Cool and Lam (TV Movie 1958) Poster

(1958 TV Movie)

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Better reading than filming.
westernone8 June 2016
When they put this together, they were banking on Gardner's huge success with Perry Mason could be transferred to his other literary creations, private detectives Cool & Lam, they being the stars of a dozen or so successful books.

But the actual execution is problematic. Cool is a big wide matron with white hair who deals with clients and Lam is a very short man who does the detective work, and getting all the lumps. They look comical together, which runs against the overall material because you must take the crime solvers seriously for it to work. These two are more suitable for a burlesque routine. They have little charisma. It's as if they take it for granted you know these characters well already. She's supposed to be a cheapskate. okay, but she says a "cheap" thing, even when it's unnecessary-again and again, like an excuse for a personality.

But there isn't enough time to really develop any chemistry between the leads or for that matter, the story either. There's far too many clues and details to remember for a less than half hour story. If this had been in an hour format, it would flow better and been less confusing. Gardner himself (sitting in the Perry Mason office set on the sound stage at Paisano productions) makes the pitch for sponsors at the opening, but even he seems in a hurry.

Maybe this pair work out in reading their stories, but they're too cutsey and fake to be taken seriously enough here, even if the intention was to deliver a lightweight, Runyonesque farce.
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