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

March 20th, 2016

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

Perry Mason Movie Collection: Volume Five

The fifth and final volume of the Perry Mason Movie Collection comes out this week. The original TV show is still widely considered a classic of the genre and was so beloved that nearly two decades after the original show ended, CBS began airing a series of TV movies. Over the next decade, 30 such films were made. Did the high quality last till the end of the franchise? Or did it run out of steam?

The Show

  • The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host
    A radio talk show host, Dr. Sheila Carlin, is being harassed and she asks Della Street for help. Shortly after that, her boss, Winslow Keene, is murdered and she's charged with the crime. However, there are a lot of other suspects.
    One of the better movies in this set. The mystery is good and the characters' actions made sense. ... This isn't always the case, but more on that later.
  • The Case of the Killer Kiss
    Mile High, Della Street's favorite soap opera, is in turmoil, because its star, Mark Stratton, is trying to push out the star, Kris Buckner, to give his girlfriend a bigger role. When he's killed on set, Kris Buckner is charged, but Della gets Perry Mason to help.
    This is the last appearance by Raymond Burr as Perry Mason and there's a sentimental attachment to the movie as a result. However, it is good in its own regard.
  • After this movie aired, Raymond Burr passed away. The series continued with a couple of of guest stars taking over the duties while Perry Mason was away. I think it would have been better to say he actually died in the series and have the first movie post-death be about solving a cold case Perry Mason was looking at just before he died. Saying, "He's in D.C." to explain why he isn't in the movie seems crass.

  • The Case of the Wicked Wives
    Dee Morrison is trying to get her husband David's photography career back on track by staging a retrospective with the four models he helped make famous. ... All of whom happen to be his ex-wives. She thinks he's having an affair with his new assistant, so when he winds up dead, she's the main suspect. Perry Mason's friend, Anthony Caruso, who is also the lawyer that handled all four of David's divorces, agrees to defend her in court.
    I really like Paul Sorvino as an actor, but I think the writers tried to give his character too much character and it didn't come across naturally. Additionally, the mystery wasn't as intriguing as it needed to be.
  • The Case of the Lethal Lifestyle
    Robin Leach basically plays himself, only a sleazy version. He is the host of a reality TV show that focuses on the lives of the rich and famous. When he is found dead, William McKenzie decides to defend the lead suspect.
    This is better than the previous episode. The mystery is more intriguing and the payoff is better. There's even some great guest stars, like Angel from Herman's Head.
  • The Case of the Grimacing Governor
    This one actually surprised me. The movie starts with a gubernatorial candidate being accused of an affair just before the election. He's called up by the woman who made the accusation and she wants to meet with him at her hotel room. He goes there and is knocked out... before being thrown out the window. I really though he was going to be framed for the woman's murder. A few months later, the politician's daughter, accuses the current governor of murdering her father. When he ends up dead, she's charged with the murder.
    The fact that I was surprised who the murder victim was is one of the good points of this movie. It also has some great guest stars, including John Spencer, Gregg Henry, and Tony Curtis. Overall, it still feels too average.
  • The Case of the Jealous Jokester
    Josie Joplin is the star of the biggest sitcom on TV. When she dies, it is learned that everyone who worked with her has reason to kill her.
    This movie has a lot of guest stars that I enjoyed watching on TV in the 1980s / 1990s, including Tina Yothers, Khrystyne Haje, and, Sledge Hammer himself, David Rasche. I love that show. Unfortunately, while the mystery is engaging while it is playing out, the end reveal makes me question the entire plot. The killer's actions don't make sense.
  • So most of the TV movies feel merely average and a couple end in ways that really hurts replay value. But overall, it's not a bad deal for fans of the show.

    The Extras

    There are no extras on the DVD, but they do have subtitles. Not every TV on DVD show from this era gets subtitles, so it is worth thanking CBS for doing that.

    The Verdict

    Perry Mason Movie Collection ends with Volume Five. It doesn't exactly go out on a high note, but if you have been collecting these releases so far, there's no reason to stop now.

    Filed under: Video Review, Paul Sorvino, James Brolin, Raymond Burr, Dyan Cannon, Tony Curtis, Molly Hagan, Gregg Henry, Hal Holbrook, Kathy Ireland, Regis Philbin, David Rasche, John Spencer, Tina Yothers, Mariette Hartley, Genie Francis, Paula Marshall, Barbara Hale, Sean Kanan, Eric Braeden, Kim Johnston Ulric, Khrystyne Haje