IMDb > "Columbo" Short Fuse (1972)

"Columbo" Short Fuse (1972)

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Jackson Gillis (teleplay by)
Lester Pine (story) ...
View company contact information for Short Fuse on IMDbPro.
TV Series:
Original Air Date:
19 January 1972 (Season 1, Episode 6)
Pressured to give up his birthright, a chemical company heir enacts a clever plan to get rid of his blackmailing uncle and take over the family business. But Lt. Columbo suspects the man's death was not just a tragic accident. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
I liked the story and style, too bad about the main character, next to Lt. Columbo. See more (19 total) »


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

Peter Falk ... Columbo

Roddy McDowall ... Roger Stanford

Anne Francis ... Valerie Bishop

James Gregory ... David L. Buckner

Ida Lupino ... Doris Buckner

William Windom ... Everett Logan
Steve Gravers ... Sergeant
Lawrence Cook ... Quincy [Murphy in credits]
Rosalind Miles ... Nancy
Lew Brown ... Farrell
Jason Wingreen ... Policeman
Eddie Quillan ... Ferguson

Stuart Nisbet ... Pinstripe
Annette Molen ... Girl
Jim Neumarker ... Plainclothesman
George Sawaya ... Man
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mike Lally ... Tram Operator (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Edward M. Abroms 
Writing credits
Jackson Gillis (teleplay by)

Lester Pine (story by) &
Tina Pine (story by) and
Jackson Gillis (story by)

Richard Levinson (created by) &
William Link (created by)

Produced by
Richard Levinson .... producer
William Link .... producer
Robert F. O'Neill .... associate producer
Everett Chambers .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Gil Melle  (as Gil Mellé)
Cinematography by
Harry L. Wolf (director of photography) (as Harry Wolf)
Film Editing by
John Kaufman  (as John Kaufman Jr.)
Art Direction by
Archie J. Bacon  (as Arch Bacon)
Set Decoration by
Charles S. Thompson (set decorations)
Production Management
Henry Kline .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Kevin Donnelly .... assistant director
Sound Department
Melvin M. Metcalfe Sr. .... sound
Visual Effects by
Albert Whitlock .... special photographic effects
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Burton Miller .... costumes
Editorial Department
Richard Belding .... editorial supervisor
Music Department
Henry Mancini .... composer: Mystery Movie theme
Other crew
Steven Bochco .... story editor
Wayne Fitzgerald .... main title design
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
75 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-7 (2004) | UK:U (video rating) (2004)

Did You Know?

Roddy McDowell is the only actor to be arrested by both Columbo and Batman (Bookworm).See more »
Continuity: Just before the buzzer sounds when Roger sits in his deceased uncle's chair, his left finger is on his upper lip while his thumb is on his cheek. When the camera changes, his finger is on his chin and his thumb hangs below it.See more »
Roger Stanford:[annoyed] Lieutenant, you take an inordinate length of time to come to the point.See more »


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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
I liked the story and style, too bad about the main character, next to Lt. Columbo., 1 March 2008
Author: Boba_Fett1138 from Groningen, The Netherlands

This is a rather good Columbo TV movie, that only has one problem; the character of that of the murderer.

The movie has a great constantly present '70's style, that is mostly notable in its fast editing style but also really in its overall visual style, camera handling and general way of directing and storytelling. It's really great and provides the movie with a true great style, that also really helps to make this movie a good and enjoyable one to watch. Quite hard to believe that this was Edward M. Abroms' directorial debut. He also directed one more Columbo movie after this in 1973; "Columbo: The Most Dangerous Match". Too bad he always stayed stuck to TV work, though he did some big work as an editor, on movies such as "The Sugarland Express", "Blue Thunder" and "Street Fighter", as well as 4 Columbo movies (but not this one), of which 3 got made before this movie.

The movie has a fine solid cast with also some well known names in it, such as Roddy McDowall as the movie its killer. McDowall is perhaps still best known for his various roles in the Planet of the Apes movies, as yes an ape. But yes also Anne Francis is quite a name from the old days and so is Ida Lupino, a star mostly known from the '40's. McDowall is perhaps not the most likable one, which forms a bit of a problem for the movie. Of course murderers are never among the most sympathetic characters but in Columbo movies you still still need to have a certain sympathy and somewhat have to like them to create an interest in the character, not in the least because, next to Columbo, they are the main character of the movie and have more screen time than anyone else.

The movie its story differs from most other Columbo movies because the movie at first isn't about a murder when Columbo is first brought in to investigate the case but about the missing of a person. Columbo however of course soon starts to expect more is going on, due to Roger Stanford's suspicious behavior. Like always, the Lieutenant tries to capture him in his own web of lies, by playing dumber than he of course in fact really is.

It's a real fast going movie and it's over again before you know it. Perhaps the movie is so fast because it basically all of the time features both Lt. Columbo and the murderer Roger Stanford together in a scene, which assures that the story never strays away and the movie does not feature any distracting plot-lines or too overly present different characters. The ending is also really good and actually among one of the better Columbo endings.

A good Columbo movie that could had been great with a better McDowall character.


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