The Columbo episode, “Any Old Port in a Storm”,
is regarded as one of the finest. Donald Pleasence, as Adrian Carsini, gives his best as a sympathetic, yet awkward, wine-loving villain. There is very interesting trivia, easily overlooked, unless you happen to watch it many, many times. Here are 5 things you may have missed watching “Any Old Port in a Storm”.
Number 1: Adrian electronically eavesdrops on his guests
Hosting three wine connoisseurs at his winery, he retreats to his office switching on a microphone to listen in on them. He spoils his surprise learning he will be chosen as the Man of the Year of the wine industry. This adds little to the story other than to throw some mud on Adrian’s otherwise clean slate. His emotional break down moments later at his brother’s encouragement was so effective, we soon forget his rude social manners.
Number 2: Mr. Carsini really doesn’t like sparking wine
If you watch the episode only once or twice, you would think you learned about Adrain’s disdain for Champagne during Columbo’s winery tour. In fact, Rick Carsini taunts his half-brother earlier during their confrontation. Rick knows Adrian is an easy target to pick and wine are his thorns.
Number 3: Rick’s life was worth $5000
Stay with me on this. As Adrian and his secretary, Karen Fielding, fly to New York, he has her write a check for $5000 as a wedding present that will never be cashed. If you listen to Adrian again why so much, consider he’s talking about himself to start a new life. In his heart, he thinks of it as found money. He splurges Rick’s wedding gift on himself buying an audacious present of the exact equal amount.
Number 4: Columbo tests Falcon’s attention to detail
Lt. Columbo pays a visit to the wine society, interviewing two of the three. As Falcon recalls the afternoon at Carsini’s winery, Columbo tests his credibility at story telling. Columbo cleverly keeps Falcon’s pencil for himself until he’s called out for it.
Number 5: Talk to the hand
On a number of occasions, a raised hand speaks for its owner. It happens at the auction, it happens at Columbo’s bar, it happens at the restaurant. Twice is a coincidence, but three times? Maybe 4 or even 5. It is a theme. It’s about self control and knowing when to stop.