Thatcher Horton is owner of a Denver sports arena and a couple of sports teams. Bobby Spencer a friend of Ken was one of his hockey players. It seems that Horton verbally promised him that ... See full summary »
After a high school track runner, named Laura, suddenly dies from a heart attack after finishing a 30-second 200-meter race, a killer wearing a sweat suit and a fencing mask begins killing ... See full summary »
E. Danny Murphy
Thatcher Horton is owner of a Denver sports arena and a couple of sports teams. Bobby Spencer a friend of Ken was one of his hockey players. It seems that Horton verbally promised him that he would take care of him if he gets injured, which happened. Now it seems that Horton is reneging and he has asked Ken to represent him in his suit against Horton. Bobby threatened Horton and not long after that Horton was killed and the murder weapon was found in Bobby's possession. So Perry comes to help defend Bobby. It seems that Horton was not liked by other people including his wife and son, and it also seems that the killer was a professional assassin, so did one of them hire him? Written by
Ken Malansky is doing a friend (ex-hockey star Bobby Spencer) a favour by representing him in very bitter negotiations with Thatcher Horton - owner of a sports arena and the teams that use it. When things go badly, Bobby storms out making threats - that come back to haunt him when Horton is murdered by a hitman. Ken goes to Perry Mason for help defending Horton while he starts looking for the hitman who was hired to do the job; tasks not made easier by Bobby's temper and the fact that Ken's fiancé, Amy, wants to be involved in the investigations again.
Perry Mason TVM's are all pretty much the same and if you like one you'll like the vast majority of them. This one is no exception as it does all the usual stuff without any of it really impressing too much, but just doing enough to get by. The plot here offers up the potential for a bit of glamour - a chase at a big game perhaps? Or a whole range of athletes being under suspicion? However it doesn't really use the venue well - at most we see one player `shooting hoops' in an empty stadium. This is still OK but I couldn't help wondering what a slightly bigger budget would have allowed. As it is, the mystery goes the usual places - Mason goes around stirring up clues and red herrings while Malansky does his action stuff in pursuit of the killer.
Mason's red herrings are quite good here and there are some good twists and turns - twists that actually fit inside each other this time as opposed to just being distractions until the real twist comes. Malansky's stuff is OK but is detracted by the presence of Amy Hastings (still kicking around from her own court case); this was her final appearance and it is for the best as it would have got harder and harder to use her effectively. Although I would have liked to see a bigger team of sportsmen, the film's small group of suspects allows them to be more interesting. They each are used well and it could be any of them. Of course - don't assume from this that the film is great - it isn't anything special, but if you like the series then this is good enough.
Burr is good and comfortable in his role, although Hale is practically invisible here. Moses continues to settle into his role and his stuff with Paul would better with a better script - they do have chemistry and she is a good actress when given the chance. The support cast is pretty good - Belafonte is unmistakably her father's daughter and is quite good, as is the basketball player despite not being that good an actor generally. The better roles are given to Greenwood and Hall as their bits are interesting, and of course Roberts as Horton himself. McEachin is good in his usual role, but Mahaffey is no match for Mason as the DA.
Overall this is a good film in the series but is not different or special enough to win over anyone who dislikes the other films. The story is good despite not being used to it's full potential and the cast is pretty good.
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