Any Old Port in a Storm

Episode 17 – Any Old Port in a Storm

The seventeenth episode of Columbo was titled Any Old Port in a Storm and was the second episode of the show’s third season. Fratricide and fermentation are the key themes in a classic tale. In this podcast Gerry and Iain look at the critical relationships and circumstances as Columbo looks to prove a scuba accident is more than it seems.

 

 

Donald Pleasence is captivating as master vinter turned killer Adrian Carsini, who strikes down Gary Conway‘s Ric Carsini in a fit of rage, provoked by his younger half-brother’s decision to sell the family vineyards and close their winery. With the unsolicited help of secretary Karen Fielding, played by Julie Harris, he looks to evade Columbo’s suspicion, without success. Pleasence is of course known for his iconic role as Dr Loomis in five of the Halloween movies and for his turn as Blythe in The Great Escape and would have been recognisable for that latter role in particular at the time of his appearance in Columbo.

 

There were supporting roles for Joyce Jillson as Joan Stacey, the distressed fiancée of Ric Carsini; Dana Elcar and Robert Ellenstein as wine connoisseurs Falcon and Stein; and Robert Doyle in a brief but enjoyable role as Carsini’s winery tour guide. Robert Walden displayed the best moustache as Billy Fine, friend of Joan.

 

The episode was written by Larry Cohen, with Stanley Ralph Ross responsible for the teleplay. This was the first of three Columbo episodes from Cohen’s pen, while Ross would go on to write a Season Four episode before creating the Wonder Woman series which ran for sixty episodes from 1975. Director Leo Penn would direct two more episodes over the following sixteen years, but is perhaps better remembered for his 27 stints behind the Matlock camera and the cultural impact of his sons, Michael, Sean and Chris.

 

During this episode we asked if any listeners could confirm whether it was normal to have an organ in the first class cabin of flights in the 1970s and about LA weather patterns, but even if they’re not ones you can answer please chip in with your thoughts on any aspect of Any Old Port in a Storm below, or find us on Twitter at @columbopodcast.

 

The Columbo Podcast is widely available – on iTunes, Stitcher, tunein, Pocket Casts or pretty much wherever you choose to receive and manage your podcasts. If you enjoy the show it would be greatly appreciated if you consider leaving ratings and reviews on these sites – particularly iTunes – as that can make a big difference to growing the podcast’s audience.

 

Any Old Port in Storm was released in 1973. It is 96 minutes long and originally aired on the NBC network. It can be viewed on Netflix in the United States and is available on DVD in other countries, including a comprehensive box set of all eleven seasons released by Universal.

 

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast Team

The Columbo Podcast team develops, produces and promotes The Columbo Podcast.

  • So, this is apparently one of the most popular episodes of Columbo. Anyone have strong feelings on it?

    • Largo

      Yes — I’ll admit that I have some very strong feelings. In fact, tears are flowing down my face as I type this out. But I really don’t want to discuss these feelings here …. you’ll have to look elsewhere for Largo’s feelings about wine and Donald Pleasence and bright red sports cars. 😉

  • Oh what a marvellous episode, with Donald Pleasence on sparkling (forgive the pun) form. Columbo also seems to really enter into the spirit of things (oh, sorry – there I go again). What I also loved was the way Mr. Carsini created havoc in the restaurant, literally incandescent with rage and, of course, this turned out to be a pivotal part of the story line. The support from the Maitre ‘D (played by Vito Scotti) and wine steward (Monte Landis) really helped make this a memorable scene, especially the bit at the end of the scene where they are sampling the wine and clearly some great rapport between these two actors. Also memorable was the early scene with his brother who has the audacity to mention the Moreno Brothers, to which Adrian Carsini literally explodes ‘The Moreno brothers?!!! The Moreno brothers?!!! 69 cents a gallon Moreno Brothers?!!!’ A really nice touch at the end when Columbo produces the wine. I think that’s one of the things I love about his character – the humanitarian aspect even in the face of such desperate goings on.

    For me, this was the first episode to contain transparent humour, which was a really nice touch.

    In terms of trivia, Vito Scotti (the Maitre ‘D) appeared in The Godfather (quite a small part). Sadly he checked out in 1996, although we will have the pleasure of seeing him in another 5 Columbo episodes. Monte Landis (wine steward) appeared in ‘The Young Frankenstein’ as one of the gravediggers! Born in 1933, he is still with us. In a nice twist, he appeared as a Maitre ‘D in an episode of ‘Man From Atlantis’.

