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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Perry Mason: Season 5, Volume 2

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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted November 08 2010 - 02:11 PM

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Perry Mason: Season 5, Volume 2
Directed by Arthur Marks et al

Studio: CBS/Paramount
Year:
1962
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 773 minutes
Rating: NR
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 mono English
Subtitles: SDH

MSRP:  $ 54.99


Release Date: November 16, 2010

Review Date: November 8, 2010 



The Series

4/5


Perry Mason reached the zenith of its popularity in this, its fifth year on the air. For the season, it ranked as the fifth most popular program on television. By this point in its nine year run, viewers had become comfortable and welcoming with its combination of murder mystery, courtroom give-and-take, and the rock solid precision of its superb cast. Though the show may have been formulaic in its structure, there’s no denying that intriguing stories, thoughtful acting, and reliable production values continued to keep it near the top during the 1961-1962 season.


Raymond Burr’s definitive performance as Earl Stanley Gardner’s fictional defense attorney had already garnered him two previous Emmys. He’s always commanding, rarely flustered, and even occasionally playful in the courtroom in a performance that’s always enjoyable to revisit. Barbara Hale’s Della Street is loyalty personified while William Hopper’s Paul Drake isn’t often shown doing his sleuthing for Perry, but he usually makes the most of his limited screen time. William Talman and Ray Collins, almost always the opposition for Perry and continually frustrated by Perry’s success rate with his cases, prove to be wonderfully irascible antagonists for another season of murder stories. In some shows during the season, Perry has a paralegal named David Gideon (Karl Held) who seems to do some of Perry’s legwork. Lieutenant Anderson (Wesley Lau), less combative than Lt. Tragg but just as dogged, occasionally replaces Tragg in the investigations, and Mort Mills shows up a time or two as Sergeant Ben Landro as well.


The formula is unflinchingly familiar: we’re introduced to a group of people, one of whom ends up murdered, and the person accused of the crime comes to Perry for help in his defense. Usually despite overwhelming evidence against the accused person, Perry puts the evidence and courtroom testimony together to trap the guilty party in either lies or hidden information which usually leads to a confession on the stand or in the courtroom gallery. A coda finds Perry, Della, and Paul (and sometimes the innocent parties) detailing the unknown information which led Perry to his eventual solution to the puzzle. Unlike Murder She Wrote which always provided for the audience the revealing clue to solve the mystery hidden in plain sight, Perry Mason doesn’t provide all the clues ahead of time (like the fictional attorney, the most damning evidence is usually saved for a last-minute reveal in court) making that revelatory coda necessary for the audience to see how Perry put it all together.


Television programs of this vintage carry with them the possibility of seeing unusual guest stars either at the beginnings of their careers or well into them. In these fifteen episodes, we find a young Burt Reynolds and the veteran Everett Sloane in individual episodes. Others noted in passing during these marvelous mysteries are Hal Smith, Robert Rockwell, Parley Baer, Arthur Franz, Jeremy Slate, Jay Novello, Allison Hayes, Stafford Repp (two episodes), Marie Windsor, Jeanne Cooper, Merry Anders, Douglas Dick, Patricia Breslin, Kathie Brown, Maidie Norman, Victor Buono, Zazu Pitts, Lane Bradford, Barney Phillips, William Schallert, Jesse White, Ann Rutherford, John Marley, James Coburn, Hugh Marlowe, Corey Allen, El Brendel, Otto Kruger, Jeanette Nolan, Don Dubbins, Connie Hines, Jeff Morrow, Harry Von Zell, Ben Cooper, Ivan Dixon, John Dall, and Billy Halop.  


Here are the fifteen episodes that make up volume two of the fifth season’s episodes:


1 – The Case of the Shapely Shadow

2 – The Case of the Captain’s Coins

3 – The Case of the Tarnished Trademark

4 – The Case of the Glamorous Ghost

5 – The Case of the Poison Pen-Pal

6 – The Case of the Mystified Miner

7 – The Case of the Crippled Cougar

8 – The Case of the Absent Artist

9 – The Case of the Melancholy Marksman

10 – The Case of the Angry Astronaut

11 – The Case of the Borrowed Baby

12 – The Case of the Counterfeit Crank

13 – The Case of the Ancient Romeo

14 – The Case of the Promoter’s Pillbox

15 – The Case of the Lonely Eloper



Video Quality

3.5/5


The program’s 1.33:1 aspect ratio is retained for these transfers. The black and white images exhibit a notably appealing grayscale with contrast dialed in perfectly to give the show a rich and robust look. Blacks are impressive for a program of this age. Close-ups reveal quite a bit of fine detail, and the overall image is sharp and quite impressive. Dust specks are fairly infrequent for the episodes on the first two discs in the set and also the fourth disc, but the episodes on disc three surprisingly exhibit more dirt, debris, some print damage, and stray hairs than the episodes on the other discs in the set. (“The Melancholy Marksman” is particularly problematic in this regard.) There are also instances of line twitter and moiré in some of the episodes. Each episode has been divided into 8 chapters.



