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Favorite Dramatic Scenes

In a previous post I listed several scenes which were visually interesting. In this post I wanted to focus on those scenes where the acting took over - either due to a superb script, superior acting or a combination of both. In these cases you can see why people get excited about acting, as there is a chance - if circumstances come together - for the movie to affect you.

(1) "Prescription: Murder" - I've always enjoyed the scene in Dr. Fleming's office when Fleming (Gene Barry - who was excellent as the murderer "oriented by his mind") shares a drink with Columbo (played in a fantastically minimalist style by Falk)and discuss the "hypothetical murderer". This scene, coupled with the one right after it where Columbo interrogates Fleming's accomplice, Joan Hudson (Katherine Justice), definitely set the series up for success and established a the high level of drama which set "Columbo" apart from many other TV shows. Falk's reactions to Barry analyzing him to a "T" and the interaction where Columbo tells Fleming that killers get just one chance and "we, well, we do this a hundred times a year." Very revealing about his character.

(2) "By Dawn's Early Light" - the scene in Col. Rumford's office where Rumford (Patrick McGoohan) and Columbo discuss gardens and how Columbo wears, "I guess you can call that a uniform." Terrific insight into the murderer's character and so well played by both men.

(3) "The Bye Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case" - the scene where Columbo and Oliver Brandt discuss themselves; Columbo talking about having to work harder than everyone else to "maybe make it work" and Brandt talking about the pain of being a smart child. Theodore Bikel was wonderful in this part and this scene especially.

(4) "Forgotten Lady" - any of the scene with Columbo and Ned Diamond (John Payne), but especially the final moments while they are watching the film together and Diamond confesses to the crime. Diamond's line, "It might take a few months" and Falk's reaction are great.

(5) "Any Old Port in a Storm" - the final scene where Adrian Carsini (Donald Pleasence) is in Columbo's car and asks what will happen to his winery. "It'll go on, sir". And of course, Columbo offering him the wine and Carsini complementing him on his quick learning - "the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me".

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

I'm going to have to add:

REQUIEM FOR A FALLING STAR: The final scene when Nora is explaining to Columbo why she killed not only Jean, but her husband as well. You can see that she was a young actress who was probably seduced by an older man in order to get a part in a movie and ended up thinking that she was in love (and probably was) with him only to witness him do the exact same thing with a different woman looking for a movie role. It all harkens back to the "famous" Hollywood casting couch from the early days of movies and has apparently continued through to today, as seen with the Harvey Weinstein revelations.

SWAN SONG: The final scene in the car where Tommy admits that he would have confessed sooner or later and asks Columbo if he's scared of being alone with a killer and Columbo turns the radio on (with impeccable timing) and tells Tommy, "Anybody that can sing like that, can't be all bad."

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

RANSOM FOR A DEAD MAN. Specifically when Columbo tells mrs. William's that she has no conscience. She was all about the money. And of course getting rid of her husband.

When Columbo was talking to the messenger from the mob. Gionellis errand boy. And at the end he says to Columbo good job Lieutenant, the People Back Home are going to be very happy. And then he offers Columbo his card for the second time and Columbo refuses it politely. By the way that was the final scene ever shot in a Columbo episode

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

That last post was by Fred, not frex I can't believe I miss typed my own name what a dunce

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

How about in an Exercise in Fatality when Columbo and Milo are in the hospital waiting room and Columbo asks for a light. That was certainly a turning point in the episode.

How about in a Friend in Deed when Columbo and the other cops are is in his apartment and he tells Mark Halperin that he believes he killed his wife….. The look he gave Halperin was classic…. To look your boss in the eye and state emphatically that you believe he’s guilty takes guts

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

I enjoyed when he got ****** off at Dr. Mayfield.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

There's Kay Freestone's conversation with him at her first house. You don't hear many "poverty stories" (to use Abigail Mitchell's phrase) in COLUMBO episodes, but that's a good scene with a few of them.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

Yes, I enjoyed the Kay Freestone scene, as well. Columbo revealing that in his family "we were never alone" and Freestone sharing the painful memories of how difficult it was for her growing up. Also revealing about each character because Columbo "accepts things as they are" and Freestone apparently does not.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

I agree with you Steve, that scene was very good. I read somewhere that it was the first time Columbo got angry with the murderer. I also liked the end of "By Dawn's Early Light" when Columbo was showing how Col. Rumford killed Mr. Hayne and Col. Rumford told him he would do it again -- he felt no remorse.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

i love the scene in Make Me a Perfect Murder where Kay is trying to get back to the projection room with her own voice counting down. later on when she tries to get the gun from the elevator roof and also when Columbo torments her via the tv monitors.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

Try and Catch Me was filled with great scenes. The great Ruth Gordon as Abigail Mitchell, who was 80 years old when she starred in this episode, is in top form. The writing for this episode was also excellent, and I find I sympathize with Abigail who believes her niece's husband allowed her niece to drown.

My favorite scene is early on, when Abigail lures the greedy Edmund into her walk-in safe and she tells him she *knows* and then slams the door shut on him. Followed by the scene played with Mariette Hartley as Veronica, when Veronica thinks she hears something...and Abigail tells her it's a 'nightingale':

Veronica: Wait a minute, I do hear something

Abigail: What?

Veronica: A nightingale

Abigail: What a clever girl you are

This was, I believe, the first clue that Veronica knows Edmund is in the safe and she is willing to go along as long as she is taken care of.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

I was never sure why she turns the safe alarm back on.
It's intimated that she got rattled and had a 'senior moment'.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

I agree with Cholly's choice, except that (importantly) this exchange takes place right at the start of the episode, when she was testing the soundproofing using the tape recorder, rather than during the murder scene. This establishes in the very first scene that Veronica is going to play along with whatever happens later on.

Re: Favorite Dramatic Scenes

The finale of ETUDE IN BLACK between Lt., Benedict and his wife.
Especially, when the cornered killer asks" Can I have a word with you?....this is humiliating"