Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Forgotten TV: COLUMBO: Etude in Black




My favorite episode of COLUMBO was from Season 2, the first episode: ETUDE IN BLACK.
John Cassavetes plays a conductor having an affair with a pianist. When the woman threatens to expose it, he needs to get rid of her to keep his wealthy wife (Blythe Danner) and her family supporting him.Cassvetes made a great villain as we found out a few years earlier in ROSEMARY'S BABY. He died too young.

What is your favorite episode? 


16 comments:

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Now this is an interesting one because it exists in two version - as shot it was a 90 minute episode but extra scenes were added to make it a 2-hour premiere. I much prefer the 90-minute version, which you can now get on Blu-ray (it apparently aired that way in Canada at the time). I love the show too much to pick just one and did a long post on my favourites over at Fedora:

https://bloodymurder.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/columbo-2010-by-william-link/

But if you made me I might pick DEATH LENDS A HAND with its amazing performance by Robert Culp and terrific script by Levinson and Link

pattinase (abbott) said...

Was he some sort of gym guru? I have to look it up.

Mike Doran said...

Fun Facts:

- Gwyneth Paltrow likes to say that this COLUMBO was her "screen debut" - albeit in utero (Blythe Danner had just gotten the word from her ob/gyn at the start of filming).

- the Bob Culp episode (the first of four for him) had him as a high-tech private eye who was blackmailing his clients; one of these resisted, and there was the show.

- The "gym guru" was Robert Conrad (type-casting).

- My all-time favorite was "Suitable For Framing", with Ross Martin as a hoity-toity art critic.
Mainly for the slam-bang ending, the best one they ever came up with (thanks to writer Jackson Gillis).
(Sidelight: Martin's accomplice was an actress named Rosanna Huffman - Mrs. Richard Levinson (but that was probably just a coincidence...)).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks for the great info,
Mike!

Joanne Walpole said...

Funny this should come up. I'm currently working my way through the Columbo complete box set and was actually watching when I noticed this post. I love Columbo. Peter Falk was a fine actor. I'm up to series 6 at the moment.

Richard Robinson said...

I don't know how people know the episode name on these things. Seems when I watch - and I watched few - they just say the name of the show and it starts.

Al Tucher said...

Any episode with Patrick McGoohan. Nobody did arrogance better.

I always wondered why the various cable channels showed the same dozen episodes, until I had the chance to see an unfamiliar one, with Dabney Coleman as the bad guy. It was transcendently dreadful, and I wonder how many of them are as bad.

pattinase (abbott) said...

It did fall off considerably in the later years, Al. We stopped watching it.
A lot of websites list TV episodes by name, stars, year. Not too hard to track it down. Peter Falk was great in movies too, Joanne.

George said...

I loved "Any Old Port in a Storm" from Season Three, Episode 2. Columbo uses the knowledge of wine against the killer. Very clever

TracyK said...

My husband mentioned the very first one with Gene Barry, but also liked episodes with Jack Cassidy or Robert Culp or Patrick McGoohan, who all active in multiple episodes. My favorite is the one with Jack Cassidy and Martin Milner: "Murder by the Book."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Was Cassidy a ventriloquist or a magician?

TracyK said...

In "Murder by the Book", he was one half of a writing team. He was an "illusionist" in another one titled "Now You See Him" and I don't remember that one at all. I will have to go dig it out.

Cap'n Bob said...

I didn't see many after the first season, but here's a bit of trivia--a trivium if you will. My first job after the Army was at a tag and label print shop in Ossining, NY. Each day I had to walk by Falk's clothing store. Peter Falk's parents owned it.

J F Norris said...

I liked the episode with Ruth Gordon as the mystery writer who commits a revenge murder. She locked someone in a safe. Also, Leonard Nimoy as the murdering surgeon because 1. He was thoroughly detestable and 2. I learned about dissolving sutures which I thought was an utterly fascinating medical concept.

Richard, I bet many people either have the DVDs to refer to or look them up on the internet.

Todd Mason said...

I might still like the same Donald Pleasance episode George cites the best, though MacGoohan was always the best villain. "Port" was written by Stanley Ralph Ross (teleplay by) and Larry Cohen (story) according to IMDb: an oddly campy, if dynamic, duo...

Todd Mason said...

Or even McGoohan...