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  • After the disgraceful silliness of THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS, Warren William's Perry Mason seems back on firm ground in a film that takes itself much more serious without forgetting to include healthy doses of character humor. What sets this one apart from the others is Perry & Della getting MARRIED (a development completely forgotten in the follow-up that starred Ricardo Cortez) and Perry being the #1 murder suspect, having been to see the victim moments before he was bumped-- a situation he has all too often had to get his clients out of-- including the woman's husband in this case. She had threatened both Perry and her husband with a gun, and would only NOT be a suspect to anyone watching this because it would just be "too obvious"!!

    Of WW's 3 Dellas, my favorite, Claire Dodd returns after having been absent from the previous installment. All 3 Dellas in the first 4 pictures have something to recommend them, I just happen to think Dodd is the most attractive (though Genevieve Tobin's was without a doubt the FUNNIEST). Sadly, Allan Jenkins, who played in cop in ...THE HOWLING DOG and "Spudsy" Drake in eps. 2 & 3, is replaced here by Eddie Acuff, who just doesn't seem to "work". Very oddly, Olin Howard returns as Coroner Wilber Strong from ...THE CURIOUS BRIDE, after having played a different doctor in the previous film! (Did anyone at Warner Brothers care about "continuity" in this series??)

    The standard routine of set-up, murder, investigation and courtroom expose so far is limited to ...THE HOWLING DOG. In WW's other 3 films, he solves the murders at a dinner party, in his office during a medical check-up, and at the hang-out of the killer before moving on to the street in front of a hotel. The only time we see the inside of a courtroom in this film is when Perry & Della get hitched-- and when she tries to have it annulled. CRAZY!!

    The other point of interest for me was actress Carol Hughes (my favorite "Dale Arden" from 1940's FLASH GORDON CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE) who is almost completely unrecognizable in here due to bright blonde hair and a southern accent.

    I love Warren William's Perry Mason-- I DO! And I wish he'd done a lot more of these. But I also wish he'd done more like the 1st one, where at least, despite the huge differences, I could actually recognize the format and the character of the "real" Perry Mason, instead of this rambling comedic chaos WB kept foisting on audiences!
  • Perry Mason and Della Street marry at the beginning. I don't think that ever happened in the TV series.

    This is a sleek, stylish movie, with good acting and chic sets.

    I had forgotten that Wini Shaw was in the opening credits and was wondering who that fabulous fatale femme could be. In a dark wig she is very persuasive as the precursor to the betraying woman of film noirs, which would follow a few years later.

    What a talent she was!
  • "The Case of the Velvet Claws," made in 1936, is a Perry Mason mystery that has Della and Perry as newlyweds starting off on their honeymoon. In the TV series, and even more in the TV movies later on, there was always that unspoken love between Della and Perry - and no one knew what went on after office hours. In real life, Erle Stanley Gardner married his secretary Jeanne right before he died, I suppose so she could inherit. So in some sense, the Perry-Della thing was modeled on his real life.

    The two don't get to start their honeymoon because a woman (Wini Shaw) kidnaps Perry at gunpoint. She pays him $5000 to make sure a story about to be published in a tabloid about a politician doesn't come out - because it's about him and a woman, and she's the woman. Perry later finds out she's the wife of the owner of the paper! When the owner is found dead, Perry's own client blames him for the murder.

    Warren William gives his usual lighthearted, devil my care performance. Even though his portrayal has nothing to do with Perry Mason, he's a riot. Instead of Paul Drake, he has some sort of an assistant named Spudsy Drake. The exotic-looking Winifred Shaw brings class and spark to her character. Who can forget her "Lullaby of Broadway" opening in "The Gold Diggers of 1935?" She had a very special quality. For some reason, her career died. Probably Warners failed to pick up her option in 1939. A shame.

    I enjoy these films, but don't confuse them with Erle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason. He hated these movies.
  • Perry Mason and Della Street burst into the courtroom, a noisy crowd at their heels. Boldly interrupting proceedings, Mason announces that he wants the judge to marry him and Della immediately. They're going on a honeymoon then he's giving up his criminal law career: "I have promised Della to become a sober filer of briefs." –Alas, when they get back to his apartment, there's a woman hiding in the bedroom with a gun, and the honeymoon is off.

