The first film, THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG (1934), was enjoyable yet a bit too muddled. THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE was much better. The film is energetically directed by Michael Curtiz. There's a big cast but it's easy to track the players, and best of all, everyone seems to be having fun.
As the film opens, Perry has just won a case and celebrates by invading a restaurant kitchen to try out a recipe, along with aide Paul "Spudsy" Drake (Allen Jenkins), Coroner Wilbur Strong (Olin Howland), and news editor Toots Howard (Thomas Jackson). Jenkins, incidentally, played a cop in the earlier film.
And then the ex turns up dead for keeps...
Claire Dodd replaces Helen Trenholme as Della Street, and while Perry and Della's relationship is more subtle in this film, Perry is also a lot more fun. The cooking scenes are delightful, and I especially enjoyed his bantering relationships with Spudsy and Coroner Strong.
This was Errol Flynn's first American film, and he's seen only briefly, in flashbacks. According to one report I read, he accidentally knocked out Margaret Lindsay when they filmed their struggle!
THE CASE OF THE CURIOUS BRIDE was photographed by David Abel. The supporting cast includes Phillip Reed, Wini Shaw, Barton MacLane, Warren Hymer, Mayo Methot, and Henry Kolker. Look for Mary Treen to turn up in a scene as a telegraph office clerk.
THE CASE OF THE HOWLING DOG is part of the six-film, three-disc set Perry Mason: The Original Warner Bros. Movies Collection, from the Warner Archive. The first four films in the set star Warren William, with one starring Ricardo Cortez and one starring Donald Woods (who plays another character in this film!). The trailer is included on the disc.
This film also turns up on Turner Classic Movies. The trailer is here.
For more on this film, visit Cliff Aliperti's review at his Warren William site.