Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Warner Archive Pick of the Week: Perry Mason The Original Warner Bros. Movies Collection

Like most of you, when I think of Perry Mason, I think of Raymond Burr and then the ever famous theme song begins to play in my head. Well as the back of this dvd exclaims, this is "Not Your Poppa's Perry Mason!". No Raymond Burr to be found here. Mostly Warren William(he's the titular hero in four of the six films, with Ricardo Cortez and Donald Woods rounding out the series). Warren William is an actor I've only really come to discover this year, but once he got his hooks in me, I've sought out and enjoyed many of his films. He's reminiscent of a Barrymore of some kind. He also has a light spritzing of Caesar Romero to his face. He carries off a very commanding screen presence in general. So far this year I have wandered across such William gems as: EMPLOYEE'S ENTRANCE, SKYSCRAPER SOULS, THE MIND READER and SATAN MET A LADY. He is certainly a guy worth seeking out. I think my first exposure to the love for him came from Cliff Aliperti's wonderful Warren William site and it is a great place to start.
The set includes six films as I mentioned and they are as follows:
THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG(1934), THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE(1935), THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS(1935), THE CASE OF THE VELVET CLAWS(1936), THE CASE OF THE BLACK CAT(1936) & THE CASE OF THE STUTTERING BISHOP
All the films are enjoyable, but I think I liked the Warren William films the best. My favorites are probably THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE & THE CASE OF THE LUCKY LEGS, mostly because they included the great and nearly unheralded Allen Jenkins as "Spudsy", who acts as Mason's "muscle" so to speak. A fun character for sure. And as a bonus, CURIOUS BRIDE was directed by the great Michael Curtiz. That film ranks right up there with Curtiz's KENNEL MURDER CASE for me. Good stuff.
The set can be purchased at Warner Archive's shop -- HERE.




That Caesar Romero look.



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