The Case of the Stuttering Bishop


1h 10m 1937
The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

Brief Synopsis

Perry Mason tries to find out if a long-lost heiress is the real thing.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 8, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Case of the Stuttering Bishop by Erle Stanley Gardner (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono, Vitaphone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Synopsis

Stuttering Bishop Mallory asks attorney Perry Mason for information about the crime of manslaughter. Twenty years earlier, he explains, a woman named Ida Gilbert killed a man in an auto accident. She was determined to be drunk at the time of the accident and her father-in-law, Ronald Brownley, an oil millionaire who had objected to her marriage to his son, had her charged with manslaughter. Ida fled to Australia, where because she could not afford to care for her daughter Janice, Ida allowed the bishop to find a home for Janice with a couple in Salt Lake City. Brownley, searching for his granddaughter, has discovered a woman named Janice Alma Brownley who claims to be his granddaughter. The bishop knows she is a fake, however, and wants Perry to help him find the real heiress. Although Perry is suspicious of the bishop because of his stutter, he takes the case. Then the bishop is attacked in his hotel room by Peter Sacks, who is involved with the false Janice, and decides to return to Australia. Ida and her friend, Stella Kenwood, come to town and are located, along with Janice Seaton, by Perry, his secretary, Della Street, and his detective, Paul Drake. Then Janice disappears and Perry learns that the bishop is not on the boat to Australia. Ida plans to show Brownley a watch that proves Janice Seaton is his real granddaughter, but then he is shot by a woman in a white raincoat before Ida can meet with him. His body and car then disappear, and later the car is found in the bay. Ida's gun is in the car, and she is arrested for his murder. Perry takes on her defense. Brownley's body is found and it is discovered that he actually died of drowning. Perry reveals that Stella, the mother of the imposter Janice, shot Brownley after stealing Ida's gun, hoping to implicate her. Brownley did not die from the gun shot. Later, Sacks and his crony Victor Stockton, who had planned to murder Brownley in order to cover up their deception, pushed his car into the bay where he drowned, making them the actual murderers. The bishop reappears and speaks without stammering, explaining that he only stutters when he is under emotional shock.

Film Details

Genre
Mystery
Release Date
Jun 8, 1937
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Case of the Stuttering Bishop by Erle Stanley Gardner (New York, 1936).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono, Vitaphone
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
8 reels

Articles

The Case of the Stuttering Bishop


For Warner Bros.' last Perry Mason film, they cast boyish B-movie stalwart Donald Woods as the mystery-solving lawyer. Woods took the role over after author Erle Stanley Gardner complained about their casting of Ricardo Cortez as Mason in the previous film, The Case of the Black Cat (1936). With Ann Dvorak on hand in her only outing as his secretary, Della Street, Mason handles one of his most convoluted cases. An Australian bishop asks his help in finding an heiress whose mother has been railroaded on a drunk driving charge by her father-in-law. The heiress's search gets even more complicated when the woman's grandfather turns up dead, leaving Perry to defend the most obvious suspect, his daughter-in-law. Gardner disliked the Warner Bros. films, complaining that they never took him up on his offer to advise on the pictures. After this film, he withdrew the rights to the characters, though Warner's still retained story rights to his novels for a few years. As a result, they filmed Gardner's The Case of the Dangerous Dowager without using Perry Mason or any of the novels' other regular characters. Instead, they focused on the title character, played by May Robson, and called the picture Granny Get Your Gun (1940).
The Case Of The Stuttering Bishop

The Case of the Stuttering Bishop

For Warner Bros.' last Perry Mason film, they cast boyish B-movie stalwart Donald Woods as the mystery-solving lawyer. Woods took the role over after author Erle Stanley Gardner complained about their casting of Ricardo Cortez as Mason in the previous film, The Case of the Black Cat (1936). With Ann Dvorak on hand in her only outing as his secretary, Della Street, Mason handles one of his most convoluted cases. An Australian bishop asks his help in finding an heiress whose mother has been railroaded on a drunk driving charge by her father-in-law. The heiress's search gets even more complicated when the woman's grandfather turns up dead, leaving Perry to defend the most obvious suspect, his daughter-in-law. Gardner disliked the Warner Bros. films, complaining that they never took him up on his offer to advise on the pictures. After this film, he withdrew the rights to the characters, though Warner's still retained story rights to his novels for a few years. As a result, they filmed Gardner's The Case of the Dangerous Dowager without using Perry Mason or any of the novels' other regular characters. Instead, they focused on the title character, played by May Robson, and called the picture Granny Get Your Gun (1940).

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

This was the only film in the Perry Mason series that starred Donald Woods. For more information about the series see The Case of the Howling Dog (above) and consult the Series Index.