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!
14 out of 16 found this helpful