In the second film of the series (and not a second part of anything), Gay Lawrence, aka The Falcon, is about to depart the city to marry his fiancée, Helen Reed, when a mystery girl, Rita ... See full summary »
Vincent Van Der Lyn, a Dutch freedom fighter in WWII, is forced to neutral Lisbon to escape the Nazis. There he meets a small band of underground conspirators. The group's leader, Ricardo ... See full summary »
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George B. Seitz
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
Sister Grimm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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 »
I like Ricardo Cortez in everything I've seen him do. He was an excellent actor who never really became a major star. Here, he is a fine Perry Mason. His Mason has a sense of humor. He's stylish. And he's not entirely admirable, which seems to me just right.
I also like Jane Bryan, who is most appealing as the female member of a troubled household. The other performers are fine, though not memorable.
It's hard not to wonder why Warner Brothers used a gray and white cat for the title character. Surely it would have been easy to find a cat that would have been both black and well behaved on the set.
There are a few other inconsistencies. One I noted is that Mason calls the caretaker of this wealthy family at their home. Is it, was it ever, standard to call servants at their employers' primary number? (Sure, my cleaning guy, who's here for two hours every two weeks, gets a call now and then; but he is a painter and this is far from a mansion.)
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