Cinema Slueth –  The Clay Pigeon

For review of all TV Shows / Movies in which the cast of Perry Mason TV Show (aired from 1957-1966) with Raymond Burr as Perry Mason acted in, go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Better than any B-Movie, with such a low budget the director and the cast pulled it off. Definitely worth your time to watch this film noir.

Here is the next movie in the series that has one the main casts from the 1950s and 1960s American television legal drama series Perry Mason, one of my favorite shows. We continue with another film that stars Barbara Hale who was Della Street on Perry Mason.

The Clay Pigeon is a 1949 American film noir drama directed by Richard Fleischer, produced by Herman Schlom and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film features Bill Williams and Barbara Hale in the lead. The screenplay was written by Carl Foreman, based on a true story.

Jim Fletcher (portrayed by Bill Williams) awakes from a coma and is informed that he is accused of murder. He escapes the hospital to find the real culprit taking help of his friend’s widow Martha Gregory (portrayed by Barbara Hale). The movie has real-life husband and wife pair in the lead – Bill and Barbara were married at the time of the filming.

Bill Williams looked very familiar to me, perhaps because his son William Kat resembles him a lot. But I cant remember to have seen any of his films before this one. Very interesting chemistry between Williams and Hale even though they are not paired as lovers to begin with.

The film focuses on the highly decorated 442nd Infantry Regiment of U.S. Army which mainly consisted of Japanese Americans. We see Japanese being shown in both good light as well as bad. The 1951 American black and white war film Go for Broke! gives more of their story.

This film is based on a true story of a U.S. serviceman recognizing his former sadistic Japanese POW camp guard on a street in Los Angeles. The guard, who had been born in the US, and therefore was an American citizen, had moved to Japan before the war and returned to the US afterwards. He was convicted of treason.

The film stayed pretty close to the true story, although the hardships the POWs faced at the hands pf the Japanese was minimized. It focused mostly around the mystery after the fact and the budding romance. The story does involve the elements of war, navy and traitors.

They kept the story as brief as they could with all the key elements of the plot woven in. Better than any B-Movie, with such a low budget the director and the cast pulled it off. Definitely worth your time to watch this film noir.

Spoiler Alerts:

Movie Trivia:

  1. Bill Williams and Barbara Hale are parents of actor William Kat who portrayed the role of Paul Drake Jr. in the Perry Mason movies that aired from 1985 – 1995. William Kat looks a lot like his father Bill Williams.
  2. The Chinatown shown in the film was destroyed by a fire shortly after the production of this film completed. It was not rebuilt there again. Chinatown moved to a different part in LA .

Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

  1. The envelope contains train ticket for Ted Niles. Yet Mrs. Gregory tells the naval intelligence that the ticket was in Tokoyama’s name.

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