Faded movie actress Nora Chandler is being blackmailed by a gossip columnist, Jerry Parks. Parks is also romancing Chandler's secretary, who knows all the great star's secrets. Chandler in desperation blows up the columnist's car - but it turns out her secretary was the one driving. Lt. Columbo, one of Nora's biggest fans, is on the case. Written by
The studio rear projection cut-away car used here is a Lincoln Continental MK111, originally made for the 'Dean Martin' Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1968). A complete car is driven by agent Matt Helm (Martin) in that film and the rear projection cut-away version has matching gold paint & brown top with red & brown interior. See more »
When Columbo first telephones his wife, the boom mic falls into view. See more »
Actors, Lieutenant. Take my advice - avoid actors. They'll kill ya.
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Frankly, when considering a "Columbo" plot revolving around a faded actress, the 1975 "Forgotten Lady," with Janet Leigh, is far more memorable than this exploration of 70s TV movie-making. The plot seems to borrow bits from various Hollywood sources, such as Shirley Temple and her bungalow at 20th Century Fox in the 30s, etc.
I always enjoy Anne Baxter's performances, but this comes across as a bit over-the-top. Granted, the script requires that she intentionally overact for Columbo, but at times, her supposed "natural" scenes are also a bit camp/vamp.
Even when this first aired in January, 1973, I knew who Edith Head was, and got a kick seeing her cameo.
Director Quine was also at the helm of my least-favorite episode, the one shown prior to this,"Dagger of the Mind." Both exhibit unnecessary scenery chewing, and stray from the formula that usually makes any "Columbo" episode a television classic.
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