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Perry Mason Back On The Job

Fun Fact: "Hawkshaw" as Slang For a Detective Had Its Birth in an 1863 Play Where a Sleuth Character Went By That Name

The Case Of The Curious Bride (1935) Joins WB "Crime Club"

Would You Stay For
Whole Of This Show?
I hesitate to call this a programmer, even though that's what it is. Something so expertly done should bear more distinctive name, as there's no shorting any programmer out of 30's Warner. Virtually all their precodes were, after all, labeled thus. The term applied to product sat among units of a "balanced program" by venues that knew it needed more than one attraction to wrest coin from Depression-whacked patronage. Double-features would eventually serve that purpose, "two (features) for one" being exit cue for many of shorts once spice of shows (producer Hal Roach would, in fact, stop making them). Note at left the crowded bill wherein The Case Of The Curious Bride comes up last. For this offering at least, live portions were sold as most compelling, each of names known from movies, radio, or vaudeville, and all ranking as "star" attractions. Also note celebration of Keith's fifty-second year as a vaude force, the firm a colossus among bookers since the 1880's. Many claim vaudeville to have died by the 30's, but ads such as here put the lie, or at least the overstatement, to that. Fact is, stage acts played beside pics well into the 50's, at fewer locales admittedly, but backstage lights would stay lit for longer than many have since presumed.

Flynn Gets a Neat Flashback at Bride's Finish, and His Character Is Talked About All Through The Pic, So No Wonder He Made Impression

I got out Warner Archive's DVD of The Case Of The Curious Bride last week after a collector-friend asked an Errol Flynn-related question that needed disc peruse. Yes, Errol's in it, first as a corpse under a sheet, then as combatant and ultimate murder victim in Bride's last reel dénouement. He gets no dialogue, but the profile is unmistakable 'neath that sheet, and starting-out Errol is afforded moody close-ups for a vigorous brawl engaged at the finish. Did director Michael Curtiz lend fledgling Flynn a hand with knowledge this was a star in the making? Low-lit showdown favors the newcomer and gives EF a socko slow death and dramatic reaction to same that I'll bet drew letters to Burbank as in "Who's the new face"? His highlight in The Case Of The Curious Bride likely had much to do with Warner dice rolled for Captain Blood. Call it a screen test shared with the public, not uncommon practice among studios gauging public interest in fresh ware.

And what of The Case Of The Curious Brideotherwise? As said, it's expert in all ways, not least for Curtiz in charge. What a master at composition he was. Opener reel finds Warren William's Perry Mason and team buying live crabs from a street vendor, then followed via intricate track-shot through a crowded restaurant and into rear kitchen area,where Mason takes over as chef amidst much movement and foreground activity. All this could and would be broken up and dully served by lesser talent. From Curtiz, it's exhilarating. I'm more and more of opinion that he was the best of all studio-contract directors. There's a bio coming soon by Alan K. Rode, which I put at top of anticipatory list. Rode did a fine book on Charles McGraw, is recognized expert on film noir, and all-round noted historian. His Curtiz volume should be definitive word on the director. Author website has further info. The Case Of The Curious Bridemeanwhile can be had in a Warner Archive Mason set with all others of the series, a variable lot it's true (Curious Bride the only one helmed by Curtiz), but all worthwhile and at least enjoyable for one reason or other.

An update and more images for The Black Watch HERE.

This post first appeared on Greenbriar Picture Shows, please read the originial post: here

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Perry Mason Back On The Job


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