American marine, David Berman, manages to get himself transferred to Paris in order to search for a hidden Nazi, Krugman that had killed his grandparents and crippled his mother. He managed to find a witness but just after she talks to David, she is run over and killed. That night, he is kidnapped by a shadowy organisation and told that Krugman is hiding under a new identity of Felix Altmann. David goes to a health spa and meets Altmann but Altmann is shot and David framed for the crime. As a old friend of the family Perry and Ken goes to France to help out but now Perry must not only free David he must find out secrets that have been kept hidden for over 45 years, secrets that certain people are still certainly willing to kill for... Written by
Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>
A solid break from formula but not totally successful
Captain Berman is in France as he tries to hunt down the Nazi war criminal who took members of his family in the concentration camp years. He is pointed to the location of this `Krugman' and confronts him - only for him to be shot by an unseen killer. As a friend of the family, Mason comes to France to defend him - and gets drawn into a world of deception in the underworld of Nazi hunters.
The films of Perry Mason usually follow the same formula every single time and, in some regards, this film does too. However the plot bravely strikes out into France and a military court-martial hearing involving Nazi's. In doing this the film appears to be more interesting but actually doesn't really succeed in what it is aiming to do. The stuff surrounding the Nazi hunt makes for more than just the usual twist at the end, but it is all a bit tidy and easy and I wasn't really gripped by it. The film scales back on Malansky's investigation and Mason's questions in order to bring in this element in terms of flashbacks, but it only seems to take the pace out of the film and make it seem rather ill at ease with itself.
The Holocaust is a difficult subject and not one that can be easily just `used' as a background for a murder mystery. The film tries to deal with it sensitively but it doesn't really know what to do with it and in the end just slots it into the formula the best it can. Aside from the weakness, I was drawn in by the film attempting to do something different for a change and enjoyed it for having the formula with a reasonable twist.
The cast is pretty average despite having quite a few well known faces. Burr is OK as Mason but parts of the film doesn't really fit his character - particularly the final shot doesn't sit well. Moses is given much less to do than normal but seems happy to just be around. Hale is not in France but, funnily enough, actually gets more lines than usual as a result! An `all star' cast is not that well used, including Ian `Lovejoy' McShane. O'Quinn is pretty good despite hamming it for all he is worth towards the end; fans of Gerry Anderson may recognise the voice of Paul Maxwell or know him from the few big American films he did (Aliens for one).
Overall this film weakens itself by trying to do something different from normal but is still worth seeing for Mason fans as the formula is still recognisable.
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