Columbo: Season 6, Episode 2

Old Fashioned Murder (28 Nov. 1976)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 660 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 3 critic

The spinster head of a family run museum murders her brother when he threatens to dissolve the financially strapped institution.

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Title: Old Fashioned Murder (28 Nov 1976)

Old Fashioned Murder (28 Nov 1976) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview:
...
...
Ruth Lytton
...
Janie Brandt
...
Edward Lytton
...
Mrs. Brandt
Peter S. Feibleman ...
Milton Shaeffer
Jon Miller ...
Sgt. Miller
Jess Osuna ...
Dr. Tim Shaeffer
Anthony Holland ...
Darryl
Lucy Saroyan ...
Elise
Gary Krawford ...
Watch Salesman
Eloise Hardt ...
Maid
...
2nd Detective
Giles Douglas ...
Photographer
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Storyline

The Lytton family owns a museum. Ruth and Edward have devoted their life to the museum but things are not going well. So Edward has decided to sell it. Ruth doesn't agree and plans otherwise. She has a niece, Janie, whom she loves more than her mother does, and has hired Milton Schaffer, a petty thief who is the brother of her niece's lover. What scheme is in her mind? Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

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Release Date:

28 November 1976 (USA)  »

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(Technicolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The mansion that the Lyttons live in is the same one that Bruce Wayne lived in on the Batman TV series. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where Columbo and his sergeants are examining the dead body in the phone booth Columbo refers to one of the sergeants as "Carter". In the next scene where he is talking to Ruth Lytton in the same room, Columbo refers to the same sergeant as "Sergeant Shaw". Sergeant Carter/Shaw is played by Mike Lally. See more »

Quotes

Ruth Lytton: Lieutenant, you must never underestimate me or I you.
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Soundtracks

This Old Man
(uncredited)
English folk children's counting song.
Whistled by Peter Falk
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User Reviews

 
More nay than yea
12 May 2014 | by See all my reviews

It seems that Columbo fans are pretty evenly and clearly divided in their opinions of this episode, with some ranking it among the best and others among the worst. Without taking pleasure in joining the naysayers, I really must.

It's one of those leaden-footed episodes in which the writing and acting seem to grope for the qualities that usually add up to success in a Columbo piece -- and to grope halfheartedly, at that. The bellwether is the dialog given to Falk himself, which shows a fossilized second-hand understanding of Columboese. The other actors, too, seem to be reciting generic lines and loathing themselves for it. The usual sidelights -- the highly individualized young partner, the comical misadventures in the course of the investigation, and so on -- fall flat in slow motion.

Tim O'Connor, who was a competent actor, must have been badly directed here. He speaks in a clipped half-British accent that's probably intended to suggest a refined fussbudget but only suggests the hazy notions of characterization found in amateur theatricals. It also clashes with the accents of the other members of the character's family, each of which is unique. Joyce Van Patten speaks in a whiny all-American twang (hold the culture war, folks, I'm from a whiny part of the US myself). Jeannie Berlin sounds thoroughly street-smart. Celeste Holm, who comes closest to sounding as if she might be related to O'Connor's character, nails Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. Indeed, Holm's deliberately silly performance is the best thing about this inadvertently silly episode.

There is a temptation to call "Old Fashioned Murder" soap opera, with its dim atmosphere and its emotionally drowning central character (and with O'Connor in the cast), but that would be a slight to a genre that is often well done in its way. This is just a casual swing through soap opera territory.


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