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Although it has been more years than I care to admit, I still remember watching syndicated reruns of PERRY MASON when I was a kid. Sure, I don’t remember the individual episodes, but Raymond Burr’s portrayal of the title character, his courtroom theatrics and the show’s haunting theme music is forever burned into my brain. PERRY MASON ran a total of nine seasons that produced a whopping two hundred seventy one episodes between 1957 and 1966. In the mid-1980s, PERRY MASON reunited Burr with Barbara Hale for a series of television movies that lasted even beyond Burr’s death, something that said a lot about the enduring, classic quality of the original television series. With its mixture of detective noir, strong characterizations and melodrama, PERRY MASON remains they yardstick by which all courtroom television dramas are measured- even a half century later.

Based upon the seemingly endless series of novels by Erle Stanley Gardner, PERRY MASON stars Raymond Burr as the tenacious defense attorney, who rarely lost a case. Every week Perry Mason would take on a new client accused of murder, one who always had a mountain of evidence piled against them. Assisted by his secretary Della Street (Barbara Hale) and private investigator Paul Drake (William Hopper), Mason would almost always prove his client innocent in the courtroom, unusually by eliciting confessions from the real guilty party under heavy cross examination. The regular cast of PERRY MASON also features William Tallman as district attorney Hamilton Burger, who almost always loses to Mason, as well as Ray Collins as police lieutenant Arthur Tragg.

PERRY MASON: SEASON 2, VOLUME 2 ($39) comes to DVD in a four disc set that features the remaining fifteen episodes that were aired in the second half of show’s sophomore year. The fifteen featured episodes are as follows: The Case Of The Fraudulent Foto, The Case Of The Romantic Rogue, The Case Of The Jaded Joker, The Case Of The Caretaker's Cat, The Case Of The Stuttering Bishop, The Case Of The Lost Last Act, The Case Of The Bedeviled Doctor, The Case Of The Howling Dog, The Case Of The Calendar Girl, The Case Of The Petulant Partner, The Case Of The Dangerous Dowager, The Case Of The Deadly Toy, The Case Of The Spanish Cross, The Case Of The Dubious Bridegroom and The Case Of The Lame Canary.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made all fifteen episodes that comprise PERRY MASON: SEASON 2, VOLUME 2 available on DVD in the proper full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. In terms of visual quality, Paramount provides more of the same. The black and white transfers are pretty great, offering a generally sharp and overall nicely defined image for the episodes. Many times, the photography has a stark film noir quality that is well translated to DVD. Blacks are pure, whites are clean, plus the picture produces pretty great contrast and grayscale. The film elements are generally well preserved, with relatively few blemishes creeping up. Film grain is noticeable, but is not objectionable. Digital compression artifacts are always well concealed.

The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are perfectly fine. There is no excessive hiss or audible anomalies, and for the most part, the sound is quite solid. The unforgettable theme music sounds more than respectable, but due to the recording technology of the time, it lacks a true top and bottom end. Dialogue is crisp and easy to understand. No other language tracks or subtitle options have been included on the DVD. Music underscores the basic interactive menus, which allow one access to the standard episode selection feature, but no supplemental content has been provided.

PERRY MASON is classic television at its best. With the episodes running ten minutes longer than modern hour-long television shows, PERRY MASON packs in a whole lot more entertainment value than what we have today. Paramount’s DVD’s offer terrific quality and are the only way to see this show without the trims required for syndication television slots. Recommended.



Perry Mason - Season Two, Vol. 2



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2007 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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