PLEASE MURDER ME! Distributors Corporation of America, 1956. Angela Lansbury, Raymond Burr, Dick Foran, John Dehner, Lamont Johnson, Denver Pyle, Russell Thorson. Director: Peter Godfrey. Available for viewing on YouTube.

   As almost all of the user reviews on IMDb point out, this inexpensively made feature attraction could easily have been a dry run for Raymond Burr in being chosen for the leading role in the Perry Mason TV series the following year. A small but significant portion takes place in a courtroom, one which looks a lot like the one on Perry Mason – but then again, don’t all courtrooms in the movies or on TV look alike?

   As well-known lawyer Craig Carlson, Burr plays a defense attorney in this one. Accused of murder is the woman he loves, Angela Lansbury as Myra Leeds. Dead is Carlson’s best friend, Myra’s husband, from whom she was seeking a divorce. She claims she shot him in self-defense, and with a ploy that shocks all of the onlookers in the courtroom, including a gaggle of eager reporters, Carlson makes it stick.

   Then comes the truth, which I won’t reveal (but which I’ll allow you to guess), which is when the movie takes off at double speed, ending in the kind of moment that is only allowed in the movies, but which I found quite engrossing. The fancifulness of it all can easily be overlooked in light of the intensity of Raymond Burr’s character, which is almost but not quite over the top. Angela Lansbury, as a femme fatale, not so very much. In my opinion, of course.