Audio Quality

3.5/5


The Dolby Digital 2.0 mono audio track is decoded by Dolby Prologic into the center channel. It’s a very typical sound recording for its era with dialogue, music, and sound effects all expertly blended into the single track. With the show being so dialogue-heavy, it’s good that the speech has been so well recorded; there is never any problem with understanding what anyone is saying. Though most of the episodes exhibit a clear and clean soundtrack, there is occasional light hiss with some (but certainly not all) of the episodes.



Special Features

0/5


There are no bonus features with this set.


The first disc does offer promo trailers for Barnaby Jones, Matt Houston, and Mannix.



In Conclusion

3.5/5 (not an average)


Another entertaining and nicely produced package of Perry Mason episodes is now available. With excellent performances and crackerjack storytelling and now with more than half of the original series released on disc, Perry Mason continues to appeal to the mystery lover in us all.




Matt Hough

Charlotte, NC



#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted November 14 2010 - 03:03 PM

Thanks, Matt!

It should be no surprise to some that I am anxiously awaiting this set next Tuesday.   My love affair with this show goes back to childhood in the 70s and it has stood the test of time.  Kudos to CBS/P for adding English subtitles (finally); this is most appreciated.


There may be element issues with "TCOT Melancholy Marksman " accounting for the issues you noted.  This episode did not air as part of the package when the Hallmark Channel ran these several years back (or I missed it if it did).  It also was not issued as part of the Columbia House subscription packages for VHS or DVD.


There are 4 seasons (118 episodes) left to issue.  Here's hoping that the well hasn't run dry yet and that CBS/P keeps them coming.  However, please don't keep us waiting another 4 years (it's been 5 already to get to this point)...let's switch to full season releases and get at least S6 & S7 released in 2011.

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#3 of 10 OFFLINE   jdee28

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Posted November 15 2010 - 02:26 AM

I still can't believe CBS/Paramount has made us wait 5 years to get to this point. And another 4 to get the complete series? Come on. Can you blame anyone for losing enthusiasm about this? Here's hoping we're all around for it..



#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Rodney

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Posted November 21 2010 - 10:08 AM

At least CBS/Paramount is still releasing it. Slow releases are better than stalled/discontinued releases any ol' day.

Having said that, I hope we don't have to wait four more years.


-Rodney

#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted November 22 2010 - 02:28 PM

Nothing against MATLOCK (which I enjoy and buy every release), but it is dumbfounding to me that its Season 6 is being released in January which is less than 3 years after S1 hit the streets.  Both were 9 seasons (although PM has many more episodes), both had very popular lead actors and both did very well in syndication, but does Matlock really sell that much better than PM to warrant a speeded up release schedule?  Or is it that Matlock, being on video, is much cheaper to put to market?


In any event, I'm slowly working my way thru S5V2 of PM and thoroughly enjoying it.  Ray Collins is such a delight whenever he appears that one can easily overlook that he had to be the oldest cop on the force. He was past retirement age in the debut episode, much less 5 years into the series run.


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#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Paul Penna

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Posted November 23 2010 - 04:41 AM

My regular Saturday movie night bunch and I have been watching one per week since they first started coming out. I personally find the timing just right. It doesn't result in overdosing, and the breathers between sets also helps in keeping them from getting stale. In other words, pretty much the way it was when originally broadcast.



#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Steve...O

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Posted December 28 2010 - 01:51 PM

I've done my best to stretch out viewing of S5V2 out but am nearing the end.  Natually I'm ready for more.  Any word on a release of Season 6 coming soon?   (I really miss the CBS/P Syndication Bible website at times like this; it was such a good indicator of what was coming).


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#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Wiseguy

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Posted April 18 2013 - 03:50 PM

My regular Saturday movie night bunch and I have been watching one per week since they first started coming out. I personally find the timing just right. It doesn't result in overdosing, and the breathers between sets also helps in keeping them from getting stale. In other words, pretty much the way it was when originally broadcast.

This is exactly how I watch TV on DVD for series with multiple seasons.  No more than once per week, although I do watch 2-parters at the same time.  Not only is this more like when the series first aired (except I continue with the next season immediately without a "summer" break) but it treats each episode as a classic (even when it's not) rather than something to rush through and get over with.  I also usually wait awhile before starting the first season for the price to go down somewhat.  I really don't understand those that rush through the episodes then cry that the next release doesn't come fast enough, assuming that the next release does come about 6 months later.  If it doesn't, all the ore reason to watch them slower.  



#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Richard Gallagher

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Posted April 21 2013 - 11:46 AM

This is exactly how I watch TV on DVD for series with multiple seasons.  No more than once per week, although I do watch 2-parters at the same time.  Not only is this more like when the series first aired (except I continue with the next season immediately without a "summer" break) but it treats each episode as a classic (even when it's not) rather than something to rush through and get over with.  I also usually wait awhile before starting the first season for the price to go down somewhat.  I really don't understand those that rush through the episodes then cry that the next release doesn't come fast enough, assuming that the next release does come about 6 months later.  If it doesn't, all the ore reason to watch them slower.  

 

Agreed, if you are patient you will save money by waiting. Amazon has dropped the price of Season 8, Vol. 1 to $31 but Vol. 2 is still $45. It's only a matter of time until the price of Vol. 2 drops.


Rich Gallagher

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted April 21 2013 - 12:10 PM

I filled in some early season sets I was missing for $14.99 each. It does pay to wait if you can. (Sometimes, that's just not possible.)







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