Faded movie actress Nora Chandler is being blackmailed by a gossip columnist, Jerry Parks. Parks is also romancing Chandler's secretary, who knows all the great star's secrets. Chandler in desperation blows up the columnist's car - but it turns out her secretary was the one driving. Lt. Columbo, one of Nora's biggest fans, is on the case.Written by
The studio rear projection cut-away car used here is a Lincoln Continental MK111, originally made for the 'Dean Martin' Matt Helm film The Wrecking Crew (1968). A complete car is driven by agent Matt Helm (Martin) in that film and the rear projection cut-away version has matching gold paint & brown top with red & brown interior. See more »
Exterior shots of Nora Chandler's bungalow, shot on the Universal back lot show the front door with brass colored hardware knobs. The Interior set front door hardware is dark brown in color and does not match. The brick wall right outside the front door of the bungalow is closer on the interior set and much farther from the front doors on the exterior shots. See more »
One of the few Columbo stories to successfully incorporate deviations to the usual formula
A Season 2 Columbo story that is primarily notable for it's success in straying slightly from the hitherto successful Columbo formula by installing a plot with twists relating to both motive and murder victim.
Anne Baxter gives a captivating, well-judged performance as a movie star in decline who realises that the blossoming relationship of her secretary and a persistent journalist could uncover her darkest secrets. Her deep-rooted desperation and selfish protectiveness are intriguingly conveyed in a story that is never quite what it seems: the viewer is not armed with all of the incriminating facts from the outset, so although it is not a who-dunnit, it is successfully sustained as a why-did-she-do-it.
Mel Ferrer also gives a decent performance as the journalist and his scenes with Baxter are consistently powerfully staged and purposefully developed.
There is a priceless scene too involving a cameo from real-life costume designer Edith Head, who gives Columbo a lavish tie from her rather vast wardrobe.
One other noteworthy and enjoyable sequence is when Columbo confronts the murderess near the end with the things that bothered him...
The script-writer Jackson Gillis expertly keeps things going at a startlingly frantic pace, and although the coincidence which helps Columbo solve the case is too coincidental, the strength in the plot, script and performances are too be admired, making this a little gem for the Columbo archives.
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