Saturday, October 20, 2012


Usually when the Toobworld Dynamic "absorbs" a movie out of the Cineverse (the movie universe name coined by Craig Shaw Gardner), there's already some kind of connection to the TV Universe - like the appearance of a TV character, for example. The original 'Star Trek' franchise, "Maverick", the 1966 "Batman" movie.... But not "The Beverly Hillbillies" - even though Buddy Ebsen does appear as 'Barnaby Jones', the rest of the characters are recastaways. So that Barnaby Jones is the movie counterpart to the televersion.

I've often wanted to grab a movie - kidnap it, actually - and claim it for the Toobworld Dynamic. "John Carter" is a good example of that - I had a bit of a meltdown over the idea. (If you're so interested in seeing me go bat-bleep, look for it yourself. I'm not going to help you!)

But there is a movie with no real connection to TV for which I will defend my "kidnapping" - "The Velvet Touch", a murder mystery starring Rosalind Russell, Leo Genn, Claire Trevor, Leon Ames, Dan Tobin, and Sydney Greenstreet. The format of the movie is highly reminiscent of a 'Columbo' episode in which we see the murder committed and it's about twenty minutes before the detective shows up. After that, it's not whodunnit but how is he going to solve it.

The movie even features an appearance by Mike Lally, who appeared more often in 'Columbo' than any other actor, and it has the line "Just one more thing" (although not spoken by the detective.)

It's because of Sydney Greenstreet as Captain Danbury of the NYPD that I want to claim this movie for Toobworld. His style of interrogation suggests that of Lt. Columbo who would come along twenty years later. Since it's been established that Columbo began his career in New York City before moving to Los Angeles, I'm going to suggest that Captain Danbury was an indirect influence on the future detective.

Columbo has claimed that it was a New York cop named Sgt. Gilhooley who taught him everything he knows as a detective. Well, I think among those detectives we see in the squad room is Sgt. Gilhooley, and that he learned everything he knew from the master, Captain Danbury.

If you can find a copy of this film, watch it. Every so often it shows up on TCM, so set up a schedule for yourself at their website to give you an alert when it's coming around again.

In the meantime, here's a scene from the movie in which Captain Danbury acts somewhat "Columbo-ish".......


1 comment:

Brian Leonard said...

Could be... Was that scene actually shot in Sardi's? "Actors know how to eat well"...ha!