    It is little wonder that this episode is in many Columbophile’s top 3.

    PS I haven’t listened to the podcast on this yet, although I listened to the ‘Etude in Black’ and ‘BluePrint for Murder’ ones today travelling to and from Liverpool. Thanks for making my journey more of a pleasure than normal, guys. 🙂

    • Love the trivia. You’ll be caught up soon – glad we could help improve the journey!

      • Now caught up as I listened to this first thing. More laugh out loud moments and overall an excellent walkthrough of the episode, as well as the added bonus of my favourite part of the episode: ‘The Moreno brothers!!!’. One other observation is that, in general – as you guys have spotted – there are many bits of dialogue that get chalked down to ‘Oh – it was the 70’s’, and up to a few weeks ago I would have been quite sceptical of that view; that, however, was before I saw ‘Husbands’, directed by and starring John Cassavetes, as well as Peter Falk and Ben Gazarra. If you get a chance to view this, I’d recommend you do. It’s available via iTunes and also Amazon TV, as are many of the better films that seem to be unavailable on Netflix and the like.

  • Peter

    Could not state it better than Kieran. Great episode with outstanding performances. The one thing I don’t understand: if wine cellar is temperature controlled than why would it become hot, even in a heat wave?

    • Because Adrian turned the temperature controls off before heading to New York, presumably to accelerate Ric’s death.

      • MaxAMillion

        But I don’t understand that either. His wine seems to be far and away the most important thing to him. He has practically gone bankrupt amassing that wine cellar and cherishes them as priceless treasures. So why would he make it a part of his murder plan to knowingly spoil his entire collection by turning off the temperature controls before leaving for a week when it was so unnecessary? He could have just strangled or suffocated him immediately or killed him some other way. I’m sure he maybe didn’t have the guts to do that but I think if it was a choice between that and ruining his prized collection, he would work up the nerve. Also why would turning off the temp controls accelerate his death? Surely it wouldn’t really make a difference…Wine cellars are not cold enough to kill and a heat wave like the one they experienced wouldn’t kill a healthy man. Or are we to assume that without the temperature controls functioning there was no air circulation in the cellar and he was suffocated?

        • That’s a good point. I think the fact he didn’t have the nerve to physically kill his brother might be a factor.

        • I doubt he knew there was a record breaking heatwave on the way when he turned off the air flow. And I’m of the opinion that turning off the temp control stopped all airflow to the room, and his intention was to suffocate the fellow.

        • Jossie

          Know I have a better picture, thanks guys. I could not understand How Columbo associated the death of Adrian’s brother with the heat wave that spoiled the wine in the cellar. I know that Adrian had turned the Temperature control, but I did not know how this would have killed Rick; but know I get it he was trying to suffocate him.But wait a minute! How did Columbo figured out that Rick had died in the Cellar? I am back to square one!

        • 7Rose7

          My thoughts entirely! I hope someone can answer these questions! Otherwise, a very good episode!

  • Ian Baxter

    A wonderful wonderful episode.

    One of the benefits of this podcast projects is that you get a chance to blow the dust off some of those episodes that don’t often see the light of day. Who knows, we mind a dusty episode in the cellar that we had previously ignored but that has improved with age!

    Needless to say… no such mystery with this one, no dust on this DVD, a vintage episode that we can return to with confidence every time… and we don’t have to worry about it running out!

    Why is it a personal favourite? I recon it’s about Columbo himself; he is simply very likeable and endearing. Yes, he is clever, focused and persistent; but he is good natured, courteous and friendly in his pursuit of Carsini.

    The generous spread of humour also goes a long way to making this whole episode very welcoming and entertaining to watch. It really is one you have to sit and watch in a good chair with a favourite tipple and leave the cigar unlit.

    Thanks again for a great podcast, even if I didn’t need any prompting to enjoy this episode one more time.

    • Thanks Ian. Agreed on all counts!

      • Peter

        Love your remarks about this being Falk’s favorite episode and first time he liked killer

  • julie4183

    Great podcast this week gentleman! I want to mirror the sentiments of everyone else, that this is one of my favorite episodes as well. Also, like the others, I enjoyed the blantant humor that is splashed throughout the episode, which is a charming pattern that continues through the series.

