DVD Review: Perry Mason (Movie Collection – Volume 2)

There are popular characters that can easily have a variety of actors perform them without consequences. How many actors have played James Bond, Sherlock Holmes or Hamlet? Sure people claim that Sean Connery is the only Bond. Others have their favorite Holmes. But there are some characters that get locked onto one actor. The ones who played it before were merely auditions. The actors that attempt the role later are considered impersonators. Such is the fate of Perry Mason. Can you imagine anyone besides Raymond Burr (Godzilla) approaching the bench to his swaggering theme song? Of course not. That’s why Burr returned to the role in the late ’80s instead of just hiring Jim Belushi. America loved him as Perry Mason and his TV comeback was a success. Perry Mason: Movie Collection, Volume 2 features another six episodes that give us more time with Perry and Della Street (Barbara Hale).

“The Case of the Scandalous Scoundrel” puts Perry and Della on the cover of a sleazy tabloid. Unnamed sources claim that the world’s greatest lawyer has been leaving his legal briefs on his secretary’s desk. Perry isn’t happy about being lumped in with Joan Collins and Tom Bosley in such disgusting reporting. Who can run such a nasty newspaper? How about Robert Guillaume (Benson). When the publisher turns up dead, there’s a lot of suspects including a reporter just fired because she dared to write a factual news story. Who reads those? Among the suspects are René Enríquez (Hill Street Blues), Wings Hauser (Rubber) and Yaphet Kotto (Alien). William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) returns as Paul Drake Jr. He must do even more of the heavy lifting because Burr’s health wasn’t that great. David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H*) returns as District Attorney Michael Reston. “The Case of the Avenged Ace” puts an Air Force Lt. Colonel (CHiPs‘s Larry Wilcox) behind bars for murder. He gets Perry to be a part of his appeal team. The murder seems tied to a real estate deal involving the air force base. Perry thinks he’s found a new witness, but something happens before they can get that person in the witness chair. Will this CHiP fry? Erin Gray (Buck Rogers) is part of the intrigue.

“The Case of the Lady in the Lake” puts the life of David Hasselhoff in Perry’s hands. What did the Hoff do? He might have killed his wife. Why? Because he had a mistress. Can Perry prove that the tennis pro didn’t off his wife to avoid losing in divorce court? What makes this case extra hunky is the arrival of John Beck (Moonpie in Rollerball). Imagine an episode with the Hoff, Moonpie and the Greatest American Hero? You might want to watch this episode with smelling salts in case that much hunkiness give you the vapors. “The Case of the Lethal Lesson” is what can really go wrong at law school. Perry’s teaching a class to pass his knowledge onto the kids. William R. Moses (Melrose Place) discovers a classmate has attacked his girlfriend Next thing you know, Moses is charged in the homicide of the classmate. Perry isn’t sure if he can take the case since he’s pals with the dead student’s dad (Family Affair‘s Brian Keith). Baywatch‘s Alexandra Paul joins the show taking over the legwork role from Katt.

“The Case of the Musical Murder” accuses a young man of killing a legendary Broadway musical director. That’s a crime? Shouldn’t that just be the way of the jungle? The show does give us stage legends Debbie Reynolds (Carrie Fisher’s mom), Jerry Orbach (Dirty Dancing) and Dwight Schultz (A-Team. “The Case of the All-Star Assassin” can’t be fully described without spoiling a previous case. All you need to know is that an unloved sports team owner is murdered. There’s a problem spotting the person who really wanted the guy dead. I’m not spoiling the episode by saying the guy didn’t own the L.A. Clippers. The all star cast includes Deidre Hall, Bruce Greenwood (Exotica), Shari Belafonte and Pernell Roberts (Bonanza).

For those who hadn’t bought Perry Mason: Movie collection, Volume 1, the six films are now available as double features. This includes Double Feature 1: Perry Mason Returns/The Case of the Notorious Nun, Double Feature 2: The Case of the Lost Love/The Case of the Shooting Star and Double Feature 3: The Case of the Murdered Madam/The Case of the Sinister Spirit. The Inside Pulse review of those titles can be found here:

Perry Mason: Movie collection, Volume 2 wraps up the comeback episodes that aired during the ’80s. Burr does a fine job with the role even if he seems to find himself mostly standing still or sitting in scenes. While he might not pace the courtroom like a panther, he still has the ability to spring at a bogus witness. There was no way they could replace him as Perry Mason.

The video is 1.33:1 full frame. While the episodes were shot on film, all the post production was done on standard definition video. The episodes don’t have the same resolution as the black and white years. The fuzzy nature does make Burr look a little younger on the screen. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. The mix is fine for you to hear the gavel slam down. The episodes are subtitled.

No bonus features.

Perry Mason: Movie Collection – Volume 2 are six more cases with the older and still wiser legal mind pulling out impossible cases. The thrill of seeing David Hasselhoff up for murder is worth the price.

CBS DVD presents Perry Mason: Movie Collection – Volume 2. Starring: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale and William Katt. Boxset Contents: Six movies on 3 DVDs. Released: May 13, 2014.

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