Paramount // 1964 // 758 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // December 16th, 2012
"I remind you you've sworn to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth." -- Perry Mason
From way back in the days when this oath actually meant something, come these fifteen vintage case files, comprising Perry Mason: Season 7, Volume 2:
* "The Case Of The Ice-Cold Hands"
* "The Case Of The Bountiful Beauty"
* "The Case Of The Nervous Neighbor"
* "The Case Of The Fifty Millionth Frenchman"
* "The Case Of The Frightened Fisherman"
* "The Case Of The Arrogant Arsonist"
* "The Case Of The Garrulous Go-Between"
* "The Case Of The Woeful Widower"
* "The Case Of The Simple Simon"
* "The Case Of The Illicit Illusion"
* "The Case Of The Antic Angel"
* "The Case Of The Careless Kidnapper"
* "The Case Of The Drifting Dropout"
* "The Case Of The Tandem Target"
* "The Case Of The Ugly Duckling"
A delightfully daffy young blonde (Joyce Bulifant, Airplane!) and a handful of winning horse race tickets lead inevitably to murder. A messy Ménage à trois among Gallic expatriates, including a nebbish book clerk (David McCallum, NCIS) and a playboy ski instructor (Jacques Bergerac, Gigi) inevitably leads to murder. Whodunit? Who cares?!
Imagine a bag of Tootsie Pops, in all available flavors (italics mine). Some Pops may have more chocolate in the middle than others, some may be rounder, or chipped, and each flavor has its own corresponding color, but how different does each one really taste from the other? Close your eyes and hold your nose: how about now? The point is, but for some minor largely cosmetic distinctions, you'll either enjoy these empty calories or you won't, and the same holds true for Perry Mason episodes. If you've never been a fan, this set won't be likely to turn you.
On the other hand, if you're partial to extremely polite depictions of deception and murder (the latter mostly taking place off-screen) committed by affluent southern Californians of the "Camelot" era, you're in for a treat. Star-gazers will be happy to know that herein, they'll spot guest stars Ryan O'Neal (Love Story), Richard Davalos (East Of Eden), Mala Powers (Tammy And The Bachelor), Sue Randall (Leave It To Beaver), Jerry Van Dyke (Coach), Victor Buono (Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?), Peter Breck (The Big Valley), George Tobias (Bewitched), Pat Priest (The Munsters), Ann Rutherford (Orchestra Wives), Constance Towers (The Naked Kiss), and one of the final screen appearances of silent film superstar Francis X. Bushman (Sabrina), among the riff-raff and wrongly accused.
In customary fashion, Paramount serves up another batch of sparkling black and white, full screen standard definition transfers, with crisp mono sound and the greatly appreciated option of English SDH captioning. No extra features, as usual, but there is an inherent bonus: three appearances by Perry's oft-mentioned but seldom seen law office receptionist, Gertie (played by Connie Cezon, frequent foil of The Three Stooges, and a perfect human embodiment of the kewpie doll).
In his fifth season review, Verdict Judge James A. Stewart wrote that "most of these episodes gave me the feeling that I'd watched them before, years ago, but I had only vague memories of them," and I can certainly relate to that feeling. This is my fourth consecutive Perry Mason (half) season review. Re-examining those three previous disc sets in preparation for this write-up, I was amazed to find I could recall almost nothing plot-wise about any of the alliteratively titled episodes I'd just recently reviewed. Upon further reflection, I realized that this didn't matter, and in a glass-half-full moment, I saw the value in these self-erasing stories: they were ripe to be replayed again and again -- talk about DVD sets with lasting value!
Not guilty, as usual!
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 758 Minutes
Release Year: 1964
MPAA Rating: Not Rated