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Featured TV on DVD Review: Perry Mason: Movie Collection: Volume 4

October 19th, 2014

Perry Mason: Movie Collection: Volume 4 - Buy from Amazon: DVD

We are getting close to the end of the Perry Mason TV movies. There's just one more release and this series is done. This week, I finally get to Volume Four, which came out at the beginning of the month. (In my defense, the screener didn't arrive till Thursday, along with a ton of late screeners.) How do these mysteries compare to the original TV show? Are they better than the previous TV movies? Or is the quality dropping?

The Case of the Glass Coffin

Peter Scolari guest stars as David Katz, a world-famous stage magician, who had a one-night stand with one of his many magician's assistants, Kate. Kate blackmails him into giving her the featured role in the finale, the Glass Coffin. Needless to say, she is murdered that night during the performance. The cops learn the prop coffin that is used in the finale was sabotaged and David is the prime suspect. Perry Mason obviously agrees to defend him and there are certainly a lot of other suspects.

The Case of the Fatal Fashion

Valerie Harper guest stars as Dyan Draper, the editor of a fashion magazine, and more or less awful person. In the opening scenes of the movie, she ruins the careers of a fashion designer and an aspiring actress, and she seems to have fun doing it. While she's at lunch, we see Perry Mason and Della Street at the same restaurant. There, Della bumps into Lauren Jeffreys, one of her friends and the editor of a different fashion magazine. Lauren and Dyan have words and Lauren leaves. That night, while Dyan is writing her monthly hit column, Lauren comes by to talk to her... and is the last person to see her alive. Fortunately, she has a good friend who can help.

The Case of the Fatal Framing

This movie begins with a police chase involving a man and a woman on a motorcycle. He loses control and crashes into a river, presumably dying in the process. Five years later, Truman York returns. We soon learn that after the accident, Truman and Phillip Graff faked Truman's death so that the price of his art would go up. He came out of hiding when he learned an art curator, Renee Nurian, has been selling forgeries. It isn't long before his life is in danger. It seems while he survived the crash, the woman didn't, and her husband, Joel McKelvey, wants revenge and comes really close to shooting him. When Turman York winds up dead, Joel is arrested. However, Joel is friends with Ken Malansky, so Perry Mason is on the case.

The Case of the Reckless Romeo

The film starts with Perry Mason being interviewed by Charley Adams, but she's being a bit of a pain. She works at the same network that Ted Mayne works at. Ted Mayne is a sleazy talk show host and he just wrote a book where he reveals intimate details about some of the famous and powerful women he slept with. We he winds up dead, Perry Mason defends Roxanne Shields, one of the women he ratted out on.

The Case of the Heartbroken Bride

Perry Mason and Della Street are at the wedding of the daughter of a friend, Max Parish. The daughter, Kaitlynn, is a pop star, and the press and fans are hounding her. One of the fans even sneaks in. It's a normal wedding, besides that, as the groom-to-be, Gary, is nervous. His sister, Hannah, is about to take the bar exam, so she's excited to see Perry Mason. The wedding takes an ugly turn when Gary's uncle Alonzo shows up drunk. He and Max used to be business partners, but that relationship went sour, so much so that Alonzo wasn't even invited to the wedding. Fortunately, the security is able to take care of him with one well-placed punch. They drag him to the study and prepare to get on with the wedding. Kaitlynn goes to talk to Alonzo, but when people go to check in on her, she's standing over his dead body.

The Case of the Skin-Deep Scandal

Morgan Fairchild guest stars as Alana Westbrook, the head of a cosmetics company. She announces to the world that they have a new wrinkle cream coming out and that she's using it. Also, she's 62 years old. After yelling at a lot of people, she throws a birthday party for herself. Afterward, she's shot dead and the formula for the new wrinkle cream is stolen. Her husband, Arthur, is charged with the murder. Fortunately, he went to law school with Perry Mason.

Compared to the first three volumes, I think Volume Four is the weakest volume to come out so far. The movies are not terrible compared to the previous movies, just weaker enough to be noticeable. The mysteries are a little less compelling this time around, which is obviously a huge concern. It is still worth checking out if you really like Perry Mason, but the average episode of the original show is better.

The Extras

There are no extras on the three-disc set.

The Verdict

Like the previous volumes, I think it is better to wait to buy Perry Mason: Movie Collection: Volume 4 to when it comes out on three separate DVDs. It will almost certainly be cheaper then. The movies are still good enough to be worth watching, but hopefully the last volume will bounce back in quality.

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Filed under: Video Review, Linda Blair, Raymond Burr, Ronny Cox, Morgan Fairchild, Valerie Harper, Mark Moses, William R. Moses, John Rhys-Davies, Peter Scolari, David Soul, Beau Starr, Jane Carr, Geraldo Rivera, Adam Storke, Diana Muldaur, Tracy Nelson, Patrick O'Neal