The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935) Poster

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A Dipsomaniacal Mason
David (Handlinghandel)4 December 2005
Warren William is a heavy-drinking Perry Mason in this highly entertaining outing. Della Street is given wit, beauty, and a touch of pathos by the underrated Genevieve Tobin. The rest of the cast is superb, with no exceptions. For a movie that came out after the Code, it is quite racy. The title refers to a contest in which ladies do not show their faces but compete as to the most beautiful stems. And what a group we see! Lyle Talbot was a decent leading man during this period. He was nice looking. It's always hard for me not to think of his Ed Wood performances when I see him in these early movies, though.
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A classic whodunnit/comedy featuring the great Warren William
ClubSoda10 March 1999
When I sat down to watch this I thought, another Perry Mason movie. I have always loved Perry Mason but this is the best damn one you will ever see. As well as having a great plot and whodunnit side to it, it has got to be the funniest movie you are ever likely to see. A classic scene arises at the end of the movie when Perry has gathered everyone together to announce the killer, at the same time that the doctor is giving him a physical. If you are into comedy/whodunnit movies then I highly recommend this one.
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Perry Mason - the happy drunk!!!
kidboots13 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Earle Stanley Gardner was delighted when approached by Warner Bros. to film his Perry Mason books. Although he had only published his first - "The Case of the Velvet Claws" in 1933, it was a sensational best seller and he was able to give up law and write full time. Warren William was a great choice for Perry, he was at his best playing ruthless businessmen and had already played a popular detective, Philo Vance, in 1934. The first film "The Case of the Howling Dog" was a faithful adaptation of the book - but then MGM released "The Thin Man". Suddenly Hollywood was awash with witty, breezy detectives. Warner Bros. wanted to inject some humor and light heartedness into the Perry Mason series and while it made Gardner pack up his books and head for the hills, I think, "The Case of the Lucky Legs" is a bright and funny film with witticisms flowing thick and fast. Col. Bradbury (Porter Hall) comes to Perry Mason's office - he wants Mason to find Margie (Patricia Ellis) who has gone missing. The night before she won a "Lucky Legs" contest and went to Patton's apartment to collect her $1,000 prize. Patton is found dead and Margie is missing, but first Bradbury has to get past a sparkling Della Street (coyly played by an under-rated Genevieve Tobin) who trades wisecracks with him before trying to sober up Perry (Warren William) who is found on the floor in a drunken stupor!!! Paul Drake (Mason's private detective from the books) is missing, but is replaced by Spudsy (Allen Jenkins) - "I've got the dope" Perry says, "No, I've got the dope" Spudsy's wife responds. Apparently Patton has been running a "lucky legs" racket and there are plenty of people who have a motive for murder - including Thelma Bell (pretty Peggy Shannon) a former "Lucky Legs" winner who has followed him in the hope of getting her prize money. Shannon has the most dramatic role in the film and the camera showed that she had lost none of her haunting beauty. She is required to do some heavy emoting on several occasions - when she is not trading witty wisecracks with Mason. Perry - "Those are not the legs I'm looking for", Thelma - "Well, they were good enough to win me the "Lucky Legs" contest in Waynesville"!!! Patricia Ellis looks quite fetching as Margie but doesn't have much to do. Lyle Talbot plays Dr. Dorey, her fiancée and chief suspect, who is annoyed from the start by Margie making a spectacle of herself. Barton McLaine is fantastic as Detective "Bisy", who with his no nonsense gruffness seems as though he has wandered on to the set of the wrong movie. The most memorable thing about the movie is the sparkling banter and repartee between Tobin and William - "If Mr. Mason said he would meet you at 10 am - he was boasting", "Milk - that's a hot one - I'll have it cold", "no rice, no shoes, where's the curious bride", "all alone in the bridal suite - you must love yourself", "He said he'd love to talk to the lovely blonde - I guess he's been away so long, he's forgotten you're like", "here's my notebook - I left it over there when you and I..... but I forgot, this is your confession"!!!! And the fact that William seems to enjoy himself so much in a film that has so much humor and where he can play a happy drunk!!! Highly Recommended.
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Perry as clever & comedic shyster
richeson1 May 2003
A wonderful version of Perry Mason. Warren William is the perfect shyster, affiable, witty, lovable, funny and willing to bend the law a little for his client while skewering his adversaries. The dialog is great and pace never lags. A very good mystery with a great 30s setting. I wish WW had played Perry in a dozen of these Gardner stories.
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Great fun!
Jimmy L.20 September 2012
THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS (1935) is a delightful entry into the Warren William "Perry Mason" series. It's a breezy murder-mystery that's full of silliness. William is great as the unorthodox attorney and Genevieve Tobin is simply wonderful as his trusty secretary Della Street. William brings levity to the Perry Mason character, pulling the strings and solving the case while having a blast. Tobin is a comedic revelation in her turn as Della Street. Her performance is flirty and witty and daffy and hilarious as she handles Mason's office while he's away. Tobin is a great comedienne, and lovely, too. (She calls to mind that other great comedienne, Joan Blondell. Something around the eyes, I think.) Each "Perry Mason" film brought a new actress to play Della Street opposite Warren William, but Tobin really makes an impression in this entry. The mystery starts with a "Lucky Legs" competition racket and soon involves a murder and several suspects. Pretty young Warner Bros. contract player Patricia Ellis plays the latest winner of the "nicest legs" scam, who (along with doctor boyfriend Lyle Talbot) might be the murderer in question. Perry Mason is on the case, along with his associate on the street, Spudsy (Allen Jenkins). The supporting cast also includes familiar faces like Porter Hall, Olin Howland, Barton MacLane, and Henry O'Neill. With the plot built around a "nicest legs" competition, you can bet there'll be a lot of gams on display and Warner Bros. does not disappoint. The opening scene at the Lucky Legs finals features a parade of anonymous shapely limbs. Perry Mason is even shown Ellis's neck-down contest submission photo, allowing him to later identify the girl by her $1000 legs. THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS is a quick murder-mystery programmer, but the writing and the performances are so much fun that I couldn't help but give the movie a 7/10.
