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The studio rear projection cut-away car used here is a Lincoln Continental MK111, originally made for the 'Dean Martin' Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1969). 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 »
Oh, Lieutenant, I thought you wanted to use the phone.
Yeah, but I was just gonna call my wife and she's probably still talking, so...
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Anne Baxter against Mel Ferrer...with Columbo hovering close by
The Columbo DVD box sets are allowing me to savor these old episodes without commercials and with the ability to watch parts over again to see how clues are planted. As another comment also stated, this episode may not be the most cleverly plotted or most exciting, BUT it has the great Anne Baxter as a fading star who was married to a now-deceased studio head and is now pitted against a sleazy tell-all biographer, played by another great, Mel Ferrer. Baxter's assistant is having an affair with Ferrer. The assistant winds up dead, but switched cars with Ferrer at the last minute. So was Ferrer or the assistant the intended target? Columbo doesn't miss a beat as he investigates, and as in the best Columbo episodes every seemingly throw-away remark or observation later takes on great significance. And it's always fun to see the Columbo character star-struck around celebrities, asking the celebrity to call his brother-in-law on the phone and the like.
In addition to seeing Columbo "crack" the case, the viewer doesn't really understand the motivation for the crime until the final scene, which adds another level of excitement. With a supporting cast including Kevin McCarthy and Frank Converse, this is an episode you should definitely check out. Baxter and Ferrer bring such class to the show. And Falk is always perfect in this role...
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