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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka 'Columbo: The Complete First Season')

directed by Richard Irving, Steven Spielberg, Bernard L. Kowalski, Jack Smight, Hy Averback, Norman Lloyd, Edward M. Abroms, and Peter Falk
USA 1968 - 1972

From a stable of directors including luminary Spieleberg as well as casts that included Jack Cassidy, Martin Milner, Robert Culp, Ray Milland, Suzanne Pleshette, Ross Martin, Kim Hunter, Don Ameche, Roddy McDowall, Anne Francis, James Gregory, Ida Lupino, Lee Grant, Susan Clark, Leslie Nielson etc., Peter Falk's enduring character of slovenly Detective Lieutenant Columbo was born on network television. Right from the first episode there was little tinkering to do and the success would flourish for years to come. Formulaic, but continually intriguing the series developed a following almost unheard of. This was intelligent and well-acted TV - what has happened since?  out of  

***

He's the disheveled detective, dismissed by his suspects as an erratic pest, but little do they know this keen investigator is lulling them into a false sense of security. His rumpled trench coat, bumbling speech, chomped cigar and battered Peugeot 403 convertible all help paint the portrait of a cop out of his depth, but we know it's just a matter of time before the evidence is revealed to ensure criminal conviction. Voted as one of the top TV detectives of all time, COLUMBO turned the mystery genre on its head by revealing the perpetrators of crime at the very start of each episode. It's no whodunnit! The suspense is in discovering how Columbo will eventually trick the criminal into letting their guard down and revealing key evidence. Peter Falk stars in this five disc set which includes the entire first season of movie-length crimes plus both pilot TV Movies, "Prescription: Murder" and "Ransom for a Dead Man" all NEWLY RESTORED from the original 35mm negatives. Join a lineup of top guest stars including Robert Culp, Leslie Nielsen, Gene Barry, Ray Milland, Eddie Albert, Roddy McDowall and Anne Francis, plus one of Steven Spielberg's first directing efforts.

Television Premiere: February 20th, 1968 - USA and Canada

DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Universal (5 discs) - Region 1- NTSC vs. Madman (3-disc) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT
 
 Box Covers

CLICK to order from:

CLICK to order from:

 

DVDBeaver strongly recommends all the Universal Columbo Boxsets:

 

Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6-7 Mystery Movie Collection Movie Collection 1989

Distribution Universal - Region 1- NTSC Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime Each episode is around 1 hour 20 minutes each = over 11 hours of "Columbo"

Disc One (3 episodes) 4:30:19.703

Disc Two (3 episodes) 3:47:40.390

Disc Three (3 episodes) 3:46:02.166

Video 1:33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.79 mb/s (sample)
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 47,709,351,069 bytes

First Episode: 17,120,962,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Sample Bitrate:

Sample Blu-ray Bitrate:

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Dolby)  LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Subtitles English (close captioned), Spanish, French, None None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: UMVD

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect Ratio 1.33:1

Edition Details:

• Episode Index
• Episode Summary

DVD Release Date: September 7th, 2004

Fold-out plastic slip-case inside VHS sized case
Chapters: 4 in each episode X 9 = 36 in total

Release Information:
Studio: Madman

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc One Size: 47,709,351,069 bytes

First Episode: 17,120,962,560 bytes

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

Total Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Edition Details:

• Pilot TV Movies, "Prescription: Murder" (1:39:34) and "Ransom for a Dead Man"s (1:35:13)

• Textless Credits (5:39)
• Original Mystery Movie Titles (Columbo, Hec Ramsey, McMillan and Wife and McCloud) - 1:04

Disc two:

• Textless Credits (2:49)

Blu-ray Release Date: March 10th, 2017
Standard (thick) Blu-ray Box
Chapters: 20

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - December 17': Firstly, there is a Japanese set of the entire Columbo Collection on Blu-ray HERE but it's pricey going for the equivalent of $259.77 USD, at the writing of this review. There are also some seasons being sold individually but I am not sure of the quality.

This package is Season One of Columbo, on Blu-ray from Madman in Australia. Like the DVD it also offers the first two 'Pilot' movies and all seven of the first season 1 1/2 hour films. In short; it is reaching about 3 times the bitrate and looks quite pleasing in-motion. It is housed on three dual-layered Blu-ray discs. The superiority will, as always, be dependant on your system but it was very evident even on my 43" plasma. Lines tighten, contrast is more layered and there is a smidgeon more information in the frame on varying edges. They are in 1080P resolution and are advertised as "newly-restored from the original 35mm negatives". They are clean and I was pleased with the quality.

In the audio, Madman offer a linear PCM 2.0 channel at 1536 kbps (16-bit) or the option of a lossy Dolby Digital track. Effects are minimal but the scores are wonderful for the first season Columbo movies and are shared between Gil Melle (The Organization, The Andromeda Strain, The Deliberate Stranger, 7 episodes of Kolchak the Night Stalker and Frankenstein: The True Story) with a cool electronic leaning, and Billy Goldenberg (The Legend of Lizzie Borden, Spielberg's Duel, Smile Jenny, You're Dead etc.) and in Suitable For Framing we also get Chopin's Etude in E major op. 10 No. 3 (opening piano sequence) and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition (cocktail party.) But in the first pilot, Prescription: Murder the score is composed by the great Dave Grusin's (Bobby Deerfield, The Front, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, ...And Justice For All, 3 Days of the Condor). It certainly advances over DVD and gives an improved representation in the viewing presentation. There are no subtitles offered on the three Region 'B' Blu-ray discs.

Extras are sparse with 'Textless Credits' for the films and, on disc one, the original NBC Mystery Movie promo (Columbo, Hec Ramsey, McMillan and Wife and McCloud.)

This remains timeless entertainment and there are so many that you can forget the twists and Columbo's sleuthing discoveries. It doesn't look like Universal will be coming out with this (maybe in BD-R one day.) I'm very happy to own and rewatch and will probably get the other seasons too.

James tells us in FB: "Sadly Madman decided to NOT continue releasing the remastered episodes on Blu-ray, so only seasons 1 and 2 were released on BD while the rest of the remastered seasons were on DVD only. But the other day Fabulous Films announced they will release Columbo in the UK on Blu-ray, most likely the entire series."

***

ON THE DVD: Yes, I have read the complaints - no extras... and fans have a right to shake their fist. As a moderate fan, certainly not die-hard, I am simply happy these are finally available. I almost considered the Japanese 21 disc boxset that was available of ALL of Columbo. I'm glad I waited - this is very reasonably priced for over 11 hours of solid entertainment. Nothing appears to have been done to the image, but like the Star Trek (original episodes) these are quite acceptable with great colors and relative tightness. Sure, commentaries and Falk interviews would have been nice, but it might have been overkill for the legions of buyers who just want to nostalgically look back at this 70's TV icon and enjoy. I'm content -out of     

Gary W. Tooze


Universal - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 


Episodes

 


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

 


1) Universal - Region 1 - NTSC TOP
2) Madman - Region 'B' - Blu-ray BOTTOM
 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

 Box Covers

CLICK to order from:

 

DVDBeaver strongly recommends all the Universal Columbo Boxsets:

 

Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4 Season 5 Season 6-7 Mystery Movie Collection Movie Collection 1989





 

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Gary Tooze