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"Bradford. Bradbottom. Bradley. .."
BaronBl00d3 July 2009
As one other reviewer noted, The Case of the Lucky Legs seems to be a bit more concerned with laughs than mystery. I concur. Mason is portrayed as a lush with tendencies to make a pass at virtually any woman he meets. His assistant Spudsy Drake played by Allen Jenkins almost borders on farce at times as he tries to pick a fight in an airport and has things thrown at him by his wife. These are just two scenes where director Archie Mayo goes for much more broader humour than seen in the first two Mason films in the series. Perry gets sick on a flight, passes a cold to everyone he meets, and does his final summation in his offices to a slew of people while being given a physical as well. These comedic touches don't really detract from the film and make it a pretty entertaining film when added to the mystery - a lesser one than previously used in the two earler mason films. This time Perry must try and a help a Colonel Bradbury and the winner of a legs contest who have been swindled and duped by a conman who takes a powder after the contest with all the loot from the contest. Mason keeps mixing Bradbury's name throughout the whole film after meeting him from his floor bed in his office after a late night bender. Warren William again is the epitome of suave wit and charm releasing one-liners with great accuracy. His performance and, I might add, his worth as an actor, greatly aid this film and the other three he starred in as the lawyer Perry Mason. For the third film we have a third actress playing Della Street(Genevieve Tobin). She oozes witty charm and fits William's style almost perfectly. Jenkins, Barton Maclane, and Olin Howard reprise their roles for this third installment. Humdrum Lyle Talbot has the leading man role in the mystery as the love interest of the contest winner, played by a gorgeous Patricia Ellis. She has a fine set of attributes - nice legs too! Character actor Porter Hall plays Colonel Bradbury with some nice subtle comedic touches. This is a very entertaining film as really are all of the four films in the series starring William.
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You can sure tell that Erle Stanley Gardner had no control over these movies
blanche-25 July 2009
Erle Stanley Gardner oversaw the TV series "Perry Mason," including picking the Perry - so you can see the difference between that series and a Mason movie like "The Case of the Lucky Legs." Warren William is Mason, and his Mason is 180 degrees different from his first, more serious Mason portrayal in "The Case of the Howling Dog." Here, he's extremely flippant, he and Delta flirt constantly, and it's all a game to him in between drinks. In the first entry into the series, he has a huge office with lots of associates; here, he's a one-man office as in the books. William's Mason has nothing to do with the Erle Stanley Gardner's passionate Perry Mason of the Depression, or the steady, solid Perry of later on, but he's still wonderful - handsome, charming, debonair, and very funny. He's definitely a guilty pleasure, even though I know how much Gardner hated these films. At least in title, this is an actual Perry Mason story, and it's a good one. Warren William played heavies in silent films and emerged in talkies as a leading man. He had a great persona. Very entertaining.
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Accent is on comedy with the mystery kept to the background...
Neil Doyle1 July 2009
Entertaining as a screwball comedy, but hardly the kind of mystery and suspense one expects from a Perry Mason story. From the very opening scene, the entire story is played for comedy. A criminal cheats prize winning woman out of their contest money and is soon murdered. It's up to Mason to figure out who committed the crime and why. Since the murdered man was killed with a surgical knife, we can suspect LYLE TALBOT for awhile since he plays a doctor. PORTER HALL is the man who contacts Mason and asks him to investigate the man who has run off with the prize money. PATRICIA ELLIS is the pretty blonde contest winner who wants Mason to find the crooked contest sponsor (CRAIG REYNOLDS). GENEVIEVE TOBIN is Della Street, batting her eyes at everyone as the plays a mischievous secretary with tongue-in-cheek humor. A sample of the flippant dialog: (Mason to Lyle Talbot): "All alone in the bridal suite? You must love yourself." And later, after knocking him out briefly, "Bring yourself to life. You're a doctor." Entertaining only as a comedy. The mystery is given short shrift.
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Lively comedy beats out the mystery in "Perry Mason" series entry.
mark.waltz6 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Comedy takes over the minute the curtain rises and all you see are legs. No faces, just legs. This is a beauty pageant for gams, and nobody cares what the face looks like. I imagined the curtain rising on the winner of the best legs contest to find a face that only their mother could love. This contest is obviously fixed as the man with the money disappears and it is up to Perry Mason to find him. While there is a murder, that is inconsequential to the brittle dialog, especially the rapport between Mason (Warren William) and his hard-working secretary Della Street (Genevieve Tobin), as well as Mason's assistant "Spudsy" (Allen Jenkins) and his tough-talking wife (Mary Treen). There's the typical line-up of an abundance of suspects, mostly red herrings, but all suspicious. Forget about all of that and just enjoy it for the witty banter. That's where the entertainment lies. Everything else is inconsequential.
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