    I, too, love the scene with the Maitre ‘D and the wine steward. Especially, when the Maitre ‘D and steward haughtily taste the tainted wine after Columbo and Carsini leaves.

    In regards to your questions/statements on Columbo’s tasteless and uncouth resturaunt practices, I would like to propose a thought. True, Columbo was very rude in the restaurant, but maybe that was a choice made by the director or writers (maybe even Peter Falk) to emphasize the social divide between Columbo and the upper-class murderers he typically encounters, in this case the sophisticated Adrian Carsini. Not that all lower to middle class people are uncouth, but maybe the blantant attention to Columbo’s slovenly charcter shows how he is not limited by his poor habits, but perhaps uses it to his advantage to disarm or have the suspects underestimate the lieutenant . Columbo as a whole tries to disarm murder suspects through his behavior, and out of place personal storytelling. He often brings up his wife, obscure realitives, and children (which I am still not sure if they are real or not). Just a thought on his poor resturaunt behavior.

    Now onto the question regarding the death penalty in the United States, specifically California, where Columbo takes place. My background is in history and specifically the Constitutionality of how certain crimes are judiciously handled. By law, the use of the death penalty is determined by each indvidual state.

    California has instituted and overturned and reinstituted the death penality quite a few times. When “Suitable for Framing” was filmed and later aired in 1971 the death penality was legal. BUT, in 1972 the California supreme courts determined that the death penalty was unconstitutional and made it illegal, so when “Any Old Port” was filmed and aired in 1973, the most extreme punishment that Carsini would have received, would have been life in prison. Side note, the 1972 supreme court decision, that deemed the death penality illegal, impacted the infamous serial killer, Charles Manson, who was initially on death row. Manson benefited from the supreme court decision and received a life sentence and is still alive in prison today.

    I have probably put you all to sleep with my tangents. But, great podcast and I enjoy reading the feedback!

    • Thanks Julie, that’s a great post and I completely agree with your thoughts about Columbo’s behaviour in the restaurant.

      Love your insight into the death penalty – that makes perfect sense and explains the position perfectly in relation to the stories.

      • Ian Baxter

        Agree about Columbo’s behaviour at the table… I actually think he’d make a fantastic dinner guest; unfazed with conventions and full of fantastic anecdotes about his work and family. He’d even put in the effort to pick out a great wine, and so long as you hadn’t bumped anyone off, the evening would be very entertaining!

  • As usual, another great podcast. While I have no personal experience with 1970s aircraft, a google search reveals that planes used to have some really strange amenities and that indeed, there were some airlines that had lounges with Wurlitzer organs. The mind boggles…

    • Thanks Oxfordsplice, really appreciate your support – love the tumblr post!

  • digger01

    I don’t have much to add to what others have said about this great episode. I think the quality of the episode lies not necessarily in the method of murder or in the “gotcha” evidence, but rather in the intelligent and gripping way in which the story unfolds.

    As you mentioned in the podcast, there doesn’t seem to be any filler. The interplay between Columbo and Carsini is a lot of fun to watch. I think the character of Adrian and the performance by Pleasance are also what make the episode compelling.

    Also, Leo Penn’s direction of this episode was very strong. From the opening shot of the raised and shimmering wine glasses to the crane shot while Carsini and Columbo walked outside of the winery, it was provocative without being flashy.

    Another great podcast!

  • One other thing I noticed – and this is probably the psychologist in me – was the use of NBV (non-verbal behaviour) in this episode, not just by Adrian Carsini, but also by Columbo. Watch it again and see how many times you spot cast members use NVB rather than talking.

    Also, not sure who mentioned the way Columbo says ‘Thank you very much’ a la Elvis Presley style, but I’m now having a lot of fun playing ‘Thank you very much’ bingo. 🙂

  • Julia Porter

    Late in joining the episode discussions (mainly due to the fact that I listen to these late at night to wind down after a hectic day!) but have listened to all the podcasts from the very first week, and love listening to Gerry and Iain’s take on this great show.

    I am another confirmed Columbo fan, and am loving the chance to revisit all the episodes in this way, so thank you for giving us the opportunity – no mean feat considering how many episodes there are!

