Featured TV on DVD Review: Perry Mason: Movie Collection: Volume 1
After the Perry Mason TV series ended, the show was mostly dormant till the 1980s when a series of TV movies came out. I got a chance to review Volume Two and this week I'm reviewing Volume One, sort of. The six movies from Volume One are be released as Double-Features, for those who liked one or two of the movies, but not all of them. Are they worth picking up? Or is the full volume a better deal?
Perry Mason Returns
It has been a long time since the TV show ended and Perry Mason is no longer a defense attorney; he's a judge. Della Street is working for Arthur Gordon, of Arthur Gordon Industries, a.k.a., the murder victim. We see him arrive home to his surprise party were he tells his second wife and children from his first marriage that he's cutting them off. His new will is being drawn up in the morning. That night, someone, some man, dresses up like Della Street and kills him framing her in the process. When she's arrested, Perry Mason resigns as a judge in order to defend her. They need a private eye and hire Paul Drake, Jr.
The Case of the Notorious Nun
The movie begins with a priest praying in a church who is nearly killed by a man dressed up as a priest. Only a nun comes into the church and interrupts him. It seems the priest, Father Thomas O'Neil, has been looking into the books of the local diocese and found some irregularities and that has made him some enemies. Before he can make any final decisions, he's killed by the same fake priest and Sister Margaret is framed. Normally the cops wouldn't take this seriously, but the killer plants evidence that she and the father were having an affair.
The Case of the Shooting Star
The movie begins on a movie set where a take is ruined because the blanks in the gun don't go off. The actor / director is Robert McCay, who goes to speak with his leading lady, Kate Huntley, but finds Eric Brenner. Eric explains Kate went out for dinner with Steve Carr. When Robert gets to the restaurant, he gets really possessive with Kate and eventually gets into a scuffle with Steve. The next day, he's going to sneak onto Steve Carr's talk show, so he asks to borrow a gun from the prop master to shoot Steve with. It's going to be loaded with blanks and it is just supposed to be a joke and it is supposed to be a secret. However, he was wearing his mike when he said it, so several people heard. The prank goes off without a hitch, or at least Robert thinks so. It isn't until he is told by the maitre'd at the restaurant that Steve is in the hospital that he realizes the gun was loaded with live ammunition and not blanks. He rushes to the hospital, but homicide grabs him before he can leave the restaurant.
The Case of the Lost Love
When a Senator dies, there are three people on the short list, including Laura Robertson. At least that's what the public thinks. In reality, Laura Robertson has already met with the governor and has the appointment. Of course, there won't be an announcement until next week, because the old Senator just died. Before the announcement, her husband, Glenn, gets a call from someone saying he could destroy Laura's chances of getting the appointment, because he has sensitive information. He demands $50,000 from Glenn or he will give the information to the person who hired him to steal it. However, when Glenn gets the money and goes to the drop place, the blackmailer is dead and the papers are gone. Unfortunately, he trashes the room looking for them and there's a witness of him leaving, so the cops arrest him and have a really strong case.
The Case of the Sinister Spirit
Perry Mason gets a call from Jordan White , a publisher. One of his most profitable writers, David Hall, got into a dispute over his last book, so he wrote a character in his new one that is clearly based on Jordan and Jordan wants to know if he can sue. Perry Mason tells him to talk to David face-to-face before taking the drastic step of suing. Jordan had already agreed to meet with David at a hotel in Colorado. When he gets there, it is empty except for two people who work there, Andrew Lloyd and Susan Warrenfield. David rented the entire hotel for the weekend so the only people there will be his guests, this includes Jordan, as well as two psychics, Donald Sayer and Michael Light, and Maura McGuire, an actress. After David performs a few pranks, the guests are all mad at him, Jordan is mad enough to physically attack David. He gets ready to leave but David asks him to meet with him first. Of course when he gets there, David is dead. More specifically, just as he gets there, David body is plummeting to the ground and Susan sees him.
The Case of the Murderous Madam
Della meets an old friend, Tony, who has a new wife, Suzanne. He's blissfully happy, but also unaware than his wife has a secret. They rent their house out for lunches to clients who want to impress. Business people who want to look like they don't need to borrow the money they are asking to borrow; that kind of thing. Today, there are four bankers coming by, Steve, Richard, Leonard, and Edward, but Suzanne has something up her sleeve. She bugs the place to record everything and hires one of her old friends, Miranda, to act as a waitress of sorts. The plan works out great, but the person she is working with calls and she ups her price. That might have been a mistake, as she is attacked and murdered. Shortly after, Tony arrives home to find the body and when the cops show up, they find evidence that proves Suzanne was a madam before she met Tony. Tony reacts poorly (he punches a cop) and is arrested for murder.
So overall how are these six TV movies? I think they are overall better than last time. The mysteries were good in volume two, but they are a little better this time around. The acting is just as strong with a number of great guest stars in the six movies. Overall, they are on par with the average episode of the Perry Mason TV series, maybe a little bit better. As for the individual discs, none of them are significantly better than the others. If you like the show enough to buy the TV on DVD releases as they came out, then all three of these are worth picking.
There are no extras on the three-disc set.
All three discs from the Perry Mason Movie collection coming out this week are worth picking up. Normally this would mean the Volume One collection is the better deal, but buying them individually is actually cheaper.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2014-06-06