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Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle (1972)

 
 

A Ransom for a Killer

Ray Milland and Peter Falk in Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle (1972)

Tony Goodland (Bradford Dillman) knows his wife is being unfaithful but believes if he could lay his hands on his inheritance, which is tied up in a trust fund, it would persuade her to stay. It is why he asks his orchid loving uncle Jarvis (Ray Milland) for some help who suggests a fake kidnapping which will allow them to use the trust fund money as ransom. What Tony doesn't realise is that Jarvis isn't planning a fake kidnapping but a murder so he can have the money to himself. What Jarvis doesn't account on is that Lieutenant Columbo (Peter Falk) is called in to aid the case and he quickly spots some irregularities when it comes to the kidnapping.

I'm not sure whether the Greenhouse is a Jungle but hills are hazardous for Peter Falk in "Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle" as a scene where he ends up taking a tumble down a hill was not scripted and was Falk genuinely slipping and ending up on his back. That of course is not the only memorable thing in this 1972 episode of Columbo, there are plenty of one on one conversations with a real peach when Sgt. Wilson tells Columbo that he is fast on becoming a legend. The way Falk breaks into a grin and changes Columbo's attitude from being grumpy to proud is so much fun.

Of course we have the crime for Columbo to solve and in "Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle" we have an absolutely wonderful performance from Ray Milland playing it with a slightly comically, over the top manner which makes him one of those confident criminals who thinks he is smarter than the police. What it also means is the we get the one on ones with Columbo playing the fool to him with an equally wonderful performance from Peter Falk. You almost get a sense that when the filming stopped Falk and Milland probably had many a laugh.

What this all boils down to is that "Columbo: The Greenhouse Jungle" is one of those episodes which puts a smile on your face thanks to the wonderful performances of Peter Falk and Ray Milland who really bring out the playfulness of the typical fool and the over confident criminal.

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