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The studio rear projection cut-away car used here is a Lincoln Continental MK111, originally made for the 'Dean Martin' Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1968).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 »
You understand, Miss Chandler, the only reason your poor secretary is dead is because somebody made a terrible mistake last night.
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One of the few Columbo stories to successfully incorporate deviations to the usual formula
A Season 2 Columbo story that is primarily notable for it's success in straying slightly from the hitherto successful Columbo formula by installing a plot with twists relating to both motive and murder victim.
Anne Baxter gives a captivating, well-judged performance as a movie star in decline who realises that the blossoming relationship of her secretary and a persistent journalist could uncover her darkest secrets. Her deep-rooted desperation and selfish protectiveness are intriguingly conveyed in a story that is never quite what it seems: the viewer is not armed with all of the incriminating facts from the outset, so although it is not a who-dunnit, it is successfully sustained as a why-did-she-do-it.
Mel Ferrer also gives a decent performance as the journalist and his scenes with Baxter are consistently powerfully staged and purposefully developed.
There is a priceless scene too involving a cameo from real-life costume designer Edith Head, who gives Columbo a lavish tie from her rather vast wardrobe.
One other noteworthy and enjoyable sequence is when Columbo confronts the murderess near the end with the things that bothered him...
The script-writer Jackson Gillis expertly keeps things going at a startlingly frantic pace, and although the coincidence which helps Columbo solve the case is too coincidental, the strength in the plot, script and performances are too be admired, making this a little gem for the Columbo archives.
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