25 user 9 critic

The Case of the Black Cat (1936)

Passed | | Crime, Mystery, Drama | 31 October 1936 (USA)
An bedridden eccentric millionaire, anticipating his own murder, hires Mason to help him rewrite his will, and the lawyer ends up defending the caretaker's cat.


William C. McGann (as William McGann), Alan Crosland (uncredited)


Erle Stanley Gardner (story), F. Hugh Herbert (screen play)




Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Cortez ... Perry Mason
June Travis ... Della Street
Jane Bryan ... Wilma Laxter
Craig Reynolds ... Frank Oafley
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Douglas Keene
Bill Elliott ... Sam Laxter (as Gordon Elliott)
Nedda Harrigan ... Nurse Louise DeVoe
Garry Owen Garry Owen ... Paul Drake
Harry Davenport ... Peter Laxter
George Rosener ... Charles Ashton
Gordon Hart Gordon Hart ... Dr. Jacobs
Clarence Wilson ... Mr. Shuster
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... District Attorney Hamilton Burger
Lottie Williams Lottie Williams ... Mrs. Pixley
Harry Hayden Harry Hayden ... Reverend Stillwell


Lawyer Perry Mason is summoned to the Laxter mansion in the dead of night to write granddaughter Wilma out of invalid Peter Laxter's will, to keep her from marrying suspected fortune hunter Doug. Peter dies in a mysterious fire and Laxter's two grandsons, Sam Laxter and Frank Oafley, inherit his estate on the condition old caretaker Ashton and his cat Clinker are kept on. When cat-hating Sam threatens Clinker, Perry steps in and learns Laxter's death was suspicious and the family fortune and diamonds are missing. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PERRY MASON'S BACK...and so are the thrills, suspense, and excitement of Erle Stanley Gardner's greatest mystery drama! (print ad - Lubbock Morning Avalanche -Lyric Theatre - Lubbock, Texas -May 11, 1938) -


Crime | Mystery | Drama


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Fifth of six "Perry Mason" films released by Warner Bros. from 1934 to 1937, and the first without Warren William in the lead role. See more »


The so-called "black" cat of the title is, in fact, a grey, brown, and white calico, hence the original title of the novel, "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat" would have been more appropriate, and more logical. See more »


Perry Mason: [after announcing Wilma has been cut out of a will] So what are you going to do now?
Wilma Laxter: Do you like waffles?
Perry Mason: Come again?
Wilma Laxter: I've managed to save away some money from my allowance, that way I can be independent. And I'm going to open a waffle shop, what do you think?
Perry Mason: On one condition.
Wilma Laxter: What's that?
Perry Mason: That you have plenty of melted butter.
See more »

User Reviews

Strong Film
28 February 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Case of the Black Cat, The (1936)

*** (out of 4)

Fifth film in Warner's Parry Mason series now features Ricardo Cortez in the role of the attorney. This time out an old man calls Mason to his house so that he can change his will since he's worried someone in his family is about to kill him. A few days later the old man dies in a fire but after the autopsy it turns out he was dead hours before the fire. This is a pretty solid little crime picture from start to finish and I was surprised to see it didn't suffer any from not having Warren William in the lead. Cortez actually delivers a very strong performance as the attorney and manages to come off looking and sounding like a real detective and someone with a brain in their head. The supporting cast doesn't feature any huge stars but they all fill their roles nicely. One interesting note is that the cat from the title plays a big part in the film but it's a black and white cat. One has to wonder why Warner didn't use a black cat.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 25 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.






Release Date:

31 October 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Case of the Caretaker's Cat See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page

Recently Viewed