Columbo: Season 4, Episode 3

By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 1,005 users  
Reviews: 26 user | 3 critic

The commandant of a military academy murders the chairman of the board, who wants to oust him. Lt. Columbo takes up residence in the barracks to expose the killer.

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Title: By Dawn's Early Light (27 Oct 1974)

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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
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Burr DeBenning ...
Madeleine Sherwood ...
Miss Brady (as Madeleine Thornton-Sherwood)
Tom Simcox ...
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Sergeant George Kramer (as Bruce Kirby Sr.)
Sidney Armus ...
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Karen Lamm ...
...
Cadet Morgan (as B. Kirby Jr.)
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Storyline

Colonel Lyle C. Rumford, the proud Commandant of a military academy, is incensed that William Haynes, the owner of the property, wants to turn it into a co-ed college. So, Rumford plots to kill Haynes with a back-firing cannon that Haynes is due to fire in a ceremony. Rumford arranges for the cannon to explode by blocking its discharge with a cleaning rag and thereby making the explosion seem an unfortunate accident caused by a clumsy attendant. Los Angeles Police Department's Lieutenant Columbo comes to the academy to investigate Haynes' death and instantly suspects that Rumford had something to do with the explosion, which Columbo believes was not accidental. Columbo unrelentingly seeks to prove that Rumford had motive and opportunity to rig the cannon. Written by Kevin McCorry <mmccorry@nb.sympatico.ca>

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27 October 1974 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only "Columbo" episode out of the four Patrick McGoohan appears in which he did not direct. See more »

Goofs

When Haynes walks into the Commandant's office, in the long shot, there is a solid red furled flag with white stars (it is unclear of whether or not it is a General Officer's flag which would also be in error) over the Commandant's left shoulder but in all other shots, this flag has been replaced with the California State Flag. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: ALL CADETS, REMAIN WHERE YOU ARE!
Col. Lyle C. Rumford: Lieutenant, what the hell's going on here?
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Soundtracks

The Thunderer
(uncredited)
Written by John Philip Sousa
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User Reviews

 
Just Fantastic!
1 November 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Just fantastic! Along with 'Any Old Port in a Storm' (Donald Plesance) this is in my opinion, one of the two best Columbo episodes ever made. The story is gripping from start to finish, the direction is tight, the script is full of wonderful moments, and the acting is superb as the two leads spark off one and other. Patrick McGoohan fully deserves the Emmy he won for his performance here.The characterisation is excellent too. Although it's impossible to condone murder, you can almost sympathise with McGoohan's character, such is the strength of his performance. He has no family and his military academy is his whole life. In a sense he loves it and would do anything to protect it; even kill a man who tries to, in effect, destroy it. The supporting players all put in enjoyable turns too and despite their short amount of screen time, play fully developed characters rather than just one dimensional cardboard cut-outs. I must have watched 'By Dawn's Early Light' a dozen times, and I will probably watch a dozen times more in the the future. What more can I say? Go and watch it!


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