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Prescription: Murder (1968)

A psychiatrist uses a patient he is having an affair with to help him kill his wife, but his perfect alibi may come apart at the hands of a seemingly befuddled LAPD lieutenant.

Director:

Richard Irving

Writers:

Richard Levinson (teleplay), William Link (teleplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,326 ( 1,419)

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter Falk ... Lt. Columbo
Gene Barry ... Dr. Ray Flemming
Katherine Justice ... Joan Hudson
William Windom ... Burt Gordon
Nina Foch ... Carol Flemming
Virginia Gregg ... Miss Petrie
Andrea King ... Cynthia Gordon
Susanne Benton ... The Blonde
Ena Hartman Ena Hartman ... Nurse
Sherry Boucher Sherry Boucher ... Air Hostess
Anthony James ... Tommy
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Storyline

A psychiatrist who is married, is having an affair. His wife threatens to divorce him and take him to the cleaners if she ever catches him. So along with his mistress he plans to kill her and make it seem like she was killed by an intruder. He goes out of town as part of his plan and returns to find the police there investigating and the man investigating is Lt. Columbo. Columbo is a little odd and he asks the man some questions that he finds intrusive. Columbo continues to question him and the man's friend an ADA warns Columbo to watch his step. But Columbo goes on. Written by rcs0411@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The pilot episode of television's most popular detective. See more »


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 February 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prescription: Murder See more »

Filming Locations:

Acapulco, Mexico See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The role of Lt. Columbo was offered to Lee J. Cobb, but he had to decline due to a clash in scheduling. See more »

Goofs

During the "session" with Columbo, the doctor is gesturing with his drink. Toward the end of talking about his hypothetical murderer, he slops his drink a couple times, but ignores it and carries on. See more »

Quotes

Burt Gordon: I don't think I have to remind you that this could be... quite the little feather in your cap. Wrap it up and everybody's happy. Lieutenant?
Lt. Columbo: Um, yeah, I'm sorry. I was, uh, I was just thinking about something.
Burt Gordon: What was that?
Lt. Columbo: No, it's nothing important. It's, uh, Dr. Flemming, he didn't call to his wife when he came back to his apartment.
Burt Gordon: I don't follow you.
Lt. Columbo: Oh, well, I was in the bedroom. I was checking some things, and I heard him open the front door, and he didn't say anything, and... gee, ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The beginning credits feature a series of brightly colored animated splotches. The splotches were meant to resemble the ink blots used in a Rorschach test, as the villain in this movie was a psychiatrist. See more »

Connections

Remake of The Chevy Mystery Show: Enough Rope (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A prescription for future success!!

A baby-faced Peter Falk makes his first appearance in this 1967 TV movie as the world-famous detective Columbo, which was followed 4 years later by another TV movie and an exceptionally successful TV series.

An excellent, well-paced, cleverly-crafted mystery which spends a lot of time establishing and developing Columbo's characterisation - the dogged determination and persistence through seemingly trivial questions; the display of deceptive absent-mindedness and ineptitude; the constant references to his family etc. are all underpinned by the cigar, the mac and the generally scruffy appearance (although his overall appearance here is rather more tidy).

Undeniably, in hindsight, Columbo characterisation and Falk's performance is a little raw here, for it would take a little more time to fine-tune both things: nevertheless, Falk still does a great job with the complexities of the character and gives a smooth, unruffled performance.

The plot is purposely straightforward and relatively thin and there are not the plethora of accompanying clues and trivial pieces of evidence that invigorate the vintage episodes of the series, but you have to remember that this TV movies was the platform for the Columbo character.

Gene Barry gives a fine performance as the murderer: he certainly relishes his role; effortlessly displaying his character's cold-heartedness, self-confidence and smugness in equal proportions. His scenes with Falk have a marked air of tension about them, as Barry's character progressively shows disdain and arrogance towards the protagonist.

The ending is clever, especially as the murderer continually thinks that he has got away with his crime; the way Columbo unmasks him is superbly ironical.

The only problem watching this film is that most people encountered the Columbo TV series, prior to watching the "introductory" TV movies, so it can be a little unnerving, yet, on its own account, it's a very accomplished piece of work. Furthermore, the best detective to hit our TV screens was born!


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