Columbo: Season 3, Episode 1

Lovely But Lethal (23 Sep. 1973)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 874 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 4 critic

The formula for a miracle wrinkle cream leads the founder of a cosmetics company to murder. Lt. Columbo is on the case.

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Title: Lovely But Lethal (23 Sep 1973)

Lovely But Lethal (23 Sep 1973) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Viveca Scott
...
Karl Lessing
Sian Barbara Allen ...
Shirley Blaine
...
...
Ferdy
...
Jerry
Fred Draper ...
Murcheson
...
Lab Attendant
...
Sergeant
Richard Stahl ...
Burton (as Dick Stahl)
Marc Hannibal ...
Fingerprint Man
David Toma ...
Policeman
Layne Mathess ...
Fashion Moderator (as Layne Matthess)
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Storyline

Viveca Scott runs Beauty Mark, the cosmetics company whose products are in every woman's home. With sales dropping, she's counting on the miraculous new beauty cream created by her chief chemist to boost sales and overtake her rival, David Lang, but the chemist's assistant steals the formula. Scott attempts to negotiate with him but, in a rage, knocks him over the head with a heavy microscope, killing him. Her rival's secretary finds out and attempts to blackmail her, but the cosmetics queen's worst news is that the rumpled, redoubtable Lt. Columbo is on the case. Written by J. Spurlin

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23 September 1973 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film Psycho (1960) in which Vera Miles co-starred, the character Norman Bates gives the famous line "Why, she wouldn't even harm a fly". In this episode, the character Viveca Scott played by Ms. Miles gives the line to the ever inquisitive Detective Columbo "I didn't kill Karl Lessing. I couldn't kill a fly." See more »

Goofs

The case resolution centers around the fact that the murderer has a rash from poison ivy and that since there is no poison ivy in southern California she could have only gotten it from the victim. While it is true that poison ivy is not found there (the climate is too dry), poison oak is very common, and could have easily have been the source of the rash. This discrepancy was not addressed and he would not have had a probable cause to arrest her. See more »

Quotes

Karl Lessing: You still like those, uh, tequila cocktails with the organic cactus juice, right? I've always thought that was an appropriate drink for you.
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Connections

References Frankenstein (1931) See more »

Soundtracks

The Girl from Ipamnema
("Garota de Ipanema") (uncredited)
Music by Antonio Carlos Jobim (1962)
Portugese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes
English lyrics by Norman Gimbel
Toned down instrumental version played at fashion show
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User Reviews

 
Vera Miles makes this otherwise tepid "Columbo" mystery enjoyable
9 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Imagine, a harmless cream that can actually make wrinkles disappear! It's like alchemy! It's the dream of the centuries! It's what women have longed for since ancient Egypt!"

That clunky exposition gives you a good idea of what you can expect from this episode. Viveca Scott (Vera Miles) runs Beauty Mark, the cosmetics company whose products are in every woman's home. But sales are dropping, and she's counting on the miraculous new beauty cream created by her chief chemist (Fred Draper) to boost sales and overtake her rival David Lang (Vincent Price). Too bad the chemist's assistant (Martin Sheen) steals the formula. Scott attempts to negotiate with him, but in a rage knocks him over the head with a heavy microscope, killing him. Her rival's secretary (Sian Barbara Allen, in an engagingly quirky performance) finds out and attempts to blackmail her. What's the cosmetic queen's worst news? Our rumpled but brilliant detective, Lt. Columbo (Peter Falk), is on the case.

Jeannot Szwarc directs a contrived but entertaining script by Jackson Gillis based on a story by Myrna Bercovici. Szwarc does a workmanlike job, but I didn't care for the opening scene, unaccountably made to look and sound like a cheesy horror film. (Is this because Vincent Price is in the cast?) What makes this lesser "Columbo" episode enjoyable for any fan is Vera Miles, whose Viveca Scott is beautiful, chic, self-confident, imperious and condescending. She's the perfect foil for our cigar-chomping Columbo. Their scenes together are a hoot.


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