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Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait (1989)

 
 
 

The Number One Artist

Peter Falk in Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait (1989)

Max Barsini (Patrick Bauchau) is a man who loves; he loves his wife Vanessa (Shera Danese), he loves his model Julie (Isabel García Lorca) and he also loves his first wife Louise (Fionnula Flanagan) with all three women living with him pretty much under the same roof which is a boost to his already inflated ego. So when Louise declares she doesn't need him anymore Max can't have it and so whilst having arranged to paint a picture of a local bar for its owner he sneaks off from an upstairs room and murders Louise on the beach before dumping her in the water to make it appear that she drowned. Confident of his alibi Barsini doesn't account for the bloodhound in a raincoat, Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) who soon finds something suspicious to build his investigation upon as he dogs Barsini.

Two things are quickly established when you start to watch "Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait" the first of which is like many of these later TV episodes/ TV movies there is a heavy comedic element to this one. The opening scenes which see Columbo with his bloodhound at a dog show are just full of comedy from singing dogs to Columbo calling his bloodhound "dog". And this humour continues when Columbo discovers Max Barsini's unconventional love life with his ex-wife, wife and lover all living pretty much together which to be honest is quite comical.

Patrick Bauchau in Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait (1989)

That leads me to the second thing and it is not until about 30 minutes in to "Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait" that things start to happen with Max arranging to paint a picture of Vito's bar in order to sneak off and kill Louise. But whilst we have the set up of the alibi this isn't one of those really elaborate murders and so once again the focus returns to the humour especially of Columbo's investigations such as visiting a psychologist who was Louise's lover and it is the shrink who ends up on his own couch. But for the enjoyment in the humour it only goes to highlight how drawn out this one feels.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: Murder, a Self Portrait" is undoubtedly entertaining with that comedic touch which never failed to put a smile on your face. But there isn't enough to go along side the humour in this one which sadly makes it feel drawn out.

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