I think the one thing about this episode that just never rings authentic with me is the idea that Columbo would after a whole series of being a loyal chili/hot dog type of eater, is all of a sudden given this big knowledge of gourmet cooking and fondness for doing it himself.
Agree with the comments about Columbo's acting in this episode. The attempt at comedy by having Columbo act out the murder and fall to the floor causing the concern of the waiter was dire. It should never have been left in the script.
Also being one of the later Columbo episodes his arms are again shooting out all over the place. It's like he's lost control of them.
Right on Eric! It is totally out of character
for Columbo to suddenly be an expert on gourmet
cooking. Recall in "Publish or Perish" he
is invited to order whatever he wants in a
posh restaurant and he orders chili! They
weren't even sure they knew how to make it.
In "Any Old Port in a Storm" he admits he
knows nothing about wine, which Carsini says
should have been in his Italian family
I agree too....and why was he yelling at poor Mario??? What was that all about? He was acting like a lunatic.
But as I have said before....I do love all the eating in this one....I gain 4 pounds just watching it!!!
>>>>>Maybe what you're seeing is Columbo's sour attitude toward this particular killer.<<<<<
"Sour attitude" ("Murder Under Glass" / wine, food) - Ted, you kill me!
My own quick comment on "Murder Under Glass" is that Louis Jourdan plays the part of murderer Paul Gerrard very close to hand. He's slimey and arrogant, but he's also very subdued. Jourdan certainly can't be accused of going over the top. Perhaps because the character is portrayed so "calmly", the character doesn't get that extra "oomph" it needs to really come out into the forefront. I do enjoy the episode.
Just a thought.
This is truly one of my favorite episodes. While Columbo's newly found enthusiasm for gourmet food may seem to be out of character, hasn't he done this sort of thing before to get close to the murderer? He acknowledges the killer's expertise and ingratiates himself by learning about it. And does anyone doubt that the day after the Louis Jordan character has been arrested that Columbo goes back to enjoying chili, iced tea, followed by a cheap cigar?
I don't doubt it at all Michael...He definitely was craving his hot bowl of chili after all of that gourmet food.
One thing I love about this episode is some of the body language between Peter and Jourdan. There are a few scenes where they are mirror images. The most obvious one is when Columbo is questioning Mario and there is a shot of him and Jourdan and the 2 of them have their left arms bent in front of them and their right elbows resting upon them and their right index finger is poised upon their lips..and then they both dart to their left in unison to follow Mario...it is almost like a dance. Another scene is where they at that outside eatery and the waiter brings Columbo caviar and smoked salmon..they toast their little goodies to one another. The director did a superb job in choreographing this episode..............I just looked it up and I see that the director was Jonathan Demme, the director of Silence of the Lambs...EWWW!!....At least Columbo didn't have to eat any liver with fava beans and a nice chianti!!!
One other thing I love about this episode is the music..beautiful score.
Cass', I'm surprised that you don't catch the sense of Columbo's scene with Mario. This is Peter Falk showing-off his mastery of Italian movie acting!
In context of the plot, Columbo needs to go through the motions of confronting the most direct suspect -- the fellow who apparently delivered the poison to the victim. Columbo of course does not truly suspect Mario.
Meanwhile, Peter Falk is clearly having a great deal of fun imitating every actor he has seen in Italian films. His whole body language is different from when he speaks English. He dramatically accuses the young man (Alan Alda's brother, Antony Alda), then gradually relents and embraces him, all while speaking Italian. To me, it's a brilliant tour de force.
This scene was the subject of considerable learned :^) discussion in the interview that I gave for the current issue of "Primo" Magazine. Unfortunately, it's not on newsstands or in Barnes & Noble -- I understand it's an upscale magazine aimed at Italian-Americans -- but I hope they'll give me permission to put the article or at least the interview (it runs to about 6 pages of the magazine, including a photo of yrs truly in his Columbo costume) on the web site, after the issue is out of print.
The publisher, who contacted and interviewed me, was especially interested in discussing "Any Old Port In A Storm", the episode which he saw as bringing Columbo closest to his Italian roots. But I also took the opportunity to cite the confrontation with Mario in "Murder Under Glass" (among other things), in answer to his question about ways in which Peter Falk, as an actor, brought out the Italian-ness of the character.
I well understand Eric's point about the episode interjecting Columbo's seemingly sudden gourmet tastes. The fact that later episodes fail to recall this trait, makes it further stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.
Still, I rather liked the suggestion that Columbo is a lot deeper than he appears. To me, the whole essence of the character is that we know virtually nothing about him personally, beyond what we can try to deduce from his carefully controllled interactions with his adversaries. Eric knows this character as thoroughly as anyone alive, but I think that, for some reason, I see Columbo as more of a mystery man, and more of an actor, than Eric does.
So, I like the idea that maybe Columbo harbors very sophisticated tastes, but just happens to prefer eating fetid chili for lunch.
Wow! What a post Ted!!!
You make a great point about Peter showing off his mastery in Italian movie acting....being Italian myself, I have witnessed many a scene like that from my grandfathers and father and uncles...things could get a little heated sometimes....but then the guys would sit down and have a glass of vino and all would be calm once again. But I can see how you say that Peter was having fun imitating the Italian actors he has seen in movies...he himself was terrific in Machine Gun McCain as an Italian mobster, Charlie Adamo. I guess I just felt bad for poor Mario...but as you say he did it to "go through the motions" and he really didn't suspect the poor boy at all.
Wow! (again) about the Primo magazine interview!!! It sounds fantastic! 6 pages!!! (ok..I won't say Wow! again) I will try and look for it here in Jersey. Maybe I will have some luck. And I'd love to see the shot of you in your Columbo regalia! Our Ted, the celebrity!
And what Eric said was true...but then you have to weigh that against what Michael Shinn said..how Columbo is always informing himself of the particulars of the murderers...Carsini and his wine..Galesko and his photography..Dr. Marc Collier and his hypnosis..Luis Montoya and bullfighting....etc..etc...
But as you say, I think he is quite the eclectic guy and he is harboring a lot of stuff and knowledge that we don't know about.
Boy I love this show!!