The Musical Murder did not immediately endear itself to me when everybody started swearing every two seconds following Debbie Reynolds’ opening song. I sorely hoped the whole movie would not continue in that vein. Thankfully, it did ease up.
Musicals are not my favorite thing in the world (generally I dislike them, unless they have a strong plot; many have a slim plot written only to space time between songs), but the opening song was kind of fun. I kind of wished we could have seen a little more of the show with people rehearsing it off and on through the movie.
Unlike most of the Perry episodes dealing with theatrical productions, the characters here did not feel over-dramatic and silly, but real. That was admittedly a nice change, even though I know there are indeed many over-dramatic people in the theatre business and the Perry episodes are likely more accurate than I would like to believe.
It seems like these movies are coming up with all kinds of reasons to have Perry in the hospital. At first I thought the knee problem was a carryover from the previous movie, but it looks like it was a new problem. I’m starting to get a little bored with continually making excuses to put Perry in the hospital. (I wonder if Raymond Burr was having knee problems in real-life and they were trying to find new ways to keep sticking it into the storylines?) However, this movie actually made the trip highly relevant to the plot.
Following knee surgery, and an encounter with a highly irritating, patronizing nurse, Perry grudgingly takes some sedatives, whereupon he sees the defendant outside and across the street at the same time the murder is happening. Naturally Perry can’t make the assistant D.A. believe that he knows it was that man, but it makes for an interesting problem and ups the intensity, as this time around Perry knows without a shadow of a doubt that the defendant is innocent. He just can’t prove it (until the final court twists).
I was right about Amy appearing in more than one movie. She and Ken are pretty cute here and have a real “team” vibe. Ken was even standing up for her/making excuses for her to Perry even though he was distressed at her rustling up clients for him. I looked her up and found that she’s in one other movie. But then, as I thought, she was dropped.
I do think it would have gotten difficult to keep her and Ken’s conflicts going throughout the movies without it starting to feel overdone and stale, but since they seemed to be getting along better than I’d thought they would, I wonder how her disappearance is explained in the context of the scripts. My guess is it’s probably not addressed at all, another Perry character vanishing without a trace.
She and Ken have quite a bit of the screentime, with Ken having problems getting the security guard who may know something to talk to him. He tries going undercover at the gym where the guy goes and manages to get some interesting information from his checkbook (by pulling a Paul Jr. stunt and getting the janitor to open the locker by saying it’s his). I don’t recall if Ken often pulls stunts like that or not. I was thinking that in the later movies, he adopts his own methods, separate from Paul Jr.’s.
Amy, meanwhile, goes undercover at a dress shop with the guy’s girlfriend, much to Ken’s dismay. They strike up a friendship and the girlfriend seems to still like Amy even after it’s revealed who she really is. The security guard is eventually cornered by Ken and the police when he tries to skip town and gets shot after he tries to shoot all of them. The girlfriend is heartbroken and distraught and Amy is trying to comfort her in the hospital. The girlfriend seems to accept this and wants Amy there.
Amy really is a sweet, compassionate person. I liked having that bit with her trying to comfort the guy’s girlfriend.
Ken seemed happy to do some investigative work for Perry, despite being a lawyer himself. Maybe it was a nice break from the bizarre cases he was getting courtesy of Amy. I seem to recall, however, that in later movies he wasn’t so happy with investigating. Here, he hoped that Perry would make him co-counsel for the case, and there was a lovely little bit where Perry finally does, right in court, after previously refusing.
Brock appears again and has been promoted to Lieutenant. He also, amazingly enough, actually seems personable here and not just a cardboard cutout “Grrr, they’re guilty!” character. I wonder if that continues.
I was surprised by the revelation of the killer’s identity, as well as his motive. I was a little disappointed by the identity too, I guess; I was expecting it would be someone else and this seemed kind of a cheap cop-out. But on the other hand, he certainly was the one who seemed the least suspect.
I’m glad it wasn’t Jerry Orbach. I’ve liked him for years and it was a real treat to see him here. And it was cute that at the end, it looked like maybe he was going to get in with Debbie Reynolds’ character after all.