Columbo (1971–2003)
7.6/10
1,884
33 user 9 critic

Ransom for a Dead Man 

A brilliant tort attorney gets rid of her boring husband by faking his kidnapping and keeping the ransom. The FBI may be fooled, but not Columbo.

Director:

Richard Irving

Writers:

Dean Hargrove (teleplay by), Richard Levinson (story by) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Edit

Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Falk ... Columbo
Lee Grant ... Leslie Williams
John Fink ... Michael Clark
Harold Gould ... Agent Carlson
Patricia Mattick Patricia Mattick ... Margaret Williams
Paul Carr ... Hammond
Jed Allan ... Phil
Charles Macaulay Charles Macaulay ... Richard
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... Attorney (as Henry Brandt)
Jean Byron ... Pat (as Jeane Byron)
Richard Roat ... Perkins
Norma Connolly Norma Connolly ... Celia
Harlan Warde ... Paul Williams
Bill Walker ... Crowell
Timothy Carey ... Bert
Edit

Storyline

Leslie Williams, a brilliant tort attorney is bored by her husband, a respected member of the state supreme court. After trading on his famous name to get ahead, she tries to get her freedom by murdering him and concocts a scheme to make it appear that he's been kidnapped and held for ransom. After she pays the ransom to herself, his dead body is found. She may have fooled the FBI but not Lt. Columbo, who is aided by her vengeful stepdaughter. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 March 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lösegeld für einen Toten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although Billy Goldenberg scored the opening "Columbo" stories in 1971, his commercially released "Columbo Theme" recorded as such by Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra ("Law Beat" album, Contour Records 2870 369) did not become a regular feature of the show. The theme is first heard during the helicopter sequence of "Ransom for a Dead Man" but Goldenberg did not use it as a title theme and composed mainly fresh music for "Murder by the Book" and all his subsequent scores. The "Columbo" series never had any recognizable theme tune of its own. See more »

Goofs

When the injured plaintiff is being examined on the witness stand, he is asked by his attorney about his injuries and he replies that he injured his back. Lee Grant objects on grounds that this is expert testimony that can only be given by a medical expert and the court sustains the objection. This is incorrect. A person can testify as to what part of his body he injured and where he feels pain. If the question asked was a technical one, such as what specific disc was injured,that question could only be answered by a medical expert. See more »

Quotes

Leslie Williams: [to Columbo as he attempts to fly] Keep the planes nose up. You have to treat the plane like a woman. You have to treat it gently. You have to treat her very gently.
See more »

Connections

References Casablanca (1942) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Good early Columbo murder mystery.
15 January 2008 | by Boba_Fett1138See all my reviews

The Columbo movies are all great murder mysteries to watch. Difference with most other serials/movies is that in a Columbo movie you always get to see the killing right in the beginning, which also means that you already know who is the killer. So all the Columbo movies show is how Lieutenant Columbo solves the crime, in his own unique way. This is an approach that always works surprising well and the movie also still leaves plenty of surprises, since you never know exactly how the killer came to its deed and what the motive was.

The movie gets of course carried by Peter Falk as the strange and quirky but of course clever and very observing Lieutenant Columbo. Though I liked the 'old man' Columbo better in the later TV movies. He pretends to be more stupid than he in fact of course truly is, in order to harmlessly gain trust from his suspects. It's a great character and basically the foremost reason why this Columbo TV movies are so popular and still great to watch after all those years. The Columbo movies were made in even 5 different decades, all with Peter Falk in the title role, which says something of its popularity and quality of the series, that just never seems to dry out. The series will probably won't ever stop until Peter Falk is no more. Acedemy Award winner and multiple nominee Lee Grant also plays a good role but most of the other actors in this movie seem like C-grade TV series actors. Especially Patricia Mattick was annoyingly bad and all her character ever did was moaning.

This movie is the second of two Columbo pilots. Strangely enough it was made 3 years after the first Columbo pilot "Prescription: Murder", as if the first pilot was not a total success but they still wanted to give it a chance, having faith in its potential.

It has a good story that drags a bit at points and the clues left out for Lieutenant Columbo are at times a bit too obvious but knows to keep your interest throughout. It has some interesting side-plots and developments but it doesn't ever allow things to fully develop in order to make it all fit into the time span of the movie. This also means on the other hand that the movie feels like it wrapped up too fast toward the ending.

The movie features some quirky '70's effects and trick but luckily enough it never really crosses the line. It's also a reason why this movie surely doesn't feel outdated and is actually now just still as good as ever to watch.

7/10

http://bobafett1138.blogspot.com/


7 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 33 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed