Monday, June 24, 2024

Tonight's TV: Columbo (1974): "Publish or Perish," "Mind Over Mayhem" - A Kino Lorber Blu-ray Review

I think Season 3 of COLUMBO, available on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, might be the overall strongest season to this point.

"Publish or Perish," written by Peter S. Fischer and directed by TV great Robert Butler, was absolutely tremendous fun.

Jack Cassidy, the villain from the early episode "Murder By the Book," returns as a publisher who murders a famous writer planning to leave for another publishing company. Deliciously, the murdered author is played by Mickey Spillane!

The author's agent is played by Mariette Hartley, who wears a very "mod"-looking red hat in a lunch scene at Chasen's.

The episode was very well plotted and had one of the best "gotcha" climaxes I've yet seen. I really enjoyed it, start to finish.

The supporting cast included Jacques Aubuchon and Gregory Sierra.

Like the next episode, this was filmed by William Cronjager.

I also really enjoyed "Mind Over Mayhem," though it had its silly aspects, including a murder scheme which involved Robby the Robot (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

The episode was cowritten by Steven Bochco, Dean Hargrove, and Roland Kibbee, with a terrific cast including Jose Ferrer, Jessica Walter, Robert Walker Jr., and Lew Ayres.

I particularly liked that Ferrer, as the murderer, shows less obvious impatience with Columbo, at least much of the time; he's more subtle than some of the more flamboyant murderers Columbo tangles with, and their final scene sharing cigars reminded me of the ending of "Any Old Port in a Storm."

Walter brings a nice edginess to her role as the murder victim's much younger wife, and the odd-looking Walker fits right in to the crazy story, which was directed by actor-director Alf Kjellin.

The final Season 3 episodes promise to be just as interesting, with Ida Lupino and Johnny Cash in one and the marvelous Richard Kiley in the other.

This set has brought me great pleasure since I began watching a few months ago. A new set is coming from Kino Lorber next month, Columbo: The Return.

Previous COLUMBO review posts: "Murder By the Book" (1971), "Death Lends a Hand" (1971), "Dead Weight" (1971), "Suitable for Framing" (1971), "Lady in Waiting" (1971), "Short Fuse" (1972), "Blueprint for Murder" (1972), "Etude in Black" (1972), "The Greenhouse Jungle" (1972), "The Most Crucial Game" (1972), "Dagger of the Mind" (1972), "Requiem for a Falling Star" (1973), "A Stitch in Crime" (1973), "The Most Dangerous Match" (1973), "Double Shock" (1973), "Lovely But Lethal" (1973), "Any Old Port in a Storm" (1973), "Candidate for Crime" (1973), "Double Exposure" (1973).

Thanks to Kino Lorber for providing a review copy of this Blu-ray set.


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