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Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990)

TV Movie  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery  -  20 May 1990 (USA)
7.0
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Perry Mason defends the husband of a famous rock singer who was found being killed after having had a tremendous discussion with her husband and her manager.

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Title: Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (TV Movie 1990)

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jack Barnett
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Sean Lassiter
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Terri Knight
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Carla Peters
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Sarah McDevitt
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Joe Dillon
Marilyn Jones ...
Becky Di Leo
Betsy Jones-Moreland ...
The Judge
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Arthur Rosenberg ...
The District Attorney
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Andy Sacks
Alan Stock ...
Harry Corcoran
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Storyline

Perry Mason defends the husband of a famous rock singer who was found being killed after having had a tremendous discussion with her husband and her manager. Written by Volker Boehm

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Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

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Release Date:

20 May 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Perry Mason - La dernière note  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

This is the only case where the victim is also the culprit. See more »

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User Reviews

A great plot, really well delivered with some nice touches and a surprising number of famous faces - the best of the Perry Mason films
2 May 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Terri Walker is a famous singer who is about to start her concert tour with a big show in Denver. Her husband and manager Jack tries to keep her happy but she is tense and uptight and takes it out on those around her. During a rehearsal she storms out refusing to do the show. After a very public fight Jack follows Terri to their flat where they have a fight. After making up, Jack leaves to pick up something for Terri, but returns to find that someone has murdered her. The police don't believe a word of it and arrest him for murder. Jack enlists the defence of his old law professor Perry Mason and the case begins to be put together. Mason interviews all those who could have had Terri killed while Malansky tries to track down the killer who was contracted to kill her.

The films of Perry Mason are often very much of a muchness - even fans such as myself have to admit that they are never that good even if the formula always seems to work reasonably works. Basically the rule is, if you like one then you'll like the majority of them. The Case of the Silenced Singer uses the basic formula that the series is famous for (Mason interviews suspect after suspect, Malansky/Drake chases a lead and the case ends in a twist) but it does it better than I have seen before (and I have seen the majority of them). The plot here is the basic murder case but it is well written and a lot more engaging than usual. On top of this the delivery is much better than usual. Instead of Mason just interviewing people, we actually get flashbacks and more insight than usual. Malansky's investigation is also a lot tougher than usual and the killer, Harry, is a lot more of a threat than other hitmen in the series. Malansky usually is stuck with a dipsy female sidekick in his investigations but here he has woman trouble more than anything else and it makes it more fun. Of course it isn't perfect and it does have flaws (surely Harry would have killed Ken at some point? He had enough chances to do so and get away) but lets not forget that the whole series is a series of tv movies and this marks itself out to be one of the best of the bunch. However, with an ending that, while a little difficult to swallow perhaps, still stands out as very different from the usual Mason fare.

On top of this the film has managed to gain a pretty starry cast - albeit over time. Burr is good as Mason but he lets others act here and he saves his performance for the court case where it belongs. Moses is also good here as he is given more of a meaty section of the film and rises to it. Hale is barely in the film but her loss is our gain as the time goes to a great cast. Reid is good and is recognisable from sitcoms from tv (Sister, Sister for example) and Alan Stock will also be a surprise face for those watch the UK show Dream Team! Also Rachins will be well known from LA Law. Angela Bassett has an early role and she impresses even with little time. Another surprising role was the beautiful Nia Peeples (recently in Half Past Dead) who played Malansky's love interest with a lot more heart than the others have - but she does benefit from a more interesting character than usual. Alice Ghostley has a small role but may be vaguely recognisable for a few roles in big films in the 1960's. Vanessa Williams does really well and is rewarded in a way that most `victims' in the series are not - by being given more time in the flashback scenes. The music has dated but it makes it more interesting and helps us see Terri as a person rather than just the unpleasant person that we see at the start.

Overall this is a great Mason film, as much by design as by good fortune. It sticks to the usual formula in essence but it changes it enough to improve it - by using the flashbacks, darkening Malanksy's plot, using his female partner really well and allowing the characters to be more than the usual one dimensional red herrings that they often become. The film also benefits from a cast that has become more famous with time (in particular very good turns from Bassett, Peebles and Williams) and the plot itself is stronger than ever - a plot only made better by a conclusion that is a lot better than the usual twist out of nowhere. Those who have only half enjoyed Mason movies in the past will find this to lack the usual weaknesses, meanwhile fans like me will be really pleased with a film that is easily the best of the whole series.


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