An actor rigs a fake on-air shooting with the connivance of his friend, the show's host, but the practical joke goes horribly wrong when the gun, which he'd loaded with blanks, turns out to contain a live round.
Della meets up with an old friend, a child that she used to baby-sit and she and Perry are invited to meet the friend's new wife, Suzanne. Meanwhile, Suzanne rents out her house to four ... See full summary »
An old flame of Mason's is one of those being considered to fill a vacated government position. Now, her husband's approached by a man who says he knows his wife's secret and that if this ... See full summary »
Perry is sueing a gutter trash newspaper that is running a story about a love affair between him and Della. The editor also has "dirt" files on an Army General, his banker and other "... See full summary »
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 »
Ken Malansky is a law student attending a class being taught by Perry Mason. When a friend tells him that his girlfriend was assaulted by a fellow student, Ken rushes to the university's ... See full summary »
Air Force Lt. Col. Kevin Parks was arrested and convicted for a murder of a woman and is trying to appeal for the second time when one of the first appeal lawyers, Perry, finds a new ... See full summary »
Perry has been in hospital for a knee operation but, while recovering, he sees Johnny out of the window. Johnny was a ex-stage manager for a musical called Polly in which while the star, film star, Amanda Cody, is scoring a big success, it's director Tony Franken is a right monster and after tearing through the cast and crew fires Johnny after Johnny stands up for himself. That night, Tony gets a phone call, goes down to the theatre and is shot. The police arrest Johnny and when Perry comes forward with the alibi Amanda begs Perry to represent Johnny. While Perry and Della investigate the murder, Ken and his fiancee Amy investigate the theatre's security guard Parker Newton, a huge man who got a very nasty temper but has the key to solving the murder... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
Way below average entry in the series - too many bits that don't work
A musical show is in town but all the cast are under heavy criticism from their director. One of the crew gets fired and leaves full of threats. Later that night the director is murdered and the main suspect is the same crew member. However Perry Mason witnessed the man drunk on the other side of town at the time of the murder. He stands up as a witness for the defence but is discredited as he had taken sedatives just before. He decides to defend the man instead and employs Ken Malansky to find out what the night watchman was doing at the time of the murder.
From the opening set-up this feels like it's going to be just the same as all the Mason films - which I don't mind as I like the formula. However soon after this the plot adds lots of things that are different, slightly, from the norm. We have Mason being the suspects' alibi in a scene where he is very rude to a nurse, we have all the other suspect's having overly complicated subplots behind them and we have Amy tagging along (again) on Ken's investigation after watching him defend a guilty pervert in a case from his new law practice.
These different things are the problem here because few of them work. The early scenes with Mason as a witness slow the film down and leaves less room for the full plot. The subplots are too complex (and depressing at times) and don't act as suspects but create other stories that it leaves untold. Mason himself is too grumpy and the final twist is even more unlikely and impossible to see than usual - it is just plain complex here and the final scene loses some impact as a result. Amy is a regular by this stage (being the sidekick for a few other movies) but she doesn't work - and suggestions that she is Ken's `Della' are laughable. And what's with the running gag that no-one can pronounce Malansky? Never had a problem before.
Burr is not his usual self - I don't know why he played it so grumpy here and got frustrated so often but it drags the film down. Hale is OK but has nothing to do. Moses and Paul don't work well at all together here. Her sidekick role has worked the odd time but here it's forced and she is very annoying. The support cast are OK and the `oh, look it's ...' face this time is Jerry Orbach from Law & Order .
Overall this has too many elements that don't work and the film takes one step too many away from the straight simple formula by adding to it unsuccessfully. As a Mason fan even I found this to be way below par for the series.
3 of 8 people found this review helpful.
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