hunter and all add certain flavor in this episode as different, somewhat flamboyant characters. To me, Martin makes this episode shine, and it's especially amusing the way he knows that Columbo is after him, even though the detective plays coy as usual. Watch for some pretentious art types, and strange paintings as well.

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.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Aunt Edna and Lt. Columbo — separated at birth?

Author: Paul Hughes
15 March 2013

Dale Kingston murders his uncle Rudy, because he's learned he won't inherit the old man's art collection. He tries to pin the murder on dear, dotty, delightful Aunt Edna, divorced many years earlier from Rudy. There are complications eventually — including from the girl who helps him with the hit on Rudy.

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.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Gut Instinct

Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
5 August 2012

A nice cast is the prime attraction for this Columbo episode where a noted art critic murders his uncle in order to inherit his art collection. Ross Martin plays the critic who is one of the least sympathetic villains ever in a Columbo feature.

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.

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11 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Simplistic but entertaining Columbo adventure

Author: The Welsh Raging Bull ( from Port Talbot, South Wales, UK
14 February 2005

A very brisk, hastily edited and somewhat more simplistic Columbo that we've become accustomed to: some scenes have untidy editing or continuity errors in them (the pictures that are on or off the wall after the murder; the scene where the murderer does up his tie in the make-up chair; and the removal of the fruit bowl off the table near the end of the film, which results in one piece of fruit falling on the floor etc.).

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.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

early Columbo episode delivers

Author: bcstoneb444 from United States
15 December 2014

This early Columbo is a good one, mostly for the chemistry between Peter Falk and villain Ross Martin. Martin is deliciously cast as a pompous art critic. Indeed Dale Kingston is an arrogant sort even by the standards of Columbo murderers. And the interplay between Falk and Martin is superb throughout. Mary Wickes and Vic Tayback contribute nice cameos. And Don Ameche is fine as the well-meaning family attorney. And how about that blonde, nude (alas, strategically covered-up) model? I may be in the minority in that I felt the ending, while satisfying in a poetic justice sort of way, was a little too abrupt. Also the Kim Hunter characterization as the ditsy ex-wife didn't work for me. Small criticisms, however, in a most enjoyable offering.

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