Perry Mason: Season 4, Vol. 1
DVD | Box Set
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Perry Mason is an attorney who specializes in defending seemingly indefensible cases. With the aid of his secretary Della Street and investigator Paul Drake, he often finds that by digging deeply into the facts, startling facts can be revealed. Often relying on his outstanding courtroom skills, he often tricks or traps people into unwittingly admitting their guilt.
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this is one show that always stayed...comfy. the interactions between the cast members were so sweet and genuine. you could tell they sat around the lunch table every day and were good friends off-camera. no matter how obvious the plots were...no matter how stilted some of the acting was...there was still so much to enjoy in the entire perry mason series.
it's hard to recommend a show this old to the people who weren't born before bell bottoms and platform shoes, but if you like noir and beautiful old cars and settings (long before southern california became the morass it is today), then this show is something you'd probably enjoy. although, it is very sad to see how some of the plots are about people who are greedy and just want to sell "worthless" land so more malls and apartment buildings can be built.
i can watch these episodes over and over and over...and i have been ever since they were originally broadcast.
However, on this volume, none of them are based on a Gardener novel. But they are very good none the less!
William Tallman doesn't appear very (if at all!) as Perry's chief legal adversary, Hamilton Burger, but the other actors who serve as the prosecutors do an adequate job as fill-ins. There is one notable actor who was a defendant in a season one episode that could have made a good replacement for Tallman had the powers that be not come to their senses and rehired Tallman.
Ray Collins appears sporadically in both volumes as Lt Tragg, but is always listed as one of the main actors. He's always missed when not on screen, but occasionally there is an actor who does an adequate job as a fill-in for him.
Quality-wise the DVDs are very good. The episodes for the first disk froze when first played, but did not on a second viewing. Did not have any problems on any of the other disks on either volume.
I almost passed up these two volumes, based on what other reviewers had said about them; I'm glad I didn't!
So when the fourth season opens with an episode with Talman in the DA's chair I had to wonder. The answer was clear as soon as my wife started screaming, "That's Robert Redford". Sure enough it was Redford six years younger than he was in Barefoot in the Park in one of his first roles. And Redford was good even if I won't say if he did it or not.
But the inclusion of the Redford episode tells the viewer that this compilation is not exactly a chronological recreation of the fourth season. The tryouts for the new DA have a few assistant district attorneys with some fire and personality but for the most part they were reading lines writen for Talman. His absence clearly detracts from the series.
The many superb character actors that appeared on the series is one of primary strengths of the show. These actors never walked the red carpet at the Oscars but they worked year in and year out in Westerns, B-movies and sitcoms. A face like Dabbs Greer's could never bring a leading role, but he appeared on screen and on television in 288 roles (some of them continuing characters) during his career. Greer is one of many just like him that inhabited the Perry Mason set.
In short, this volume has its limitations but it remains one that any Perry Mason fan will want to own.