TV Movie Review – COLUMBO: ANY OLD PORT IN A STORM (1973)

Adrian CarsiniCOLUMBO: ANY OLD PORT IN A STORM (TV) (1973, USA) ****
Crime, Drama, Mystery
dist. National Broadcasting Company (NBC); pr co. Universal Television; d. Leo Penn; w. Stanley Ralph Ross (based on a story by Larry Cohen); pr. Robert F. O’Neill; ph. Harry L. Wolf (Technicolor. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. Dick DeBenedictis; m sup. Hal Mooney; ed. Larry Lester, Buddy Small; ad. Archie J. Bacon; set d. John M. Dwyer; cos. Grady Hunt; sd. David H. Moriarty (Mono); rel. 7 October 1973 (USA); cert: PG; r/t. 96m.

cast: Peter Falk (Columbo), Donald Pleasence (Adrian Carsini), Joyce Jillson (Joan Stacey), Gary Conway (Enrico Guiseppe Carsini), Dana Elcar (Falcon), Julie Harris (Karen Fielding), Vito Scotti (Maitre d’), Robert Donner (The Drunk), Robert Ellenstein (Stein), Robert Walden (Billy Fine), Regis Cordic (Lewis), Reid Smith (Andy Stevens), John McCann (Officer), George Gaynes (Frenchman), Monte Landis (Steward), Walker Edmiston (Auctioneer), Pamela Campbell (Cassie Marlowe).

Adrian Carsini (Pleasence) runs a California winery owned by his younger half-brother (Conway) who reveals he’s about to sell it. This enrages the older wine connoisseur who knocks the young playboy out cold and ties him up in the wine cellar. Soon Carsini has committed a murder and makes it look like a scuba diving accident. The rumpled Lt. Columbo (Falk) is on the case and is willing to harass everyone – even Carsini’s cold but devoted secretary (Harris) – until he’s discovered the truth. One of the most entertaining of the Columbo mystery movies and one of the few where the rumpled detective has a liking for the killer. The winery setting and Pleasence’s delightfully snobbish performance give this episode a playfully novel feel. Whilst the murder is hardly perfect, the way Falk unravels the case is sublime. The finale in the expensive restaurant and on the cliffs overlooking the sea are neatly staged and the final scene where the detective and the murderer share a last bottle is nicely played. The production values are standard for 1970s TV, but the light, humorous touch and the lead performances make this well worth a look.

TV Review – GUNSMOKE: THE PRISONER (1969)

Gunsmoke Full Episode Season 14 Episode 25 - The Prisoner. A great episode  where Jon Voight may have gotten his start. He s… | Gunsmoke, Jon voight,  Midnight cowboyGUNSMOKE: THE PRISONER (1969, USA) ***½
Western
net. CBS Television Network; pr co. CBS Television Network; d. Leo Penn; w. Calvin Clements Sr.; exec pr. John Mantley; pr. Joseph Dackow; ph. Monroe P. Askins (Colour. 35mm. Spherical. 1.33:1); m. Leon Klatzkin; th. Rex Koury (uncredited); ed. Donald W. Ernst; ad. Joseph R. Jennings; set d. Herman N. Schoenbrun; cos. Alexander Velcoff; m/up. Glen Alden, Newton Jones, Gertrude Wheeler; sd. Vernon W. Kramer (Mono); tr. 17 March 1969; r/t. 50m.

cast: James Arness (Matt Dillon), Milburn Stone (Doc), Amanda Blake (Kitty), Ken Curtis (Festus), Jon Voight (Steven Downing), Ramon Bieri (Jarvis), Ned Glass (Pink Simmons), Buck Taylor (Newly), Paul Bryar (Sheriff Ryan), Kenneth Tobey (Bob Mathison), James Nusser (Louie Pheeters), Glenn Strange (Sam Noonan), Tom Brown (Ed O’Connor), Ted Jordan (Nathan Burke), David Fresco (Barber), Jan Peters (Cardplayer), Nick Borgani (Townsman (uncredited)), Michelle Breeze (Saloon Girl (uncredited)), Stephen Burnette (Townsman (uncredited)), Noble ‘Kid’ Chissell (Townsman (uncredited)), Fred Dale (Townsman (uncredited)), Duke Fishman (Townsman (uncredited)), Raven Grey Eagle (Townsman (uncredited)), Bert Madrid (Townsman (uncredited)), Fred McDougall (Mathison Henchman (uncredited)), Jimmy Noel (Townsman (uncredited)), Sid Troy (Townsman (uncredited)).

(s. 14 ep. 25) Voight is a prisoner being escorted by a bounty hunter (Bieri) to a town where his chance of receiving a fair trial are slim. When the prisoner saves Kitty from a near-death accident, she intervenes by winning his bounty at poker and then trying to protect the young man until the Marshal (Arness) can return. This is a well scripted and directed episode, which gives Blake centre stage. Her poker game with Bieri is well-staged and builds in tension. An embittered Tobey, the husband of the woman Voight has supposedly murdered, enters the scene in the final act to exact his own form of justice. The strong cast and interesting storyline make this an above-average segment.