    A good balance between humor and suspense keeps this picture zipping along. Warren William dominates proceedings from start to finish in a flamboyant performance that is alternately silly and clever.

    Of course there's a murder, and the strong plot has the murder victim's wife—who may be guilty herself—accusing Mason of the crime, forcing him to hide out in a hotel and rely on assistant Spudsy Drake to do research and legwork. Eddie Acuff is more comical than serious as Spudsy; he and Claire Dodd (as Della) are both very good.

    A rather wild climactic gathering-of-the-suspects has Mason passing around kleenexes—over the course of the picture, just about everybody has caught his cold!

    Great fun.
  • After a couple of seasons of the Perry Mason TV series (1950s-1960s), viewers were waiting and watching for the episode in which Mason would finally marry his secretary, Della Street. But the wait continued through more than two dozen TV movies in the 1980s and early 1990s. And Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale never did tie the knot. Actually, that was true to the Mason story as written by Erle Stanley Gardner in some 82 novels. Gardner wrote his novels up until his death in 1970, two of which were published after his death. And, while his readers knew that the criminal lawyer and his trusted right-hand woman would never marry, there was that hope among viewers that somehow the union would be made in one of the last films.

    The reason for that hope sprang, no doubt to some extent, from the earliest Perry Mason movies. Way back in 1936, Perry and Della did marry, and it was in this, the fourth film which was made in 1936. Warren William and Claire Dodd had the roles in a script that was built around the couple's marriage. Gardner may not have liked the way his hero was portrayed in the early films, but William made an excellent Mason who was more sleuth and detective than lawyer. And the Warner Brothers team that wrote the marriage into this film made it work well.

    The mystery of the book is still in "The Case of the Velvet Claws." But here it is cleverly developed around Perry and Della's marriage. And the marriage, honeymoon night with many interruptions, and periodic reunions of the newlyweds add wonderful humor to the story. This is a very enjoyable film, start to finish. I especially enjoyed how Perry handles a double-cross. Not just once, but twice. I think others will too. The only sad thing about this film was that it was to the be the last with Warren William in the lead role.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    (Some Spoilers) More like a 1930's screwball comedy then the serious and overly complicated courtroom drama that your used to seeing "The Case of the Velvet Claws" has Perry Mason, Warren William, acting like a chicken without a head not knowing what crimes are exactly going on in the movie much less knowing how to solve them.

    Perry himself is implicated in the murder of business tycoon George Belter, Joe King, by his estranged wife Eva, Wini Shaw. The funny, if you can call it that, thing about all this is that Perry was in fact hired by Eva, using a phony name, to get George's sleazy exploitive rag "Spicy Bit's" to kill a story that it's about to publish. The story has her, or the other woman, having an illicit affair with happily married and straight as an arrow State Senator Peter Milnor, Kenneth Harlan.

    Perry who at the beginning of the movie tied the knot with his long suffering, in putting up with him, and faithful private secretary Della Street, Claire Dodd, never got a chance to spend his wedding night together, in blissful harmony, when he was kidnapped by Eva Stuart, really Eva Belter. Eva afraid of her lover, Peter Milnor, being exposed by her husbands, who runs the paper from behind the scenes, tabloid tries to get Perry to go see Spicy Bit's editor Frank Locke, Madison Richards, and talk him out of publishing the story. Perry finds out second-hand from Locke that Mr. Belter is the one bankrolling the paper and goes to see him at his mansion only to get himself kicked out by Digley, Stuart Holmes, the butler.

    It's a few minutes later after Perry was given the heave ho Eve shows up and after trying to get Belter to kill the story about her and Mr.Milnor ends up, we don't really know for sure since it all happens off camera, killing him with a single gunshot from her .32 pistol. Perry caught completely by surprise in Belter's murder and being the last person seen leaving his mansion, before he was murdered, is now the #1 suspect in his death! What makes things even worse for Perry is that he's been fingered by the person who not only was at the scene of Belter's murder but is his client as well Mrs. Eve Belter!

    Even though Perry looks and acts totally confused, as well as having walking pneumonia, he's given a break by the very favorable script at the end of the movie by solving Betler's murder by having it pinned on someone who had absolutely no reason for murdering him. ****SPOILER ALERT****With him, Belter's killer, knowing that he's, instead of his cheating wife Eva, to inherit all of his millions he suddenly pulls out a gun and plugs a shocked and surprised Betler not wanting to wait for the old man to die of natural causes! He just couldn't help himself!

