Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Case of the Desperate Deception


I really, really loved The Desperate Deception.

I’ve mentioned before how much I tend to enjoy the topical episodes of the series, even though some people think they shouldn’t exist or that they’re too dated. This particular movie, with its plot of escaped war criminals in Paris and the defendant undergoing a court-martial, reminds me of three favorite Perry episodes: The Misguided Missile, The Renegade Refugee, and A Place Called Midnight. The court-martial proceedings are The Misguided Missile parallel, the war criminal mystery is reminiscent of The Renegade Refugee, and Perry in Europe reminds me of A Place Called Midnight.

The plot was so intense all the way through. It was sickening when that poor woman was run down at the beginning, but I was relieved it was done very tastefully and didn’t actually show the impact.

I rather quite loved the cloak-and-dagger goings-on. That sort of thing is always fun for me to see, being a fan of spy-related things. I also really enjoyed the court-martial proceedings, since I actually like the military episodes of the series.

And yikes, the guy being shot in the spa while the defendant is there talking to him . . . definitely brazen and unexpected!

The scene where the defendant’s mother flashes back to the horror of what happened to her and her family as a child was heart-rending. I wasn’t expecting to see any of what happened and figured it would just be told without any flashbacks.

I sort of wondered if it would turn out that the guy thought to be the worst monster of the death camp would end up not being him. It was a very cleverly done twist.

I was surprised and displeased that Della was barely in the movie and didn’t even get to go to Paris with Perry and Ken. I’m sure she would have loved it there and I thought for sure she’d be there. I wondered for most of the movie if Barbara Hale had some reason why she wasn’t able to be in the movie more often. But by the end, things made sense. It had to be the way it was for the sake of the plot and the final solution to the mystery.

I’ll admit I suspected that guy, as I usually do tend to suspect the friends these days. But when the Nazi war criminal was revealed to be the head of the supposed Nazi hunting organization and still very much alive, I figured he was the Big Bad.

The friend’s confession on the stand, especially his membership in the pro-Nazi organization, was very chilling. Standing up and yelling in German, his true colors revealed, was a powerful scene. I really loved counter-posing that with the defendant reuniting with his mother as he’s exonerated. I also loved that the tribunal allowed him to help his mother out of the courtroom after her painful testimony, even though he hadn’t yet been exonerated at that point.

And we had another girlfriend of the movie. I was really hoping this movie would be free of that trope since the defendant’s girlfriend seemed to be the main female presence. But then the daughter of the murdered woman was brought in and of course she had to be Ken’s newest interest.

I am coming to really love how the television series showed Paul’s interest in the ladies without making it a significant plot point in nearly every single episode.

Admittedly, these two had some interesting interaction. But it really rather annoyed me when she flipped out on Ken and that’s what caused the picture to be stolen. I understand why she was angry, and can appreciate the why, but still, it seemed to me that she should have already realized and not have gotten that upset that he felt he had to address every possible angle of the case. It’s not like they even knew each other that well; under the circumstances, it was quite an extreme reaction to him asking if she could have killed the guy she believed had killed her mother. Characters that flip out on the love interest without letting them explain and (either deliberately or inadvertently) cause disaster to happen because of it tend to irritate me. It’s a good thing that Perry had the foresight to make copies. And at least she didn’t stay mad long. It was kind of cute when she was immediately worried about Ken after the attack.

I think what I found the most interesting about her was that after living in France for so many years, she considered it her home and herself French. There aren’t a lot of those types of characters in Perry media. I actually think it would be interesting to read little stories of her experiences in France and how and why she came to love it so much.

I really liked the investigating officer who was accompanying Perry and Ken and was gathering evidence for the prosecution. He was friendly and nice and reminded me a lot of Captain McVey in The Misguided Missile.

Even though Della didn’t have a lot of screentime, what she did have was priceless. Her telephone conversations with Perry were gold. “Bad, bad, bad.” I loved how Perry blossomed on the phone with her and then was back to serious mode when he hung up.

Despite my general annoyance with another girlfriend of the movie subplot, I was amused by the movie’s end. Ken getting in the cab just wanting a goodbye kiss and the driver suddenly pealing out of there before Perry can get in was unexpected and amusing. Hopefully Ken realized what was happening after a moment and got the driver to turn around and go back for Perry. And meanwhile, we did get to hear Perry sing at least a couple of lines of a song.

Overall, this is probably one of my most favorites of the movies. It hearkened back to a lot of things I enjoyed in the series and was very intense and powerful. Really a well-done entry.

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