Hollywood@Home: Perry Mason Movie Collection Volume 3

See Paris and die. Perry Mason is on the trail of a former SS officer in "The Case of the Desperate Deception."

See Paris and die. Perry Mason is on the trail of a former SS officer in “The Case of the Desperate Deception.”

A most impressive collection.  This particular batch of TV movies featuring Raymond Burr as the sleuthing attorney, Perry Mason, is perhaps the best written of all the Mason teleplays from the 80’s and 90’s. Less nostalgia, more mystery and some not-so-happy endings. Volume 3 is a must-have for Mason fans.

As in the earlier volumes of the Perry Mason Movie Collection, there are six films, two on each disc. Paramount and CBS are releasing the films in chronological order. The movies from volume 3 were originally broadcast from 1990-to-1991. Gone are the silly nostalgic riffs, replaced by more mystery elements and better writing. “The Case of the Poisoned Pen,””The Case of the Desperate Deception” and the other titles are also missing the almost cartoonish romances between the action surrogate and the attractive-but-not-too bright ingenue. The surrogate in these films is the admirable William R. Moses (as Ken Malansky).  Oh, sure, he still dates the beautiful suspects.  But, his character seems to be a tad smarter than William Katt’s Paul Drake, Junior, who did most of the romantic chores in the first half-dozen or so films. The action elements also seemed tighter than previous efforts and made slightly more sense.

All six Mason movies seem to be looking for a general audience, instead of just drooling seniors nostalgic for the TV detective of the late 1950’s and 1960’s. These films are for the grownups. I enjoyed them so much that I await Volume 4 with great anticipation. This is Mason in fine form. Grade: A

Fast Facts:

Street Date: August 5, 2014

Episodes included:

“The Case of the Poisoned Pen”

“The Case of the Desperate Deception”

“The Case of the Silenced Singer”

“The Case of the Defiant Daughter”

“The Case of the Ruthless Reporter”

“The Case of the Maligned Mobster”

Runtime: 9 hours, 28 minutes

Format: DVD only

Rated: NR

Released by CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution

Perry Mason learns to read between the lines in "The Case of the Poisoned Pen."

Perry Mason learns to read between the lines in “The Case of the Poisoned Pen.”