    I came to Columbo as a child/teenager when they were shown as repeats on TV (I was born in 1967) because my mum loved them. I’ve got the box set, but also never pass up a chance when an episode is on TV – in fact, despite having the box set, I’m collecting specific favourites and recording them on to my own DVD collection so that I can have all my favourites on one disc/s in 8 hour chunks!

    This is definitely one of the classic episodes – it’s obvious why, as many have already said, and it stands the test of time in terms of story-telling, even with the very 70s look!

    I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before (I don’t always have the time to read all the comments every week) but there is a great little series of books available on Kindle called ‘The Columbo Case Files’ by a guy called Paul Hughes, who’s also clearly a huge fan. I found them a couple of years ago when I was having a desperate google search for anything Columbo (which is how I found these podcasts on a repeated search earlier this year!) when he’d only written a couple, but now he’s done every season from the 70s, and one book that covers the later ‘revival’ of 1989. They make a great addition to any Columbo fan’s enjoyment of the stories, especially if (like me) you love all the behind-the-scenes trivia.

    So thanks again to you for these podcasts Gerry and Iain, and ‘just one more thing…’ – Keep up the good work!

    Until next week…

    • Thanks Julia, glad you’re enjoying the podcasts.

      Good tip on the books, will look out for them.

    • Largo

      Blast! I don’t have a Kindle and now I had better make plans on obtaining one so as to read these “Columbo Case Files,” eh! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Gummo Marx

    Great epidode gents…look forward to this each week…hey if the maitre’d was in on the bottle scam, why did he seat columbo near the kitchen.

    • Largo

      Blimey! That’s another script contrivance and one that we can chalk up as just a cheap audience cheating bit.

  • Largo

    I have to fully admit that I didn’t really approve of “Any Old Port In A Storm” when it premiered on NBC back in October of 1973. I got caught up in the ‘nuts and bolts’ construction of the plot and was aghast with some of the unnecessary script contrivances. All of this was such an impediment between me and this Columbo mystery movie that it took years before I could actually enjoy all of the excellence that was truly there. I now view it as one of the very best of the two-hour Columbo episodes with an immensely enjoyable cast.

    The contrivances that really drove me batty back then was that this script called for two separate weather contrivances: one is necessary to the plot (even vital) and one is totally superfluous. This script needs the heat wave fluke and not the rainy day one, eh. This whole, “Did it rain last Tuesday?” stuff just snowballed into unnecessary business that failed to convince me of anything. Why would someone as fussy and fastidious as Adrain Carsini leave the roof down on a fancy sports car in the first place!??! I just couldn’t get around that one, folks. Two other script contrivances that really bothered me was the time discrepancy involving the corpse in the ocean and its subsequent forensics problem, and the guard at the gate conveniently being forgotten whenever the bright red Ferrari had to be moved.

    I feel kind of foolish about this other impediment that caused me to keep this Columbo episode at arm’s length for a number of years: my older brother, Rick. Just a few years after “Any Old Port In A Storm” aired, my older brother, Richard, began a years long hobby of home winemaking. I acquired a taste for alcohol because of testing out my brother’s various prize-winning wine recipes long before I was of legal drinking age. I idolized my older brother back then and I still look up to him to this day. Now that both of our parents are gone, he runs the family. So, needless to say, whenever this Columbo episode re-aired on television or cable over the years, it made me feel kind of queasy.

    But that was then and this is now: what a wonderful episode and a most excellent castIII Donald Pleasence and Julie Harris are absolutely superb here and Peter Falk gives one of his best performances as Lt. Columbo. Despite the aforementioned script contrivances, this episode is far too well produced and acted to keep at arm’s length! Thank you for a wonderful podcast — I’m so glad that both of you mentioned these various script contrivances but that none of them ruined your enjoyment of this episode. Even though it took me a number of years to reach it, I’m right there with both of you on this one, eh! One side note on the James Bond connection: Donald Pleasence made one of the worst Blofelds (look below and you’ll see that he can’t even hold the white cat right!) — only Charles Gray tops out as the absolute worst Ernst Stavro Blofeld, in my book anyway (which has Max von Sydow as the best and is quickly followed by Telly Savalas — there are no others, eh!).

    • Ian Baxter

      Thanks for sharing these thoughts Largo.

