|Index||4 reviews in total|
Ken Malansky has an old college acquaintance who has gone into business with
reformed mobster Johnny Sorrento. When Sorrento's wife is killed all
fingers point to Johnny and Mason is asked to take up the case reasoning
that everyone deserves the best defence, Mason takes the case. Mason finds
the world of the mob is one of murder and threats, while Malansky
investigates an old murder case that Johnny had been accused of until
These Mason movies are all pretty much the same innocent client who all the clues point to. Ken investigates the rough stuff while Mason questions each suspect. It all leads to courtroom questions and the twist at the end. As a result if you like one you generally like them all. However here the film tries to be a bit rougher and have a darker edge by having a mobster as a client. Mason naturally takes the case but we never see any conflict in his heart over doing this. Also the tougher edge is only added to the normal formula as a very thin top coat for example Mason occasionally raises his voice a little, or a few people get shot or killed etc. Really it didn't work that well as it didn't add to the formula, only took a little away instead.
Burr isn't as good as usual because he has this tough edge on a familiar character and it doesn't sit well witness him in a sling as if nothing happened! Hale has less to do than usual but Moses is actually pretty good with the darker subject matter. The rest of the cast are really nothing more than mobster support roles from bad mobster films they don't even reach the level of caricature! The usual `oh, look it's ..' face this time is Stephen Tobolowsky.
The courtroom looks more like a TV set than usual and the actual courtroom finale is a bit of a letdown and doesn't even manage the usual average tension. The end result is a standard Mason setup that is spoil by little extras that the formula didn't need the darker edge didn't work. Overall a sub-par outing in the series that plays slightly above par.
Television has never seen a more ethical attorney than Perry Mason, as
is well known he never takes on a really guilty client. But this
particular Mason television film really plays it close to the edge in
the realm of lawyer/client privilege.
If I'm wrong some lawyers or law student will no doubt write and correct me, but in this particular film Raymond Burr is defending mobster Michael Nader who is charged with murdering his wife. Nader is one of the darker characters that Mason has ever defended either in the two hour films or the one hour television series from the Ffities and Sixties.
Nader's wife Gwynyth Walsh is killed when someone fires a bullet into a speeding car Walsh is driving causing her to lose control and the car hurtle over a cliff. Of course there's no lack of suspects as usual.
But in order to get at the truth, Burr actually let's it come out that his client actually did another murder some time earlier. The two crimes are indirectly linked. Maybe I'm wrong but the fact that he got his own client nailed for another murder to acquit him of the one he's defending him for seems to be stretching the lawyer/client privilege issue out of shape. I think the Bar Association might have had something to say on the issue.
Still it ends as all Perry Mason stories do with the guilty part unmasked. Not someone you would have suspected given the kind of parts this individual normally plays.
Probably the worst entry in this series. Perry Mason defends a reformed mobster framed for the murder of his wife. There's something unpleasant about Mason being involved with this type of defendant and his cronies. There has to be something wrong when Perry has harsh words for both Della Street and Ken Malansky. Even NBC chose not to screen the movie during sweeps.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS**** This turned out to be one of Perry Mason's, Raymond
Burr, most heart-breaking as well as baffling cases. A case after it
was finally over with Perry, as you would have expected him to, getting
his client off hoped that he never had anything to do with it.
Called in by his good friend financial expert and attorney Frank Halloran, Mason Adams, to handle his client ex-mobster Johnny Sorrento, Michael Nader, capital case in the murder of his wife Maria, Swynyth Walsh, Perry is very hesitant at first in taking it. Against his better judgment and the judgment of his private secretary Della Street, Barbara Hale, and assistant an d human punching bag Ken Malansky, William R. Moses, who always,in every one of the Perry Mason mystery movies, takes a licking but keeps on ticking Perry takes the murder case that almost has him ending up being a murder victim himself! It was Maria catching her cheating husband in the arms of part-time model and aspiring actress Karen Tatcher, Beverly Leech, that had her throw a fit get herself good and drunk at the Calder Estate where her husband,now a big time and legitimate businessman,was finalizing a business deal. Jumping into Johnny's sports car Maria driving drunk ends up falling to her death, after her cars tires were shot out, down a 250 foot Rocky Mountain cliff . Being the #1 suspect in his wife's murder in him threatening her in public at the Calder Estate, as well as finding his high powered rifle at the murder scene, to kill her if she tries to devoice him Johnny is now facing life or even worse if he, with his long criminal record,is convicted.
Even though Perry did his best to get his client Johnny Sorrento off the hook Johnny himself stupidly and brainlessly did everything in getting himself convicted in his wife's murder! The not that bright Johnny goes so far as to pay a couple of hoods who once worked for him to stage a fake drive-by shooting,in order to gain sympathy, that almost had his lawyer Perry Mason killed in the process! We also get to see Johnny's estrange 23 year-old son Jeff, Sean Kanan, who want's to have nothing to do with him blaming Johnny for his mom's, Maria Sorrento, murder with Perry playing "matchmaker" in trying to get father and son back together again. This leads to a strange reunion at the conclusion of the movie where despite finding out what a low down and dirty rat his father really is and always was Jeff's somehow finds it in his hear to forgive him!
***SPOILERS*** The most shocking as well as mind boggling sub-plot in the film is the actual murderer of Maria who was in fact responsible for the murder of drug dealer Ray Dominic some three years earlier. This had to do with Jeff's then drug addiction that Johnny held Dominic, Jeff's drug supplier, responsible for. Using the same tactics and hit-man who was himself knocked off later in the film, in order to keep him from talking, had the some thing done to Maria!
A real bummer for Perry Mason who had no trouble exposing Maria's killer, who in fact hired someone to murder her,in him leaving a paper trail with his fingerprints and signatures on it that stretched as far as Seattle to Boston! The guy found out the hard way that Perry was a hell of a lot smarter then he gave him credit for.
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