Columbo: Death Lends a Hand (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Columbo: Death Lends a Hand (1971)





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Movie Info

Brimmer, a short-tempered private detective, is hired by Arthur Kennicut, a prominent Los Angeles publisher, to investigate the publisher's wife's activities under suspicion of an extra-marital affair. Although his investigation discovers an affair with a golf instructor, Brimmer chooses not to tell Kennicut about it and proposes Mrs. Kennicut to act, in return for Brimmer's silence, as a "pipeline" for information involving powerful persons with whom her husband is involved. When Mrs. Kennicut refuses to cooperate and threatens to tell her husband about Brimmer's unsavory proposal, Brimmer becomes enraged and accidentally kills her. He then transports her body across Los Angeles and dumps it in an industrial area, hoping her death will look like a robbery gone awry. Enter Lieutenant Columbo, the cigar-smoking detective in a rumpled raincoat, who does not accept the murder-by-mugging theory surrounding the woman's death. When Kennicut assigns Brimmer to assist Columbo in the murder investigation, Brimmer struggles to deflect Columbo's increasing suspicions that he was involved in Mrs. Kennicut's demise.


Critic Reviews for Columbo: Death Lends a Hand

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Audience Reviews for Columbo: Death Lends a Hand

A smart and well-crafted murder mystery, Death Lends a Hand delivers an impressive thriller. The head of a security company kills the wife of a media tycoon after his attempt to blackmail her fails, and it's up to Lt. Columbo to solve the case. The writing's especially good, particularly the storytelling and character development. Robert Culp makes his first appearance in the series, and gives a terrific performance. And, Columbo's notorious POS car, the Peugeot 403 convertible, makes its debut. Death Lends a Hand is an engaging crime drama that's full of intrigue.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer


Coldly efficient private investigator Robert Culp accidentally kills the wife of a newspaper magnate and although his suspicions are raised, Columbo has no evidence to back up his outlandish theory. One of the earliest entries in the Columbo case files, Death Lends A Hand is the first in which the affable detective nearly meets his match. There is a grudging respect between the two adversaries that gives it a markedly different dynamic from the usual cat and mouse games and it's interesting to see the different sides of Falk's character; he deliberately acts the buffoon to slyly gather the facts and we get to see the way he switches tactics when interviewing the varying personalities involved in the case. The direction is solid with some nice photography and visual flourishes, although they do occasionally cross the line into gimmickry. Death Lends A Hand is one of the first of the series to stray from the usual formula and explore the potential of the series' premise and as such is still one of my favourites.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

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