      It is interesting how a very personal relationship with an episode, or series, or character, can evolve over time. There are not many modern TV shows, I think, that command such affection as Columbo does.

      Maybe it’s to do with viewing something as a child and growing up with it, I don’t know. Episodes I watched as a kid I’m now watching with my kids, is that great? Well, I think it’s very special.

      Before I talk myself into a psychiatrists chair I’ll simply say that Columbo certainly evokes a lot of memories for me; and that adds to the pleasure of watching them again.

      • Largo

        You are very welcome, Ian! I think it’s great that you’re sharing these episodes with your children. I don’t have any children, but I’ve got several nieces and nephews that I’ve been sharing many of my vintage films and television favorites on DVD. Unfortunately, I haven’t got to my Columbo collection yet, but I have discussed this series recently and two of my sister’s kids have expressed an interest. Yeah — they don’t make these films and TV shows like they used to, eh. Please keep up all of the sharing. Be seeing you!

    • Thanks for the thoughts Largo and we’re glad you’re continuing to enjoy the podcast!

    • MaxAMillion

      Agreed…this episode works best if you don’t think about it too much. The story really doesn’t make any sense if you do. But the atmosphere and performances are great and it is definitely one of my favourite Columbo episodes. I think I could have done without the sublot of Carsini and his secretary being in love with him though, as I didn’t really buy it.

  • Largo

    Where oh where has Emrys gone, eh? This is his number one favorite Columbo episode and he hasn’t chimed in yet. Blast! I hope that he comes back here real soon.

    • Haven’t seen Emrys for a couple of weeks, but he caught up on the first dozen or so in double-quick time, so no doubt he’ll be back!!

  • CarlosMu

    I agree with a lot of previous posts about the performance of Donald Pleasance, he really is what makes this episode stand out. The role is well written, very funny, and Pleasance plays it perfectly.

    Also the role of Karen is very interesting and very well played by Julie Harris. And the protective secretary type is becoming a bit of a Columbo trope as well, if I am using that term correctly.

    i found it very funny, your reaction to Ric’s friends. I’ll have to watch again and see if I pick up on any of the red flags you two saw. I wonder what you’ll have to say about Freddy’s friends in “Death hits the jackpot”, but that’s a long long long way away.

    • Ian Baxter

      Those friends, and the podcast comments, are very funny. You’d love to be a fly on the wall when they filmed the friends… What does the director say? Does he give them a bit of a back story? Were those dance moves choreographed? 🙂

  • Richard Hinton

    Coming in late on these comments and can only echo the points already mentioned.

    LOVED Donald Pleasance’s performance, perfect for the role and never tire of repeated viewings, chiefly because of it. I totally believe in his love of wine – its taste, history, collectibility and his pride in his own knowledge and library in his cellar. Must have broken his heart to destroy them at the end … including ones that must’ve already been ruined by time (odd). He loves Columbo’s graduation in appreciation, because of his influence. Great performance.

    SO glad you mentioned the dancing – Every time I watch, that scene makes me smile. Usually in these type of things there isn’t any music on site and the background people are doing a generic dance … This guy’s going for it and the girl opposite woohoo’s in delight of his killer moves – superb stuff.

    It’s my 2nd favourite episode, in terms of watchability, as it flows so well and has superb performances. This is also my favourite of your podcasts … So far – I can’t believe you’ve raised some points that, after seeing it countless times, I hadn’t considered.

    • Glad to hear you think the podcast is improving. Hopefully that continues this week!

  • Have you listened to Kieran’s tune on the comments for Murder by the Book? An interesting concept there too!

    • Largo

      Well, I got a glimpse of some scary silver mask thing and then a mention of a “Moreno Brothers remix” or something like that — and I ran away in horror. So what I’m saying here is that I haven’t listened to it since I’m so afraid now. And I’ve got these very strong feelings — and a real bad head cold, too. :.(

  • Ian Baxter

    I’m going to have my cake and eat it… I’m happy with the improvised ‘This Old Man’ (although it is overly used and abused in later episodes)… and I’m happy with the distinctive Mellé composition… I’ll take them both thank you 🙂

    • Largo

      That’s just fine by me, Ian. But another thing that bothers me about the “This Old Man” song is that in the very next Columbo episode, the murderer is heard whistling it!??! And this particular murderer is a stinking, low-down, two-timing, dirty politician. EGAAH!

