Columbo (1971–2003)
7.8/10
1,112
19 user 3 critic

How to Dial a Murder 

A behavioral psychologist whose wife died under suspicious circumstances trains his dogs to kill on command using a telephone.

Director:

Writers:

(teleplay by), (story by) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Edit

Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
...
...
Dr. Eric Mason
...
Joanne Nicholls
...
Dr. Charles Hunter
...
Dr. Ernie Garrison
...
Miss Cochran - the dog trainer
...
Officer Stein
...
Technician (as Fred J. Gordon)
Edit

Storyline

Dr. Eric Mason is a self-controlled man who teaches how to get control over one's own life. Six months earlier, his wife died suddenly in an inexplicable car accident. Now his best friend, Dr. Charles Hunter, dies when Eric's two Doberman pinschers, Laurel and Hardy, suddenly tear him apart in Eric's kitchen while Eric is away. Lt. Columbo love dogs and needs to figure out what happened before Laurel and Hardy are put down and Dr. Mason gets away with murder. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

5 April 1978 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The word "Rosebud", in reference to the sled in Citizen Kane (1941), is used as an important plot element in the episode. Kim Cattrall, who plays the girl who discovers the murder victim, made her film debut in the movie Rosebud (1975), where a yacht named after the same sled serves as the movie's setting. See more »

Goofs

When Dr. Charles Hunter is on the phone at the house saying "Rosebud," the boom mic shadow is very apparent, moving up and down on the wall above the telephone. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Columbo: Well, I guess, most people, they like to hear about their personalities, I mean, especially from an expert. Lord knows *I* do. I could sit and listen to someone talk about me for hours.
See more »

Connections

References You Can't Cheat an Honest Man (1939) See more »

Soundtracks

This Old Man
(uncredited)
Traditional English children's marching song
Whistled by Peter Falk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Williamson is good, but don't say 'Rosebud'.
4 January 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

British actor, Nicol Williamson, as the guest murderer, earns his transatlantic paycheck in this fine story. As always with Columbo, the culprit is rich, resourceful and highly intelligent, and Williamson's take on the character, a motivational psychologist, is detailed and meticulous. It may not be his finest screen performance (check out The Bofors Gun and Inadmissible Evidence), but he makes a worthy foil to Falk.

The story has some interesting cultural asides, such as L.A.'s burgeoning self-help craze of the 70's, and the cult of the movies, particularly Citizen Kane; something which proves to be both the killer's murder weapon and his eventual undoing.

The only let-down is the somewhat low-key ending. I would have preferred more of a flourish from both actors, but it wasn't really in the script for them.

Over all, it's an intelligent and interesting movie. Patrick Williams' ethereal/ominous music (woodwinds and low strings) is rather good, and which, once or twice, quotes a fragment of Bernie Herrmann's Psycho score; why? For the hell of it. And why not?


9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did Columbo really solve the murder in "A Stitch in Crime"? lawkel
Columbo's methods erikbeale
Camera in Negative Reaction cameron-whyte
Favorite multi-killer (actor)? MaggieMarlowe
Was getting divorced THAT big a deal? lorraine1232
Who did not deserve to be murdered? dinandwoesthof
Discuss How to Dial a Murder (1978) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?