Movie Review: The Case of the Lucky Legs (1935)
Synopsis: Attorney Perry Mason is hired to represent Margie Clune, a young woman who was scammed by a fake "Lucky Legs" beauty contest. When Mason tracks down the con artist, he finds the man dead in his hotel room and now must defend Margie against murder charges.
Who's in it? The movie stars Warren William, Genevieve Tobin, Patricia Ellis, Lyle Talbot, Allen Jenkins and Porter Hall.
Review: I haven't really watched much Perry Mason, either on TV or in movies, but I did read this book some time ago and, when I came across the film adaptation, was curious enough to give it a try. As it turns out, it was a great choice.
I think the thing that I found most interesting about this film was the way it made the story much more comedic. Mason (William) was a quirky drunk who successfully hid his brilliant mind by doing everything from failing a physical exam in front of one of his clients to helping himself to the contents of Margie's (Tobin) refrigerator while giving her instructions as her attorney. Had I not previously been introduced to the character before, I would wonder if he was a fraud.
I also found I loved how his assistant, Della Street, was portrayed by Genevieve Tobin. Much like Mason, on first impression, she came off as a ditzy blonde character who was mostly there to provide eye candy but, as the movie progressed, it became apparent she was as cunning as her boss was and, in some ways, maybe even a little more devious.
The mystery itself was also entertaining. It's been a while since I read the book and I don't remember enough details today to draw a good comparison between that and the movie. However, in addition to Margie, there seemed to be a fairly long list of potential suspects in the murder. In fact, upon further reflection, I'm not even 100 percent certain why the police considered her the top suspect.
My only real complaint about this film is it never explains what happened to Margie's would-be husband, Dr. Bob Doray (Talbot). The last thing the movie shows of him is the police taking him into custody. I would assume he was eventually released following Mason solving the case, but it wouldn't have been a terrible idea to clarify that regardless.
Final Opinion: This is a fun movie with a great mystery and a good mix of comedy. I enjoyed it a lot more than expected as a result and plan to look for the other films.
My Grade: A
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