An actor rigs a fake on-air shooting with the connivance of his friend, the show's host, but the practical joke goes horribly wrong when the gun, which he'd loaded with blanks, turns out to contain a live round.
A very nervous man named Cartwright comes into Perry's office to have the neighbor arrested for his howling dog. He states that the howling is a sign that there is a death in the neighborhood. He also wants a will written giving his estate to the lady living at the neighbors house. It is all very mysterious and by the next day, his will is changed and Cartwright is missing, as is the lady of the house next door. Perry has a will and a retainer and must find out whether he has a client or a beneficiary.Written by
Tony Fontana <email@example.com>
Perry Mason makes mention of a howling police dog after bringing in a psychiatrist to observe Arthur Cartwright, yet at no time did Arthur Cartwright ever state that the howling dog was a police dog. See more »
Excellent mystery story, the first Perry Mason film
This was the first Perry Mason film ever made, with Warren William as Mason, who is superb in the part, much better than Raymond Burr, who always annoyed me so much I could not watch the later Perry Mason films. Mason's assistant Della Street is here played by Helen Trenholme, a beautiful and talented choice, but she inexplicably left the film business after making this and one other film in 1934, and that was it. The best performance in the film is by Gordon Westcott, as a distraught client in a state of high anxiety and 'aggravated melancholia'. Unfortunately, he died not long after in a polo accident, which deprived the screen of a real talent. The direction is excellent, with lots of retreating dolly shot 'pullbacks' to add dynamism to the action. Mary Astor does well, but then when did she not? Hats off to Lightning the Dog, who is seen howling splendidly like a wolf in the initial shots of the film. I'd like to have one like that around the house, wouldn't you? Lots of character, not anybody's poodle, not a wimp. The plot of this film is wonderfully complex, a true brain-teaser. This is a Perry Mason film with serious intent, and not a pastiche. It is well worth watching.
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