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Cross Examination (February 14, 1932)

H.B. Warner and Natalie Moorehead in Cross Examination

Released on February 14, 1932: A man is accused of killing his father, and can only be saved by the cunning skills of his defense attorney, who uncovers the real killer.

Directed by Richard Thorpe

The Actors: H.B. Warner (Gerald Waring, defense attorney), Sally Blane (Grace Varney), Natalie Moorhead (Inez Wells), Edmund Breese (Dwight Simpson, the prosecutor), Don Dillaway (David Wells), William V. Mong (Emory Wells), Eddie Bee (Don Darvel), Niles Welch (Warren Slade), Wilfred Lucas (Judge William Hollister), Nita Cavalier (Etta Billings), Frank Clark (court clerk), John Webb Dillon (Lieutenant Elkins), Margaret Fealy (Mrs. Martha Gregory, housekeeper), Rodney Hildebrand (manhole worker), Wayne Lamont (Ralph Varney), Murdock MacQuarrie (court officer), Lee Phelps (police officer Myles), Alexander Pollard (Raymond Boggs, butler), Jack Richardson (detective).

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Dad was a preacher, and he moved to new towns every few years, so the middle part of my youth was spent in Meadville, Pennsylvania. On Saturday evenings my schedule was usually the same. Dad would be working on his Sunday sermon, Mom would be doing last minute cleaning chores and then would relax in an easy chair to read the newspaper and do the crossword puzzle. Two television shows became part of my Saturday evening tradition. First was Lawrence Welk, with his champagne music and smiles. Later would be the thrilling Perry Mason, starring Raymond Burr. As soon as Perry Mason was finished, I was sent upstairs to have a bath and go to bed. So I always relished Perry Mason and absorbed every minute that I could, before being exiled upstairs and away from the family television. In my young teen mind Perry was the smartest man alive. How he could get the evidence on the bad guys and clear his client every week! With his secretary Della Street and the manly-tough private eye Paul Drake, no criminal was safe. This movie reminds me a lot of those evenings, as it involves a murder, and a defense attorney that defends the man with the motive, opportunity and means. Of course that man is innocent, but it will take the skilled questioning of his defense attorney to not only prove his innocence, but also uncover the real killer. And all of this happens in the courtroom, man to man, question and answer, truth and lies. Sit back with a large bowl of white kernel popcorn and enjoy a great court room battle between two attorneys matching wits against each other, and the truth. Uhhh, I just finished watching it, and feel the irresistible urge to take a bath and go to bed . . . .