Dr. Bart Keppel has a very high opinion of himself. Notwithstanding that opinion, he is being fired by Vic Norris, so Bart plans a murder, constructing a perfect alibi for himself while building evidence against the victim's wife. He kills Vic while running commentary on a promotional short film; but, even in the most perfect planning, there are bound to be some failures, and you can be sure that Lt. Columbo will find them out.Written by
Baldinotto da Pistoia
When Columbo first arrives on the scene, another detective informs him there are only two possible entry points for the murderer: the front door or the service entrance in the rear. Two scenes later, a different detective is talking to Dr. Kepple and tells him that this is a big building, there are dozens of ways for the killer to have gotten in. See more »
Dr. Bart Keppel:
[voiceover narration for motivational film]
Nothing can happen in this country until someone sells something. We are traditionally a nation of salesmen but, most importantly, we have advanced salesmanship to a creative art. It has been the ability of salesmen representing American products and capital around the globe that has made American business preeminent.
[as the speech continues via tape recorder, Dr. Keppel slips out, kills Vic Norris, and returns, picing up the speech many lines later]
Dr. Bart Keppel:
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One year after Robert Culp appeared as the killer in the Columbo movie "Columbo: The Most Crucial Game" he returns once more to play the role of killer in this movie but in a totally different role this time of course. It was the third out of four Columbo movies he ever appeared in and I must say that he probably plays his best role in this movie. I don't any other actor besides Peter Falk appeared in so many different Columbo movies.
The movie itself is basically your average standard Columbo movie entry. No surprises and the movie stick to the usual successful formula. As a matter of fact I found the story to be even a bit tiresome at times since it reminded me a bit too much of other previous Columbo movies. Oh well, perhaps I've just seen a bit too many Columbo movies lately.
The story gets perhaps a bit too silly at times, especially toward its ending, which also makes this Columbo movie perhaps a bit more outdated than others. The story was written by Stephen J. Cannell, who is better known as the big man behind '80's hit-series "The A-Team".
It could be just me but I thought that this movie its atmosphere was perhaps also a bit darker than the usual Columbo movie. Nothing wrong with this though, it's just an observation. It can also have to do with the fact that the movie is mostly set indoors.
It's certainly the best Columbo movie that got directed by Richard Quine. It was his third and last Columbo movie he ever did. His first movie "Columbo: Dagger of the Mind" was perhaps the very worst Columbo movie ever made and his second "Columbo: Requiem for a Falling Star" was a below average entry. This movie is also lacking a certain style to make the movie more interesting than the average entry and is lacking too much in surprises to consider this one of the best Columbo movies.
Nevertheless, it's an obviously perfectly watchable one. Even though the story is formulaic it doesn't bore and is the reason why this movie is just as good to watch as any other standard Columbo movie.
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