Columbo - The Complete First Season
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The entire first 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. In 'Murder by the Book', the talents of a bestselling writing duo are jeopardised when one tries to murder the other. In 'Death Lends a Hand', a top businessman hires a private detective to ascertain whether or not his wife is having an affair... but his plan backfires. In 'Dead Weight', a celebrated war hero becomes a murder suspect. 'Suitable for Framing' sees a multimillionaire art dealer cutting his art critic nephew out of his will - with deadly consequences. In 'Lady in Waiting', the younger sister of a rich corporation chairman loses her patience with him when he refuses to let her marry the man she loves. 'Short Fuse' sees a brilliant scientist plotting to murder his wayward uncle. Finally, in 'Blueprint for Murder', an architect hustles the wife of a rich Texan tycoon into funding an ambitious new multi-million dollar office complex - but when her husband returns, he is none too impressed...
TV detective fans rejoice: Peter Falk's rumpled and infallible Lt. Columbo joins the DVD precinct with a five-disc set that features the detective's first nine appearances for NBC. Though Falk as Columbo (no first name) made his TV debut in 1967, the detective had actually first appeared on an episode of the 1960-61 Chevy Mystery Show (Bert Freed played the role) written by veteran TV scribes Richard Levinson and William Link (The Fugitive, Alfred Hitchcock Presents). The pair turned the episode into a stage play titled Prescription: Murder, which was adapted into a TV movie in 1967 with Falk in the lead. NBC greenlit a two-hour Columbo pilot (Ransom for a Dead Man) in 1971, and the series was launched that fall as part of the NBC Sunday Mystery Movie, a rotating 90-minute program that alternated Columbo with episodes of MacMillan and Wife and McCloud (another Levinson/Link creation). Viewers were quickly won over by Falk's shrewd performance as he matched wits with a host of exceptional guest stars (including Gene Barry, Patrick McGoohan, and others), all of whom assumed that the disheveled detective would never figure out their "perfect crimes"; the popularity and quality of the original series allows Falk to continue to don the trenchcoat some 30 years later for occasional Columbo TV movies.
All seven 90-minute episodes of the 1971-72 debut season are included here, along with Prescription: Murder and Ransom for a Dead Man; unfortunately, as the lieutenant himself would say, "Oh, just one more thing"--no extras are included in the set, but having these fine TV mysteries in one set should be reward enough for armchair sleuths. --Paul GaitaSee all Product description
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If you like watching Columbo you will enjoy this boxset.
Pilot - Prescription: Murder
Pilot - Ransom For A Dead Man
Murder By The Book (Directed by Steven Spielberg)
Death Lends A Hand
Suitable For Framing
Lady In Waiting
Blueprint For Murder
Original Pilot TV-Movies
Original Mystery Movie Opening Title Sequence
Columbo - Season 1 (3xblu-ray)
Flipping the mystery genre on it's head by showing who did the murder and why at the very start of an episode even before the police show up shouldn't really work. At least one hundred years of books, plays, films and television had proven beyond a doubt that viewers and readers want that mystery, they want to solve it along with the detective, they want to guess who the murderer is and why it was done. and get that satisfaction of unmasking the culprit if possible in the drawing room by a roaring fire with all the unsuspecting suspects sipping drinks together.
Well it turns out that you don't need a mystery at all, show who did it, how and why it was done and then watch the police slowly find the culprit by ingenious detective work and cleverly finding the clues left behind by the bungling criminal. What you do need however is an actor who can pull it off and in Peter Falk you get precisely that.
Columbo himself with his shuffling, absent minded, slightly eccentric detecting style is of course a finely nuanced Oscar worthy act to put his quarry off guard, to lull his target into a false sense of security and to convince them that they are dealing with an idiot and someone who they can outwit with ease. There couldn't be anything further from the truth as in fact he is an extremely observant and intelligent man who doesn't miss a thing. His ability to think clearly and focus on the "little things" that bother him and stop him completing his report. The loose ends are of course just a way of giving him the time to solve the case and unmask the murderer which of course we already know.
Watching Columbo solve a murder case we already know the answer too is far more entertaining than it has any right to be. Falk's performance is always pitch perfect, however it has to be said that the character does change and grow a little in this series. To start he is quite polite and rather tidy, later on he becomes more wily and a little scruffier to perhaps hide that rapier like mind. His little idiosyncrasies, constantly in a trench coat, never having a pencil, always hungry, constantly chomping on a cigar, driving an ancient car, and of course always referring to Mrs Columbo (who we never meet) make for a character that is not only interesting but relatable. Poirot or Marple he most certainly is not.
The first episode after the two pilots, Murder by the Book was directed by a young unknown learning his craft called Steven Spielberg. Of the nine episodes there isn't a dud amongst them, but the best is probably the second Pilot called Ransom for a Dead Man. Appearing in an episode of Columbo became a career staple for many well known actors who went on to big things. Although not exactly A listers you will recognise many of the second leads, often playing the murderer.
Set on six disks in a nice box set this first series is superb value for money and I thoroughly enjoyed watching a classic character evolve over all nine episodes. Presented in 4-3 ratio, the DVD quality is what you would expect from seventies television shot on a fairly limited budget. However saying that it is the sublime writing and excellent performances from seasoned professionals are why you watch Columbo, not the quality of the sets etc. The seventies were not big on diversity or sexual politics, and some of the language (babe, doll etc) and what we would now call tropes do occasional raise an eyebrow, but it is what it is and if you can accept that then it is great TV.
Great television viewing.
stunning picture and sound quality the 3 blu ray disc set includes
both pilots prescription murder and ransom for a dead man.
screen aspect 4.3
great to see columbo in blu in blu ray one of the world s greatest TVs detectives of all time
Peter Faulk is so very good as Columbo, there's really been no other detective quite like him. His bumbling, apologetic façade masks a very thorough policeman who stops at nothing to catch the killer. His mannerisms are so perfect that watching the murderer fall into his trap is what makes Columbo such entertaining viewing.
The first season has some really gripping episodes and also features two pilot episodes as bonuses that are just brilliant. For an evening's entertainment you can't go wrong with a bit of Columbo!
My particular favourite episode is contained within this series, and is the first episode of the first series; Murder By The Book.
There are no extras on these DVD sets, but the picture and sound quality are vary good.