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Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Case Of The Howling Dog (1934)

Starring Warren William, Mary Astor, Allen Jenkins, Grant Mitchell, Helen Trenholme
Directed by Alan Crosland
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

Perry Mason takes on the case of a wealthy man plagued by a howling dog next door, but soon discovers there's a deeper and more scandalous conflict between the man and his neighbor.

The first Perry Mason film contains less humor than in William's later turns as Erle Stanley Gardner's crime-solving lawyer, but is still a well-staged and interesting picture, and notable for the casting of Astor, whose star later shone more brightly after films like The Maltese Falcon.  William is a fine choice for Mason, for although per Wikipedia at the time of his casting, he was known for playing seamier characters, he projects the nobility of Mason, while still embracing some unethical tricks in the pursuit of justice for his client.  Fans of the comedic stylings of Allen Jenkins will be surprised to see him playing a serious role as the police sergeant suspicious of Mason, and he plays it well enough, but it's easy to see why more light-hearted parts would become his forte.

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