      However, with this first season Gil Mellé composition, it is the music that is heard when Lt. Columbo first appears onscreen in the very first regular episode that was produced (“Death Lends A Hand”). Plus, this particular Mellé piece was utilized in two other first season episodes — and this first season was under the tight control of Richard Levinson and William Link. Alright …. I’ll stop now. It’s past time for bed and I’m still fighting a really nasty head cold virus ….

      • Largo, we cover the killer’s use of the tune in this week’s podcast. Keep an eye out for it tomorrow!

        Get well soon!

        • Largo

          Thanks! I’ve been fighting this mutant virus for three weeks now — it simply will not go away. I’ve missed several days of work and I got behind on your podcasts, too — totally unacceptable, eh! Last Sunday, I was listening to your two most recent podcasts with only one good ear. But now both of my ears are plugged up and everything sounds muffled and I can hear my own thunderous heartbeat — and I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore! 🙁

          • There’s a familiar turn of phrase!

          • Largo

            Yeah — that Paddy Chayefsky: what a cornball! 😉

  • Maddie

    Love this episode!! Donald Pleasence is wonderful! He was in one my favorite movies when I was little, Escape to Witch Mountain. Enjoyed this one very much episode and podcast. Thanks guys for another good one! Looking forward to Candidate for Crime, one of my personal favorites!

    • digger01

      I remember him in Escape To Witch Mountain, too! I recall watching that one on a summer Sunday night on the Wonderful World of Disney.

      I agree with you on Candidate For Crime… another well-done episode.

    • Just 24 hours to wait for that one! Glad you’re still tuning in and enjoying the podcasts Maddie!

      • Maddie

        Loyal fan guys! I listen every week.

  • FC

    Another classic for every fan:
    Columbo roasts Sinatra. It’s back up again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzKehvXNBus

  • Gummo Marx

    Donald Pleasance was great, but for some reason his ‘irate mode’ wasn’t convincing…

    • It was certainly very stylised, I feel.

    • Adrian Carsini

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!!!!?

  • Josey Wales

    Hello fellow Columbo fanatics – I’ve never been able to sit and watch this episode uninterrupted from beginning to end although I do plan on doing that this weekend – please answer a simple question for me: WHAT AM I OVERLOOKING? – I DO NOT GET THIS EPISODE – I LOVE ALL THE CLASSIC COLUMBO-isms throughout the show and I appreciate the DONALDS excellence but I DO NOT understand how THE STING AT THE END MAKES SENSE!!!????
    How does Adrian Carsini throwing all those bottles off the cliff at the end of the episode prove that he killed his brother???? … something to do with the location being the same place as where the brothers car was found??? HELP me understand PLEASE!

    • Hi Josey. The catch here is that the wine was spoiled by being left in the cellar without temperature controls. That eliminates Carsini’s alibi and provides a cause of death. These add on to the fact that the last place the brother was known to be was with Carsini at the winery, the motive of the potential sale and the short temper he exhibits in the restaurant.

  • Adrian Carsini

    Well, I must say I really am flattered by all the attention. Having been given the prestigious man of the year only to end up serving time for doing away with my hopeless brother. Still, you will be pleased to hear that I am, at least, putting the time to good use. I believe that my forthcoming degree in Criminology will afford me an insight that will be seconded only by the great Columbo himself.

  • Adrian Carsini

    You, sir, are very obviously a man of great distinction. I would offer you an all-expenses tour of my winery, but for the fact that all my powers have been temporarily vetoed. Anyway, until then, accept my compliments as a gift for today.

    • Largo

      Why thank you very much, Adrian! You, too, are a man of great distinction and one who has superb taste in all things — not just wine. 🙂

      • Adrian Carsini

        I can see that your eyes are in very shape too, especially when it comes to candy.

  • Adrian Carsini

    Sir, you honour me above my accomplishments. Oh wait, you have that in the recording, don’t you? I particularly like the power sample at the end. They don’t call me ‘ACDC’ for nothing.

  • saltyessentials

    Can’t add much to what’s been said already. I do like this episode. It’s the first, as far as I’m aware, that Columbo seems to take some pity on murderer. A nice gesture to have “one last drink” with the man before carting him off.

    And while I’m often exclaiming “What!? Why would the killer confess with so little provocation?” at the end of various Columbos, this one makes sense to me. I think this fellow was a fairly reluctant murderer in the first place and very much out of his element as a criminal.

