In “Requiem for a Falling Star,” Anne Baxter is actress Nora Chandler, whose career is fading into obscurity. When gossip columnist Mel Ferrer tries to blackmail her, she decides to blow him up in one of the sloppiest murders in the show’s history. But whoops! Didn’t look closely enough- turns out she instead torches her longtime assistant, who’d been dating the dirt peddler. It’s up to Columbo to connect the dots and maybe also solve an earlier murder, in the process. Returning guest Nate Patrin (Vice sports, Stereogum) joins Jon and RJ to talk about Hollywood Trout Ponds, the Jaguar XKE, Edith Head, and Big Al Ledbetter.
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Just started listening. Always enjoy. I really do think that she meant to kill her assistant- and that she let the air out of her tire so she would have to change cars. Also – I have to take a guess at the show RJ watched first by mistake – Forgotten Lady with Janet Leigh – I always confuse those two. Lisa
Thank you so much for the shout-out! It means a lot.
For the record, Wadena is about 3 hours northwest of the Twin Cities. But we’re so out of the way that oftentimes it DOES feel like we’re underground.
I have also thought that the assistant was the intended victim because she knew that Anne Baxter’s character had killed her husband. She was worried the assistant would tell Mel Ferrer’s character If she married him, so she killed her to stop her betraying her secrets. I don’t think she ever though Mel Ferrer was a threat to her and seemed capable of maneovering around him.
I read a biography of Edith Head some time ago and recall she and Anne Baxter were very close friends, had worked on many films together and Edith Head was godmother to one of her daughters. Edith Head also established a media profile with numerous appearances on radio and TV and cultivated a personal style that didn’t vary eg hair, glasses etc. She wasn’t unknown to the public, like many other designers. Her appearance is probably because of Anne Baxter’s involvement.
While this isn’t top notch Columbo, it is fairly good episode (though I think Forgotten Lady is better, which has a few similiarities to this episode). One of my favourite Columbo quotes is that his wife’s car is for transportation, which begs the question ‘how bad is the wife’s car if Columbo is driving the good car in the family’? Very droll.
Thanks for the podcasts, always enjoyable listening.
It’s funny. I did the same thing Jon did. Watched the first part many times before finally finishing it. That may be why I liked it more than with just a single viewing. Everything not as clear as usual. Columbo star struck. Getting the clue while watching TV in her bungalow. Having a drink with her at the arrest. The fact that they made a double murderer sympathetic. The little touches like reading his notes. Nora appealing to his fan side with getting creepy like Dunaway. Multiple viewings lead to wondering why she went to the bookstore in the first place. That made you realize all was not as clear as it looked, trying to kill the blackmailer. It all added up to a solid episode.
I also was watching a lot of 90s episodes that I hadn’t seen before during your break so my bar has been lowered.
You guys with another great job at doing a horribly arrogant and mean-spirited critique. Congrats!
We try, Greg. We try.
I had fifteen other things to do while watching the episode, so I wasn’t sure if I was confused because that’s what was intended, or because I just wasn’t playing close enough attention. I was glad to hear that the plot was a little foggy even for people who were paying close attention.
But I liked it, especially as a change of pace. It’s OK for the viewers to wonder about the killer’s motives sometimes.
Also — RJ was in a car with a perforated gas tank, and Jon was in a car that was actually on fire? I’m going to assume that both cars exploded, while you were walking away calmly and putting on sunglasses. If that’s not true, please don’t disillusion me.