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Dr. Bart Keppel has a very high opinion of himself. Notwithstanding that opinion, he is being fired by Vic Norris, so Bart plans a murder, constructing a perfect alibi for himself while building evidence against the victim's wife. He kills Vic while running commentary on a promotional short film; but, even in the most perfect planning, there are bound to be some failures, and you can be sure that Lt. Columbo will find them out. Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
Nine years after this episode aired, Robert Culp and Chuck McCann would appear together again in an episode of The Greatest American Hero titled "Captain Bellybuster and the Speed Factory." The interesting difference being that in the Columbo episode Culp's character Dr. Kepple kills McCann's character Roger White and in The Greatest American Hero episode, Culp's character Bill Maxwell's goal is to save the life of McCann's character Mickey aka Captain Bellybuster. See more »
Columbo had photos of himself shot to splice them into the 35mm movie print to lure out the murderer. The photos taken are 35mm slides (he shows them framed), and Columbo only states he had them processed and spliced into the film. When Columbo says "we had them processed last night" he means all of the following. We just don't see it. --> Those slides would have to be converted into 35mm cine film frames. 35mm cine film runs vertical as opposed to the horizontal stills camera film. The slides would have to be rotated 90 degrees and reduced in size, with edges chopped to fit into the standard 35mm full frame "academy" aspect ratio. (The movie shown was not wide-screen but rather "academy," similar to standard 16mm or Super8mm.) In the 1970s, test screenings used a mechanically linked soundtrack (either 35mm or 17.5mm with 35mm sprocket holes), as opposed to the final optical (or magnetical) soundtrack-on-film, so the soundtrack and in-sync wouldn't be affected by the splice as long as no frames are missing. This all takes place in LA where all kinds of specialized labs exist, but still, this is a very complex procedure involving highly specialized optical step printer facilities. Can't find those in a matter of hours, not even in LA. See more »
My wife's got no head for crime. We go to those whodunit movies, she always picks the wrong murderer. I wanna tell you something: If my wife decided to murder me, she could come up with a better alibi than you got.
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One year after Robert Culp appeared as the killer in the Columbo movie "Columbo: The Most Crucial Game" he returns once more to play the role of killer in this movie but in a totally different role this time of course. It was the third out of four Columbo movies he ever appeared in and I must say that he probably plays his best role in this movie. I don't any other actor besides Peter Falk appeared in so many different Columbo movies.
The movie itself is basically your average standard Columbo movie entry. No surprises and the movie stick to the usual successful formula. As a matter of fact I found the story to be even a bit tiresome at times since it reminded me a bit too much of other previous Columbo movies. Oh well, perhaps I've just seen a bit too many Columbo movies lately.
The story gets perhaps a bit too silly at times, especially toward its ending, which also makes this Columbo movie perhaps a bit more outdated than others. The story was written by Stephen J. Cannell, who is better known as the big man behind '80's hit-series "The A-Team".
It could be just me but I thought that this movie its atmosphere was perhaps also a bit darker than the usual Columbo movie. Nothing wrong with this though, it's just an observation. It can also have to do with the fact that the movie is mostly set indoors.
It's certainly the best Columbo movie that got directed by Richard Quine. It was his third and last Columbo movie he ever did. His first movie "Columbo: Dagger of the Mind" was perhaps the very worst Columbo movie ever made and his second "Columbo: Requiem for a Falling Star" was a below average entry. This movie is also lacking a certain style to make the movie more interesting than the average entry and is lacking too much in surprises to consider this one of the best Columbo movies.
Nevertheless, it's an obviously perfectly watchable one. Even though the story is formulaic it doesn't bore and is the reason why this movie is just as good to watch as any other standard Columbo movie.
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