Columbo (1971–2003)
8.1/10
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31 user 5 critic

Any Old Port in a Storm 

A connoisseur running a California winery murders his younger half-brother to prevent him from selling the family business. Lt. Columbo is on the case.

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(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Joyce Jillson ...
Joan Stacey
Gary Conway ...
Enrico Guiseppe Carsini
...
Falcon
...
Karen Fielding
...
Maitre d'
...
The Drunk
...
Stein
...
Billy Fine
Regis Cordic ...
Lewis (as Regis J. Cordic)
Reid Smith ...
Andy Stevens
John McCann ...
Officer
...
Frenchman
Monte Landis ...
Steward (as Monty Landis)
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Storyline

Adrian Carsini is a fanatical wine connoisseur who operates an elite winery on the California coast. When Adrian's indifferent brother, who owns the winery property, threatens to sell it, Adrian bludgeons him in a fit of rage, then binds and places his brother in his air-tight wine vault while he travels to New York to attend a conference. Adrian disposes of the body on his return in such a way as to make his brother's demise look like a scuba diving accident, but Adrian hadn't reckoned on the canny Lieutenant Columbo from LAPD's Homicide Division (a cigar-smoking detective with many fetishes: a constantly referred-to but unseen wife, an old car, and a rumpled raincoat). In his usual patronizing manner, Columbo suspects Carsini almost immediately, befriending him while slyly searching for clues to link Carsini to the killing. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca> / edited by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

wine | scuba | winery | death | murder | See All (67) »


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Details

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Release Date:

7 October 1973 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Stanley Ralph Ross, he wrote the teleplay with Victor Buono in mind for the part of Adrian Carsini. See more »

Goofs

Ric dies while firmly hogtied, yet his autopsy does not reveal any rope marks on his wrists or ankles. With rigor mortis setting in six hours after death, and full rigor taking hold at twelve hours, Ric's four-days-old corpse would have stayed in the locked position of being hogtied rather than floated loose-limbed in the ocean. See more »

Quotes

Columbo: [Become dizzy after standing up] Oh, boy!
Adrian Carsini: You all right?
Columbo: I didn't realize I drank that much. Whatta ya call that stuff?
Adrian Carsini: Cabernet sauvignon.
Columbo: I usually don't drink anything I can't pronounce, but I can see I got a lot to learn. First thing I gotta learn is how to hold my cabernet sauvignon.
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Connections

References This Gun for Hire (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

This Old Man
(uncredited)
English children's folk song
Whistled by Peter Falk
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User Reviews

A vintage old port...
8 September 2004 | by (Port Talbot, South Wales,UK) – See all my reviews

An accomplished Columbo adventure with a well-written script that shrewdly fine-tunes the basic, well-established Columbo formula.

Donald Pleasence is magnificent as a wine fanatic who is horrified to learn that his impetuous and irresponsible brother (Gary Conway) is planning to sell off the family-owned vineyard. The sequence of increasingly antagonistic banter between the brothers, prior to the murder set-up, is powerful and ingenious. Pleasence renders Conway unconscious in a fit of rage in his office - does he immediately think of making it into a murder or does it become a gradual thought? In any case, the "eventual" murder is resourcefully constructed to be made to look like an accident; better than any other "made to look like an accident" scenario in the series.

Whilst there is not the typical plethora of circumstantial clues, the ones that are included are nicely inserted to achieve a decent impact.

The script-writer intriguingly develops the relationship between detective and murderer, as a mutual respect becomes apparent, especially as Columbo starts demonstrating his new-found knowledge on the subject of wine. Without contradicting myself, this is a remarkably positive element to the whole proceedings, given that my usual personal preference is for the Columbo-villain relationship to be more fractious.

Several later scenes uphold the high standard of the episode, primarily, when the murderer's grip over his secretary is "turned on it's head"; in the restaurant, when the murderer ironically complains about the over-heated wine; at the beach cliff-top, when the murderer is forced to throw away all of his wine from the cellar etc.

There is hardly a dull moment in this Columbo adventure; the pacing of the story is not frenetic, rather it is all executed in a calm, controlled manner which is symbolic of its subtleties.

It is one of Peter Falk's favourite episodes and one of mine - highly recommended viewing and an episode that would be great for newcomers to the series (if there are any) to watch, in order to endear themselves to the Columbo character.


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