Lawyer Perry Mason is summoned to the Laxter mansion in the dead of night to write granddaughter Wilma out of invalid Peter Laxter's will, to keep her from marrying suspected fortune hunter Doug. Peter dies in a mysterious fire and Laxter's two grandsons, Sam Laxter and Frank Oafley, inherit his estate on the condition old caretaker Schuster and his cat Clinker are kept on. When cat-hating Sam threatens Clinker, Perry steps in and learns Laxter's death was suspicious and the family fortune and diamonds are missing. Schuster's found dead in his basement apartment, Laxter's nurse Louise is murdered with Schuster's crutch, and circumstantial evidence brings Doug to trial for Louise's death. Mason's investigation produces a surprise witness who turns the trial around. Written by
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Reportedly, Erle Stanley Gardner, the author of the books, did not approve of the casting of Ricordo Cortez as Perry Mason. He was therefore replaced by Donald Woods after doing only one movie. Ironically, many feel that Cortez' performance and this movie in general is the best of the series. See more »
The so-called "black" cat of the title is, in fact, a grey, brown, and white calico. See more »
In the 1950's I faithfully watched Perry Mason on TV and as many of my generation came to think of Raymond Burr AS Perry Mason. However I will confess that until very recently, I had never read any the novels. I started to read them more or less chronologically by copyright date beginning in the 1930's. I was delighted to view a copy of The Case of the Black Cat. Although Ricardo Cortez was a bit more charming than the literary Perry Mason, I found the story and style to be vintage Erle Stanley Gardner. I hope that if film ever revisits Perry Mason that homework is done and this film is viewed, and perhaps set as a period piece. Certainly,at a time when so many remakes are being done, there is room for a new (or rather an Old )treatment of this literary icon. Erle Stanley Gardner wrote over 100 Perry Mason novels over a thirty year period, a wealth of idea's to draw from.
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