Universal Home Video
Cast: Peter Falk
Extras: Count-Down Featurette
With the "Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1989" Universal Home Entertainment has released another set of TV movies featuring the trenchcoated super-sleuth. Like all previous releases, sadly this set seems to be way too short as fans just can't get enough of Peter Falk's amazing portrayal of inspector Columbo.
The "Mystery Movie Collection 1989" contains five full-length TV movies which originally aired in 1989, once again featuring a great number of movie and television stars to round out the cast – and play the villains, of course. The stories and plots are well-thought out and even after all these years, they offer up fresh scenarios in which killers try to create the perfect murders, only to find that Columbo is not nearly as fumbling as he may appear. It is also noticeably that the series is putting the spotlight on Columbo himself a little more with small vignettes in some of the episodes, showing the character off duty at times, during a dog show for example, as well as other things.
Overall, once again, Columbo is a hypnotic experience for fans of the genre and the series and before I knew it I was through all five films and I am no eagerly awaiting the next Columbo DVD set just to feed my hunger.
Universal Home Entertainment has done a good job transferring these television movies over to DVD. The image quality is generally good, though colors appear a bit muted at times. I attribute this to the original production however and do not think that it is a technical shortcoming of the DVD itself. TV productions during the 80 had a tendency to be extremely washed out and soft-looking as new technologies took hold that were cheaper and lighter at the time, but maybe not always up to snuff with some of the previous tech generation. Fortunately that problem was rectified eventually. Black levels are also a bit weak in the transfer but nonetheless ,these movies are fun to watch and the look never really distracts form the plot and Columbo's witty presence.
The DVD set is supplemented by the original mono audio track that is also a bit dated but never sounds overly muffled or harsh.
As a bonus feature the third disc of the set contains "America's Top Sleuths" a countdown of the top detectives in movie and TV history.
Technically, "Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1989" may be unspectacular but Columbo always sets the screen on fire. Nothing escapes his perception and no one pulls the wool over this detective's eyes. It is great to see the show's villains get tangled up in their own web of lies and how Columbo cuts through it one lie at a time.
As you can certainly tell, "Columbo" has long been one of my favorite TV shows and I always enjoy revisiting these films on DVD. "Columbo: Mystery Movie Collection 1989" was no different and I warmly recommend this DVD set to any fan of the show.