IMDb > Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990) (TV)

Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen (1990) (TV) More at IMDbPro »


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Up 54% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
George Eckstein (written by)
Erle Stanley Gardner (characters creator)
View company contact information for Perry Mason: The Case of the Poisoned Pen on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 January 1990 (USA) See more »
The chief suspects in the murder of an author are the numerous colleagues whom he continuously plagiarized. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Gets better towards the end but is fairly middling stuff See more (4 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Raymond Burr ... Perry Mason

Barbara Hale ... Della Street

William R. Moses ... Ken Malansky

Cindy Williams ... Rita Sue Bliss

Barbara Babcock ... Martha Robertson

Kiel Martin ... Max Mulgrew

Tony Lo Bianco ... Michael Garcia

David Warner ... Bradley Thompson

Earl Boen ... Mr. Tweed
Charles Macaulay ... Judge Charles Wade

James McEachin ... Lt Brock
Katherine Moffat ... Rebecca Austin
Don Reilly ... Chris Fulmer

Andy Romano ... Asst. D.A. Jack LaRusso

Largo Woodruff ... Judy Fulmer
Diane Shalet ... Mrs. Joyce
Rich Beall ... Desk Clerk

Deborah Brown ... Nurse (as Debra Brown)
Luann Buckstein ... Waitress (as Lu Ann Buckstein)
Gary Giem ... Bartender

Tracy Smith ... Reporter #2
Mimi Wickliff ... Reporter #1
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Wil Masisak ... Martha's Boyfriend (uncredited)

David Zambrano ... Duane (uncredited)

Directed by
Christian I. Nyby II 
Writing credits
George Eckstein (written by)

Erle Stanley Gardner (characters creator)

Produced by
Dean Hargrove .... executive producer
Peter Katz .... producer
Fred Silverman .... executive producer
David Solomon .... co-producer
Joel Steiger .... supervising producer
Original Music by
Dick DeBenedictis 
Cinematography by
Daniel McKinny (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Carter DeHaven  (as Carter De Haven IV)
Casting by
Carol L. Dudley  (as Carol Dudley)
Art Direction by
Paul Staheli 
Set Decoration by
Charlie Helms 
Costume Design by
Ronn Rynhart 
Makeup Department
Rosanne Bigelow .... hair stylist (as Roseann Bigelow)
Patti Dallas .... makeup artist
Brenda Moen .... hair stylist
Dee Sandella .... makeup artist
Dionne Smith .... makeup artist
Production Management
Hal Harrison .... post-production supervisor
Mike Moder .... executive in charge of production
Billy Ray Smith .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gail Joyce Fortmuller .... second assistant director
Gary Grillo .... first assistant director
Art Department
Randy Holland .... construction coordinator
Susan MacDonald-Petersen .... property master (as Macdonald-Petersen)
Sound Department
James Emerson .... production sound mixer
Eileen Horta .... supervising sound editor
Andy MacDonald .... re-recording sound mixer (as Andrew Macdonald)
Peter Reale .... re-recording sound mixer (as Peter S. Reale)
John O. Robinson III .... sound editor
Bill Nicholson .... re-recording sound mixer (uncredited)
Tony Brubaker .... stunts
Gene Hartline .... stunts
Gary Jensen .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Vincent Baldino .... camera operator
Jerry Jencks .... key grip
Bradford Lipson .... gaffer (as Brad Lipson)
Douglas O'Kane .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sharon T. Brunn .... costumer: women
Kelly Andrew King .... costumer: men (as Kelly A. King)
Katie Saunders .... costumer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
David Rosenberg .... post-production coordinator
Leslie Sackheim .... assistant editor
Location Management
Karen Beard .... location manager
Music Department
C.R. Cassey .... music supervisor
Ted Roberts .... music editor
Fred Steiner .... composer: original Perry Mason theme
Transportation Department
Gil Talamantes .... transportation coordinator
Other crew
Robert Benevides .... production consultant
Donna Colabella .... production executive
Wayne Fitzgerald .... title designer: main title
Jeff Glasser .... script supervisor
Andrea Nachman .... production coordinator
Debbie Nodella .... production accountant
Dennis Smith .... legal advisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
95 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

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9 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Gets better towards the end but is fairly middling stuff, 2 May 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

Bradley Thompson is one of many crime/thriller writers who are attending a conference, although he is there to collect an award for his work. During the ceremony Thompson is heckled by Ken Malansky, who accuses him of twisting the truth in a book he wrote about one of Perry Mason's cases. When someone fatally poisons Thompson's drink at the conference party, the police round everyone up as suspects, before charging Della's friend Martha when the poison is found in her room. Mason agrees to defend Martha and the investigation begins into the group of authors who all seem to have had a grudge against Thompson for one reason or another.

Despite starting in a rather unusual manner with a flashback of the suicide of one of Mason's clients followed by a potentially different link between Mason and the murder suspect, this film falls in with formula quite quickly once Della's friend becomes suspect number one in the case. The story is not as interesting as other films of the series and none of the writers/potential murderers really engaged me, however it still manages to do what the series usually does. Mason does his questioning while Ken chases a person who, although not the killer, is key in the case, and Della just floats around as various star guests ham up their brief spots with Burr. The film lacks tension and this is the fault of the material - the series itself is hardly a good example of how to make a courtroom thriller, but this one is particularly lacking in thrills or tension.

Burr is as solid as ever as Mason, even enjoying some good humour during the trial itself. Moses is not as good an actor as Katt but he seems to fit the basic action man role easier than Katt did and he is good value here. He has a few fun chases and these give him enough to do even if the material as a whole doesn't provide real excitement often enough. Hale has little to do yet again but it's nice to see McEachin in his usual jovial role as Brock. The `oh, look it's...' actors here are David Warner and Cindy Williams and both are OK, even if Warner has limited time and is only asked to be a monster of sorts. Romano is a reasonably well-known face thanks to recent role and he makes a good foil for Mason as the DA, even if he could have done with more material (this was his first of two appearances as this character). The rest of the authors are OK but none really make a big impression and Babcock's Martha is just way too weak and inconsequential to be an interesting suspect.

Overall, this is an OK entry in the Mason series but it is slightly less interesting than usual. It gets a bit better towards the end thanks to a couple of chases involving Ken and the usual twists in court, but generally the film lacks tension and involvement thanks to a script that is lacking urgency or genuine suspense. Fans such as myself should be still be happy enough with this film as it sticks to the usual formula and does it reasonably well. However this is fairly middling stuff.

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