    It also explains why, for once, a blackmailer gets to live past the end credits. Carsini killed once, but doesn’t seem to have it in him to do it again. He’d rather resign himself to 30 years of marriage to his secretary, than bump her off as well.

  • saltyessentials

    Anyone watched the old Dark Shadows soap? I was pleasantly surprised to see that Dana Elcar did a stint as Collinsport’s sheriff.

    But he’s always played such a regular joe in the stuff I’ve seen him in. I couldn’t quite buy him as a wind snob, here.

    • I hadn’t seen him in other things, so it came over OK for me. I understand the thinking though.

    • Largo

      I would never buy him as a “wind snob”[sic] but I could buy him as a wine snob. 😉

    • Largo

      I used to watch Dark Shadows back in the day. It’s the only soap opera that I ever watched: it had stuff I could relate to, namely monsters and witch hunters and an overall spooky atmosphere. It’s hilarious to watch those early black and white episodes: it’s as if it is all being done live — with people forgetting their lines, hitting their heads on scenery and flies landing on their faces, etc. I adored Victoria Winters and Maggie Evans! 🙂

      I can hear that eerie theme playing in my head now — and those early episodes opened with this narration: “My name is Victoria Winters ….”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSbCqp_a3iE

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhfejH4dlas

  • David Griffiths

    I’ve never quite ‘got’ this murder. What kills the brother – the heat or the lack of air in the wine cellar? It’s unlikely to be completely airproof and Adrian wouldn’t have known there was going to be a heatwave. All Columbo proves is that the temperature control had been turned off – there’s no evidence that the brother was in the wine cellar at any time or that Adrian murdered him.

  • Tim S. Turner

    Pleasence is one of the best murderers in the history of the series. It’s a shame he wasn’t asked back for another engagement. You truly feel sad for him at the end. You can actually see that Columbo might consider him a friend if things had been different. A masterpiece. And great show, guys.

  • Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff

    One of my favorite episodes. Late to the discussion, so don’t have much to add except that this is my second favorite Donald Pleasence role. Number 1 is The President of the United States in Escape From New York.

    • Agreed, Daphne. A great episode and a great performance!

      • Jock Mackay

        I’ve recently discovered the podcast, and I think it’s braw.
        As is this episode, but a couple of little things bother me…

        How was the victim locked in?
        This stong athlete could not break free.
        No evidence of rope burns on the wrists.
        At one point, Columbo is shouting from afar, very sensitive information to Carsini, about the release of his brothers body.

        But ultimately, this is such a despicable crime, that the audience has no pity for Carsini. Unlike the leutenant, who is dam right chummy with him! This conflict between us and Columbo, makes the ending less satisfying than usual. (And Falk’s ‘respect for perfection’ story doesn’t wash).

        Just one more thing…

        The snooty secretary: ‘Name? I must have your name!’

        Columbo: ‘Why would want my name when you have such a lovely name yourself? Carol Feilding, I think that’s a wonderful name.’

        I love this line, and the dialogue that follows between them is great, I was surprised to hear you say that it ‘disnae work’.
        I say ‘Aye it does’.

        You were on the money with all the rest though. and I’m really glad you’ve done this,

        Thanks very much.

  • Jock Mackay

    I’ve recently discovered the podcast, and I think it’s braw. As is this episode, but a couple of little things bother me…

    How was the victim locked in?
    No evidence of rope burns on the wrists.
    At one point, Columbo is shouting from afar, very sensitive information to Carsini, about the release of his brothers body.

    But ultimately, this is such a despicable crime, that the audience has no pity for Carsini. Unlike the leutenant, who is down right chummy with him! This conflict between us and Columbo, makes the ending less satisfying than usual. (And Falk’s ‘respect for perfection’ story doesn’t wash).

    Just one more thing…
    The snooty secretary: ‘Name? I must have your name!’
    Columbo: ‘Why would want my name when you have such a lovely name yourself? Carol Feilding, I think that’s a wonderful name.’
    I love this line, and the dialogue that follows between them is great, I was surprised to hear you say that it ‘disnae work’.
    I say ‘Aye it does’.

    You were on the money with all the rest though. and I’m really glad you’ve done this,

    Thanks very much.