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The Case of the Black Cat (1936)

Approved | | Crime, Mystery, Drama | 31 October 1936 (USA)
An bedridden eccentric millionaire, anticipating his own murder, hires Mason to help him rewrite his will, and the lawyer ends up defending the caretaker's cat.

Directors:

William C. McGann (as William McGann), Alan Crosland (uncredited)

Writers:

Erle Stanley Gardner (story), F. Hugh Herbert (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Cortez ... Perry Mason
June Travis ... Della Street
Jane Bryan ... Wilma Laxter
Craig Reynolds ... Frank Oafley
Carlyle Moore Jr. ... Douglas Keene
Bill Elliott ... Sam Laxter (as Gordon Elliott)
Nedda Harrigan ... Nurse Louise DeVoe
Garry Owen Garry Owen ... Paul Drake
Harry Davenport ... Peter Laxter
George Rosener ... Charles Ashton
Gordon Hart Gordon Hart ... Dr. Jacobs
Clarence Wilson ... Mr. Shuster
Guy Usher Guy Usher ... District Attorney Hamilton Burger
Lottie Williams Lottie Williams ... Mrs. Pixley
Harry Hayden ... Reverend Stillwell
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Storyline

Lawyer Perry Mason is summoned to the Laxter mansion in the dead of night to write granddaughter Wilma out of invalid Peter Laxter's will, to keep her from marrying suspected fortune hunter Doug. Peter dies in a mysterious fire and Laxter's two grandsons, Sam Laxter and Frank Oafley, inherit his estate on the condition old caretaker Ashton and his cat Clinker are kept on. When cat-hating Sam threatens Clinker, Perry steps in and learns Laxter's death was suspicious and the family fortune and diamonds are missing. Written by Sister Grimm <srgrimm@teleport.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Mystery | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 October 1936 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Case of the Caretaker's Cat See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Vitaphone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Jane Bryan. See more »

Goofs

The so-called "black" cat of the title is, in fact, a grey, brown, and white calico, hence the original title of the novel, "The Case of the Caretaker's Cat" would have been more appropriate, and more logical. See more »

Quotes

Perry Mason: [Walking through the apartment hallway] Louise DeVoe - that sounds more like a chorus girl than a nurse.
Paul Drake: What are you gonna tell her, chief?
Perry Mason: She's the one that's gotta tell - I hope.
See more »

Connections

Version of Perry Mason: The Case of the Caretaker's Cat (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining
25 September 2006 | by HandlinghandelSee all my reviews

I like Ricardo Cortez in everything I've seen him do. He was an excellent actor who never really became a major star. Here, he is a fine Perry Mason. His Mason has a sense of humor. He's stylish. And he's not entirely admirable, which seems to me just right.

I also like Jane Bryan, who is most appealing as the female member of a troubled household. The other performers are fine, though not memorable.

It's hard not to wonder why Warner Brothers used a gray and white cat for the title character. Surely it would have been easy to find a cat that would have been both black and well behaved on the set.

There are a few other inconsistencies. One I noted is that Mason calls the caretaker of this wealthy family at their home. Is it, was it ever, standard to call servants at their employers' primary number? (Sure, my cleaning guy, who's here for two hours every two weeks, gets a call now and then; but he is a painter and this is far from a mansion.)


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