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Columbo: Series 5 [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 12 Feb. 2007
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KJT7RS
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,529 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

The entire fifth series of investigations featuring Peter Falk's now-classic depiction of the trenchcoat-clad detective Columbo, who uses his humble ways and disingenuous demeanour to winkle out even the most well-concealed of crimes. Episodes are: 'Forgotten Lady', 'A Case of Immunity', 'Identity Crisis', 'A Matter of Honor', 'Now You See Him'and 'Last Salute to the Commodore'.


Over three decades since it was first broadcast, the evergreen Columbo’s fifth season finds Peter Falk’s infamous detective in very fine form. In fact, this is one of the seasons for which Falk walked away with a prestigious Emmy award for his portrayal of the title role. There are half-a-dozen episodes included across the discs in this Columbo set, and they attract a healthy selection of guest stars. Among the faces who turn up in the assorted mysteries are Patrick McGoohan, Janet Leigh and Robert Vaughn, while at one point a certain Steven Spielberg steps behind the camera to direct an episode.

But make no mistake, this always was, and continues to be here, Peter Falk’s show. He fits the role of Columbo like a proverbial glove, and some of the episodes featured in this fifth season are among the finest the show produced throughout its run. "Now You See Him", for instance, is a clever, intriguing piece of drama, involved a more mysterious than usual magician. And "Identity Crisis"--which also features Airplane’s Leslie Nielsen--is a lovely, twisty, spy-based episode.

It’s a pity that the extras on the Columbo DVDs are pretty much non-existent, because there’s a real and genuine joy in being reunited with the episodes themselves. Season five isn’t perfect, granted, but there’s nonetheless far more in the positive corner than the negative. Very warmly recommended. --Jon Foster

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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I don't know why people give season 5 of Columbo such a hard time. Ok, so there are no "classic" Columbo stories but there is plenty to enjoy.

The first story Forgotton Lady has a very mooving performance by Janet Leigh (Psycho)as an ageing broadway actress.

Next up is A Case Of Immunity which isnt one of the better Columbo stories. There is no real motive for the murder and the resolution of the case is abit of a cop out (no pun intended).

Identity Crisis is the best story in this season. Patrick McGoohan is superb as an ex spy. Watch out for his "be seeing you" straight out of The Prisoner. In real life he is a great friend of Peter Falk and they have alot of screen chemisty together. Leslie Neilson also appears. He was also in the Columbo episode Lady In Waiting.

A Matter Of Honor is not a great episode. Dispite a great performance by Ricardo Montalban the story is quite dull.

Now You See Him sees the rumpled detective pitted against a sinister magician with a dark secret played by Jack Cassidy who also appeared in the Columbo stories Murder By The Book and Publish Or Perish. Not a bad story.

The final story of the season is Last Salute Of The Commadore features Robert Vaughn who starred in Columbo Troubled Waters. In this story the person you think is the murderer gets bumped off half way through the episode. It's nice that the producers decided to try something different ie we now don't know who the killer is. This episode was directed by Patrick McGoohan.

So as I said dont be put off be negative reviews this is a great season and seasons 6 and 7 are still as good, if not better.
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I want to make one thing clear: this would have been a 5 star review, were it not for one thing... Last Salute To The Commodore. But we'll get to that later on. Let's focus on the positives first - they are, after all in the majority.

I am watching Columbo in order and have just finished season 5. By far, this season has the most diversity and the greatest variance in quality.

It starts out solid - Janet Leigh gives a stunning performance as a veteran actor of the MGM musical milieu. The episode is typical vintage Columbo, with higher than average acting and an ending that, while it deviates a little from the usual formula, is all the better for it and is certainly satisfying. Also the inclusion of footage of a young Janet Leigh in a lesser known musical is a fantastic touch.

Next up, A Case of Immunity. Often, when a T.V. show attempts an episode that rests heavily on characters and iconography of a different culture, it can seem a little disjointed from the rest of the series. As a viewer, if you like the show, you probably like it best when it has all the trappings you are used to (in the case of Columbo, Nouveau Riche mansion houses, men in suits and urban location footage). Familiarity breeds comfort. So, although this story was merely at an embassy, rather than another continent, it would have been easy for this episode to feel like a sort of 'Columbo goes on vacation' type story (see A Matter Of Honour). It doesn't. This is one of the best written, expertly paced and perfectly acted episodes, with just enough exotic imagery and cultural intrigue to give it a spice of variety. The political issues are also dealt with very well, which is nice to see in an older show.
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If Columbo's fourth season is arguably one of the best then unfortunately season five is possibly the worst - at least from the original seventies series.

Season five is Columbo's most uneven season in terms of quality where there can be found examples of Columbo at his very best ('A Matter Of Honour','Now You See Him'), his very worst ('Last Salute Of The Commodore') and stories somewhere in between ('Forgotten Lady', 'A Case Of Immunity').

It's also the first time the show's traditional formula has been tampered with as with 'Last Salute Of The Commodore' and the one of the few times a Columbo plot has been too complicated to follow as with 'Identity Crisis'.

Apart from the couple of stories i have singled out as my favourites i find a lethargy in many of these stories which gives me the impression the show perhaps needed to take a break. 'Forgotten Lady' for example isn't bad but it lacks the sharpness and focus that can be found with Columbo at his best and it's also a little overlong. Unfortunately this seems to be a problem that's all too common with this season.

Luckily Columbo did have a couple of more inspiring seasons left in its seventies run.

It's still a wothwhile purchase however.
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Being a Columbo fan from back in the day, I really enjoyed this DVD. Classic Columbo and so very watchable. Sad to see he's passed away. I'm not a fan of detective/crime series usually. However, he makes this series what it is and overrides my usual preferences. Having grown up watching Columbo the episodes hold fond familiar memories for me and I still don't tire of watching each one.

The deeper message of this apparently simple series is that of the great strength of the humble underestimated underdogs of society. I really admire that depiction of the kind of quiet-storm greatness in the title character.
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