Anyone a fan of actor Warren William? I'm reading a biography about him that's really first-rate: Magnificent Scoundrel by John Stangeland. It's so well researched both for William's life and general Hollywood history.

Very perceptive on William's career and why he didn't break out as a huge star even though he consistently did excellent work as the scoundrels you "loved to hate" (hence the title of the bio). William had an uncanny magnetism and is always fun to watch even in secondary roles or B-films.

A lot of his films have been coming out on DVD after not being available. My favorite of his films is probably Employees Entrance (Forbidden Hollywood collection); also love Skyscraper Souls, Under Eighteen, The Mind Reader, and Lady for a Day. And he's a great foil for Mae West in the hilarious (and underrated) Go West, Young Man.

Warner has come out with a set of six Perry Mason movies from the 30s, and William is in four of them. They're very different in tone and representations of the Mason character: Case of the Lucky Legs is more comedic, Case of the Howling Dog is a straight-on mystery -- but all very well written and entertaining. His sidekick in three of the films is Allen Jenkins and they're a fun team. Case of the Howling Dog will show on TCM on 3/27; and some of his other movies are scheduled on TCM in March and April.