    This brainless action on Belter's killers part opened him up to being blackmailed almost as soon as the gun-smoke even cleared by being spotted by Betler's maid Mrs. Veite, Ruth Robinson. Here the killer murdered someone, Geoge Betler, who was only going to help him by leaving his estate over to him and on the other hand doesn't murder the one person, Mrs. Veite, who can implicate him in Betler's murder!

    With the guilty party taken away by the police Perry can now carry on with Della as man and wife but not after he gave everyone in the cast, including Della, a serious case influenza by sneezing his head off, and in their faces, all throughout the movie and not at all bothering to see a doctor to treat him!
  • Case of the Velvet Claws, The (1936)

    ** 1/2 (out of 4)

    Fourth film in Warner's Perry Mason series once again features Warren William as the lawyer. This time out Perry is about to go on his honeymoon when a woman kidnaps him at gunpoint and asks for him to blackmail a newspaper so that her name won't be brought up in a love affair which will ruin a big politician. The bribe doesn't work but soon the woman's husband ends up dead and Mason is the suspect. This is a pretty good film that's nothing special but it makes for a quick 63-minutes worth of entertainment. The best thing the film has going for it is the performance of William who also picks up after the previous film. He's full of charm and anger this time out and those are two things William can do with ease. Sadly Allen Jenkins isn't in this one. He's replaced with a new assistant played by Eddie Acuff and he's comedy just doesn't work. The case itself is pretty good as is the ending.
  • As it turned out I happened to see the TV version that Raymond Burr did on his hour long Perry Mason show. Spoiled it a bit because I knew who did the deed. Still seeing the same story done by another actor as Mason was interesting. And was it ever different.

    This one started with Warren William as Mason and Claire Dodd as Della Street invading Judge Clara Blandick's chambers and demanding to be married. The barest hint of a romance was present on the Mason television shows. But off Della and Perry go to the apartment and then the plan is for a honeymoon lodge in the country.

    All that gets interrupted by Wini Shaw toting a gun and demanding to retain Warren William in a blackmail scheme against the publisher of a Confidential type magazine called Spicy Bits. What she doesn't tell him is that her husband is the secret owner of the rag and she's been stepping out on him with a candidate for office.

    In a confrontation Shaw actually believes she shot her husband, but as in television Perry Mason defends no guilty clients. That's a parameter not broken. And if you watched the series you know who did the crime.

    What was fascinating to me in The Case Of The Velvet Claws was how Paul Drake's character was changed from a professional well dressed William Hopper who owned his own agency to Eddie Acuff, a rather seedy looking retainer who even got into a drag to tail someone.

    The Case Of The Red Velvet Claws has some nice sparkling urban Warner Brothers type dialog handled with aplomb by William. That was a guy who did all kinds of series, Perry Mason, Philo Vance, and Michael Lanyard The Lone Wolf. And all sounded as urbane and sophisticated as Warren William was in real life.

