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The studio rear projection cut-away car used here is a Lincoln Continental MK111, originally made for the 'Dean Martin' Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1968).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 »
In Jerry Parks's office Columbo looks at a picture of Marilyn Monroe and asks, "Did she personally sign this?" However the picture is not signed and neither is any of the other pictures in the room. 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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Good and watchable but the movie gives you the feeling it all could had been done better.
The movie is directed by Richard Quine, who simply isn't among one of the most talented directors who ever worked on a Columbo movie. Despite this he directed a total of 3 Columbo movies, so he must have done something right in the mind of the creators and studio bosses or he must have had friends in right places. To me it seemed that he didn't really understood the Columbo character right and often overdid things involving the famous character, mostly with his intelligence and perception of things. He also in some ways differ from the usual Columbo formula, which just isn't always for the good.
It isn't among the fastest going or best flowing Columbo movies but this is mostly being compensated by the acting and scenes with Anne Baxter and Kevin McCarthy. Both of them are a bit of forgotten stars, who also never reached true stardom but did their share of good movies and played some fine roles. It's mostly their movie, which also sort of means that Peter Falk is playing third violin in this one. This especially shows in the sequences when the three of them are together on screen. Another indication of that Richard Quine didn't really knew how to handle the character right (His car also looks dirtier than ever before by the way).
It features a good and quite non-formulaic Columbo murder-mystery story that however due to its treatment and pace just never really gets of the ground. Some minor script changes and a different director at the helm could had made this a true great and original Columbo movie entry! It features a story that is set in the world of Hollywood and movie-making and therefor also features some good egocentric characters who think they own the world and can get away with anything, even murder.
No it's really not one of the worst Columbo movies out there and it simply is just a bit below the usual Columbo movie standard in the long run and it's also definitely a big step up from Richard Quine's other Columbo movie "Columbo: Dagger of the Mind" but it still leaves you with the feeling that it all could had been done better, which makes this movie perhaps still somewhat disappointing to watch.
4 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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