Lillian Stanhope and Nicholas Frame are two famed actors in London, a venerated husband and wife team set to act in 'Macbeth'. Producer Sir Roger Haversham had been Lillian's lover but finds out he has been deceived by the couple and is ab out to cancel their widely anticipated and lucrative engagement. During a dressing room brawl between the three, Haversham is accidentally killed when he is hit in the head by a projectile thrown by Stanhope. As Haversham had not been seen by any of the cast or crew before he entered the couple's dressing room, the couple decide to hide his body and later take the corpse to his mansion and stage his "accidental" death. However, Lt. Columbo, in London to learn about new investigation methods used by Scotland Yard, smells something fishy in this supposed accident.Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
Frame and Stanhope are performing "Macbeth" at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre, a Grade II listed building in London's Sloane Square. See more »
At about 80 minutes, Durk is telling Colombo that Sherlock Holmes was perhaps their (Scotland Yard's) most famous detective. This is false for two reasons. First, Holmes was fictional, and Durk would of course know that. Second, in Sor Arthur Conan Doyle's mysteries, Holmes was never in Scotland Yard. He operated independently. See more »
A tepid "Columbo" effort featuring a shallow view of Londoners, weak comedy relief and a pair of cartoonish murderers
Richard Basehart and Honor Blackman are Nicholas Frame and Lilian Stanhope, a famous husband-and-wife acting team about to do "Macbeth." Just before dress rehearsal, Sir Roger Haversham (John Williams), the impresario behind this production, discovers they have tricked him – Lilian has seduced him for his money and Nicholas put her up to it. He secretly visits her dressing room to tell her the show is off. Nicholas joins them, and the three wind up in a scuffle that ends when Lilian hits Sir Roger on the head with a cold cream jar, accidentally killing him. They move Sir Roger's body back to his home and make it look as if he fell down a flight of stairs. Too bad for them our rumpled Lt. Columbo, visiting London as a guest of Scotland Yard, brings his sharp eye to this case.
Some English IMDb posters have already noted that this is a shallow and condescending view of Londoners, and I believe them. Nothing about this episode rings true, and the plot is thin stuff.
Basehart and Blackman have no trouble playing affected stars, but their roles are caricatures of actors, not real people. There's no fun in watching Columbo play cat-and-mouse with a couple of cartoons. In fact, this episode starts going badly the moment he enters the scene. We first see him bumbling and inadvertently creating havoc at the airport, a would-be comic sequence that falls flat. Columbo is funny only when his seeming ineptitude causes his quarry to underestimate him. Whenever the writers have him clowning like this, you wonder if they underestimate him, too. They even having him stumbling through crowds, trying to take pictures of all the London landmarks. For all these scenes add to the story, the producers might have scrapped the location shooting and spent the money on a better script.
This whole thing just feels like a cheap imitation of an English murder mystery down to the unsatisfying conclusion at a wax museum. If Basehart and Blackman weren't having such obvious fun with their roles (they even get to play a little Shakespeare), this would be a complete bore. Columbo may be a fish out of water in England, but so is "Columbo."
MISCELLANY. This is the second episode so far to feature an unpremeditated murder. The first was in "Death Lends a Hand."
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