    Definitely for fans of Warren William if not Erle Stanley Gardner's sleuth with a law degree.
  • Unfortunately this was Warren Willism's fourth and last foray in film as the omnipotent/ever-confident San Franciso(in film) lawyer Perry Mason. Warren William again gives a nice turn as the lawyer adding humorous touches with his witty deliver and his obvious talent for verbal repartee. The story; however, is not nearly as good as the previous three films as Perry marries Della Street(played again by Claire Dodd from the second Mason film The Case of the Curious Bride)and is held up when getting home from his wedding to enjoy his wedding night by a woman needing Mason's help in keeping someone's name out of a cheap gossip rag called The Tattler. The story then gets somewhat convoluted from there and William and Dodd do their best to throw one-liners everywhere they can hoping they stick. Some indeed do - but many just don't land, and that makes The case of the Velvet Claws the least of the William Mason films. The direction is not bad nor is the character acting though the guy taking over the Spudsy Drake role(Eddie Acuff) is nowhere as good as the previous actor Allen Jenkins. The fine comedic acting of Warren William - an actor who is definitely overlooked and forgotten by many - keeps this one relatively entertaining.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It is not a Perry Mason movie, really - it's Warren William playing yet another devil-may-care, debonair, witty character who is a lawyer but spends most of his time as a detective. The movie aims to be a comedy mystery and does pretty well with that but falls far short of The Case of the Lucky Legs. In part, this is due to a rather bland supporting cast - Claire Dodd as Della Street and Eddie Acuff as the unfortunately named "Spudsy" Drake are both bland and unmemorable. Their predecessors in Lucky Legs (Genevieve Tobin and Allen Jenkins) were better served by the writers and gave sparkling performances. The acting highlight goes to Clara Blandick as Judge Mary F. O'Daugherty, the judge who marries Della and Perry. Blandick is only in a couple of scenes but makes the most of them. She is probably best remembered for playing Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz. The Velvet Claws plot is a bit convoluted with Eve Belter hiring Mason (at the point of a gun) to stop the local gossip rag from publishing a story (that's both untrue and could ruin a politician's career). The rag's publisher is murdered, Belter accuses Mason of the murder - even though this accusation is not true (Belter thinks she actually committed the murder), Mason is a very forgiving sort and continues to defender her. The humorous overtone in the movie is the fact Perry and Della get married and that their honeymoon keeps getting interrupted; oh, that and the fact that Perry has a bad cold he gives to everyone he meets. This is an entertaining little programmer with the always highly watchable Warren William. Not the best in the series but it's still recommended.
  • Most films from the mid 1930's interest me and I can limply accept them as films of the past and B grade films. However, Warren William,(Perry Mason),"The Wolf Man",'41, acted like a complete clown, with a Top Hat and tucks and a very dizzy wife along with some simple minded criminals. One of the criminals tells his victim, "Since you put me in your will, please stand here so I can kill you, is this the correct spot?" There is a good possibility that I am spoiled by the Perry Mason TV series starring Raymond Burr, and all his great supporting cast. This film sadly disappointed me and I am quite sure this gem of the thirties, was shown in the local movie houses along with several cartoons, newsreel features and another B picture to go along with IT.
  • Clearly influenced by the contemporaneous Thin Man films, this entry in the Perry Mason series meets with no success in attempting to duplicate the tone, atmosphere and style of the former. Warren William tries for the casual glibness and offhand wisecracking that came so easily to William Powell, but lacks the light touch such a role requires. The story is a familiar sort of B-mystery jumble: false leads, dual identities, double and triple crosses, shady nephews, lurking housekeepers - all presented at a furious pace, with dozens of brief scenes flashing by in rapid succession. Unfortunately, they don't pass quickly enough in this flimsy effort lacking in wit, sparkle and coherence.
  • Perry Mason marries Della Street (in a ceremony performed by a female judge -- how often did you see THAT in older films) but their honeymoon is interrupted by a woman with a gun demanding Perry help her stop a scandal rag from publishing a story. Soon the paper's owner is murdered and Perry finds himself the prime suspect.

    This is the fourth in WB's Perry Mason film series and the last starring Warren William. If you're new to this series but are familiar with Perry Mason from either the books or the Raymond Burr TV show, you will be surprised by what you find here. This is Perry Mason in name only. The character in this series is pretty much your typical '30s detective, smooth with the ladies and quick with a wisecrack. Pretty Claire Dodd returns as Della Street after being replaced by Genevieve Tobin in the third film. Eddie Acuff is Perry's right hand stooge, Spudsy Drake. For his part, Warren William is...well, more of the usual Warren William screen persona that I've seen in many films from the period. He's enjoyable although, as I've said, nothing like the Perry Mason I grew up watching reruns of on TV. It's an entertaining B detective film. Nothing more memorable than that but a good time-passer.
  • The Perry Mason series of mysteries from the 1930s are some of the best mysteries one could watch. One needs to pay attention to details throughout the film to follow the twists in the plot, which in this movie is very complicated. The movies closely follow the Erle Stanley Gardner mystery novels on which they are based. The Case of the Velvet Claws holds one's interest from beginning to end as Perry Mason cleverly addresses the case of a murder he is accused of committing by the woman he has agreed to defend in the case. Warren William plays the role of Perry Mason with panache and wit, and Clair Dodd is serviceable in the role of Della Street but plays the role unremarkably and without the flair one would hope for. If you are a fan of old, intriguing mysteries, you won't be disappointed with this gem.
  • I think the writer of this Perry Mason story was either stoned or insane! After all, I can't think of any other excuse for such a strange and disjointed plot.

