Paramount // 1965 // 772 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // January 16th, 2013
"He has a pickle face and eats nothing but gruel." -- Witness testimony
May it please the court, the following fifteen episodes are hereby admitted as evidence of Perry Mason: Season 8, Volume 2.
* "The Case Of The Terminal Thief"
* "The Case Of The Golden Venom"
* "The Case Of The Telltale Tap"
* "The Case Of The Feather Cloak"
* "The Case Of The Lover's Gamble"
* "The Case Of The Fatal Fetish"
* "The Case Of The Sad Sicilian"
* "The Case Of The Murderous Mermaid"
* "The Case Of The Careless Kitten"
* "The Case Of The Deadly Debt"
* "The Case Of The Gambling Lady"
* "The Case Of The Duplicate Case"
* "The Case Of The Grinning Gorilla"
* "The Case Of The Wrongful Writ"
* "The Case Of The Mischievous Doll"
Legendary scream-screen siren Fay Wray (King Kong) appears as "Mambo Mignon" Germaine, a snake-worshiping night club dancer who keeps a voodoo doll as her good luck charm. She's just one of many increasingly bizarre, boundary-testing characters populating the second half of this long-running series' odd octennial season.
Incidents of violence are considerably upped for this caseload -- a motorboat explodes, one decedent is harpooned, and a beautiful blonde employs jujitsu in order to ward off some "unwanted advances," to name just a few -- but so is a fevered sense of inanity, in terms of character motivation and plot construction. As any dedicated P.M. fan knows, one has to make certain concessions, allowing for the fact that there's virtually no way to solve these mysteries by keeping track of clues; one simply must wait for Mason to coerce a blurted confession out of the guilty party (usually in the presence of a courtroom audience) in the eleventh hour.
Even so, I'd never done so much head-scratching and forehead slapping over a collection of episodes before, as the gimmicks, red herrings and McGuffins piled up in what seems to have been a frantic attempt to ensure that Perry Mason: Year Ocho would not be another season of the same old-same old.
Paramount seems bound and determined to break land speed records for releasing successive Perry Mason half-season sets (this is the fourth inside of five months), and that break-neck pace may account for the visual and audio glitches I noticed here. Not that there are many of either, or that the glitches are especially disruptive, but for the record, this latest set of standard definition, full-screen transfer showed more scars than usual. That said, collectors of this series continue to be spoiled by the general visual and audio clarity of these reruns -- remarkable, given their age.
We'll now pause for what I presume will be a very brief recess, before rejoining Perry and crew for their ninth, and final, season.
Nonsensical, but not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 772 Minutes
Release Year: 1965
MPAA Rating: Not Rated