    When the story begins, Perry Mason is inexplicably marrying Della Street, his secretary! If this isn't hard enough to believe, Perry is kidnapped on his honeymoon by an armed woman. She later kills her husband and blames Perry...which makes little sense since Della witnessed the armed Mrs. Belter kidnap him in the first place. When the police show up at Mason's apartment looking to arrest him, his wife inexplicably says she has no idea where he is and acts as if he is a womanizer!! Does any of this makes sense? Not in the least.

    If this sort of stuff sounds nothing like the TV version of Perry Mason, you're right. In many ways, the Perry Mason movies with Warren William make the character more like the smarty pants rogue he generally played in other films. Plus, unlike the TV Perry, this one is a crime fighter versus a lawyer who spends all his time in court. Now this isn't to say the films are bad...though, unfortunately, "The Case of the Velvet Claws" IS....as it makes no sense at all and just frustrated me.
  • Nonsensical title aside, this entry in the Perry Mason series was nonsensical. See? Nonsensical sentence describing a nonsensical movie. Make sense? More so than this picture did. In this one, Perry Mason, gets married but a series of events prevents him from consummating his marriage, irritating his new wife and confounding the rest of us trying to follow an incoherent story.

    See other reviews for a plot summary, but this picture was an attempt to incorporate a mystery with screwball comedy, two popular genres in the 30's. It almost succeeds in the former but flops in the latter. The mystery moves with lightning speed and defies the viewer to follow along, while the comedy ranges from pale imitation Nick and Nora to sub-par vaudeville. Acting is good - Warren William is trapped here with bad material but soldiers through, Wini Shaw is a big shot in the arm, and Claire Dodd (Mrs. Mason) is lovely. Eddie Acuff, on the other hand, is miscast as Spudsy.

    Not a good entry in the series but an OK time-killer that is very tough to keep up with. Every so often you will feel a reel must have been missing which would explain some unanswered questions. For instance, what Velvet Claws?
  • tedg3 June 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this together with another Perry Mason film from the very same year. They could not be more different.

    The other film leveraged the detective genre and the Gardner formula. It used the twists, the detective and the trial as intended.

    This one is more of a Thin Man clone: banter, silliness. It has Perry as simply a detective. There is a twist, and it could have been very effective. (The person accused and protected by Mason believes she is the killer and tries to frame Mason.) But it gets lost in the attempt at entertainment of a different kind. I think what happened is that Warner decided to change their approach after this and get back to what makes Perry work.

    On the relationship with the audience, there is an implied link when Perry addresses a jury; that link has him directly speaking to us. In this one, that is gone and the relationship with the viewer is established in a more theatrical way: they act silly and we are supposed to giggle.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    . . . to movie goers spending dimes they scarce could afford than to see the folks projected on screen lighting cigarettes with thousand dollar bills? This hilarious bit takes place 8 minutes, 32 seconds into Perry Mason's fourth movie, THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS. And newly-minted bride Della Street Mason is not messing around with monopoly money, either. The Great Depression was caused by America's One Per Cent getting almost as greedy as they are today, latching on to nearly as big a share of the U.S. wealth, and wasting it pretty much as unproductively as today's Rich People. This period gave rise to the expression, "They've got money to burn." Without having the availability of Black Market transplant organs, personal jet planes, Platinum Starbucks Cards, and Apple Watches, Great Depression One Per Centers literally had no way to spend their money fast enough. Some of them grew depressed at this problem, and complained to President Herbert Hoover that smoking might kill them if they had to consume one cigar for every $50 or $100 bill they burned. Out of concern for the health of America's "Betters," the U.S. Treasury slapped Grover Cleveland's face on the $1,000 bill (and high rollers could light their Cubans with Salmon P. Chase $10,000 bills). VELVET CLAWS validates that the American Dream always has been to rake in enough resources from normal people to have "money to burn." I'm sure that Perry Mason himself would side in the current currency debate with those in favor of leaving Alexander Hamilton in place on our tens and Andy Jackson gracing our twenties, so that our One Per Cent folks can light their future cigars with Rosa Parks on inflation-adjusted $100,000 bills.