Framed (1947)

Framed (1947) is a sap drifter frame-up femme-fatale murder film noir which features many a trope from the classic canon, and provides evil atmosphere aplenty for noir-seekers seeking the less than canonical but still functional examples of the classical canon.

Within this atmospheric noir landscape Glenn Ford assumes the role of the intrepid trucker miner and engineer heel and sap for the rap drifter Mike Lambert, a man thrust into an alcoholic ordeal when he unwittingly becomes embroiled in a web of deceit and danger. 

Behind the wheel of a truck sans brakes, his journey careens into the shadowy confines of La Paloma, a nondescript bar and restaurant where fatal sleaze and hot love intertwines his path with that of the enigmatic waitress, Paula Craig, portrayed with mesmerising female fatalistic allure by Janis Carter.

Paula, with her beguiling charm and calculating gaze, recognises Mike as a sap pawn ripe for manipulation, a tool to further her nefarious schemes alongside her paramour, the suave and duplicitous Steven Price, played with sly charisma by Barry Sullivan. 

Their clandestine agenda unfolds with chilling precision: the need for a sacrificial heel to bear the weight of Price's embezzlement, thereby facilitating their escape with the ill-gotten gains—a sum totalling a staggering $250,000.

Thus with elements of many classic and class noir tropes, Framed (1947) slides from frame to frame with ease and sleaze, telling a typically fantastic and fatalistic tale of crazed woe. While Janis carter is great at playing that nearly innocent and high-class woman of bad intentions, Glenn Ford is portrayed as a heel with a taste for the booze, and much of what ails him is thankfully explained away by his love of drink, which seems absolute and ultimately of great aid to the script. 

Twentieth Century heel —  Glenn Ford in Framed (1947)

Amidst this machination, greed and betrayal, Mike finds himself ensnared in a deadly game of plot thickening manipulation and the stakes soar ever higher, he must navigate the treacherous waters of deceit, grappling with the realization that his fate hangs precariously in the balance. Amid this script there are too some decent switches to enjoy as the trip of trouble trip quickly towards the generous conclusion.

With elements of a downgraded Double Indemnity (1944) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1947) the elements of the wandering and absent male seemed to be the firmest film noir ground of the day, presenting an unstable society where gender means murder.

Within Richard Wallace's 1947 fun and fast enough to forget cinematic offering, viewers are confronted with a stark portrayal of a world where corruption and societal decay reign supreme, casting a dark shadow over the fabric of existence. 

Fatally feminine —  Janis Carter in Framed (1947)

Framed (1947) may not claim the mantle of the foremost title within the canon, its thematic essence serves as a poignant reflection of the prevailing worldview emblematic of many of Columbia's more revered noirs. 

Indeed, within the murky depths of this cinematic landscape, an intriguing fusion emerges—a marriage of acerbic humour interwoven with an unrelenting sense of desolation.

What distinguishes Columbia's film noirs is their uncanny knack for distilling weighty philosophical inquiries and profound existential dilemmas into the compact confines of their low-budget productions. Each frame of Framed (1947) is a canvas upon which the complexities of the human condition are laid bare, rendered with a starkness and poignancy that resonate with audiences on a visceral level. Indeed, the studio's noirs stand as a testament to their ability to imbue their narratives with heavy ideas and evocative imagery, transcending the limitations of their modest resources.

Janis Carter in Framed (1947)

In Framed (1947) as in many of its cinematic brethren, the line between humour and despair blurs, as in the best of noir it must, creative only of the notion of black humour and a tapestry of emotional resonance that is as unsettling as it is compelling. 

It's all happening at La Paloma Cafe — in Framed (1947)

Here, within the chiaroscuro labyrinth of the twisted narrative, viewers are confronted with the inescapable truth of human frailty and moral ambiguity — a truth that reverberates through every frame, leaving an indelible mark upon the consciousness. 

We're talking about black humour here, and let me tell ya, it's as dark as the bottom of a whiskey bottle on a moonless night. This ain't your grandma's chuckle factory, see? This is the kind of humour that's so twisted, it'll make you laugh while you're digging your own grave.

As the credits roll and the haunting strains of the score fade into the ether, one is left to ponder the profound implications of the journey just undertaken. In this world of shadows and half-truths, where bleakness and humour intertwine, there are no easy answers — only the relentless march of time and the immutable passage of fate.

C'est noir —  Bummed out in Framed (1947)

Framed (1947) stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Columbia's noirs — a testament to their ability to captivate, provoke, and ultimately, illuminate the human condition in all its complexity.

As the narrative unfolds, the tension simmers to a fever pitch, propelled by the electrifying chemistry between Ford and Carter, whose on-screen dynamic crackles with a potent blend of attraction and mistrust. Their exchanges, laden with subtext and simmering tension, serve as the linchpin of the film's gripping narrative, a testament to the timeless allure of the noir style.

In Framed (1947) director Richard Wallace who is a director more famed than framed for light comedic romances makes a stab at a tapestry of suspense and intrigue. Against the dingy diner backdrop of a world shrouded in shadows and secrets, the characters of the later 1940s dance upon a razor's edge, their destinies entwined in a fatalistic embrace — a cinematic tour de force that leaves an indelible mark upon the annals of noir history.

One of the greater aspects of this era of noir is that they didn't do scene setting in the 1940s. That is one of the great strengths of the decade's noir, and so films open straight into the action, opening into chaos, as here, with no establishing shots nor cats to be rescued in trees — the apathetic feted scriptwriting challenge of every wannabe Hollywood dreamer.

Barry Sullivan and Janis Carter in Framed (1947)

In this symphony of chaos, Mike Lambert's truck hurtles down the sinuous curves of a mountain road, a testament to the rugged honesty of the man behind the wheel, which is Glenn Ford. As this self-same noir-bound truck careens through the heart of the town, a tableau of destruction unfolds, leaving bystanders in awe of the havoc wrought upon one fender, which is the ultimate and fortunate damage.

Yet, amidst this near wreckage, and perhaps amid the suggestion too that this man may be an alcoholic desperate for work, as opposed to a blue-collar sap abused by his capitalistic bosses Mike emerges not as a mere driver, but as a paragon of sappery, his actions a testament to the pathos-laden spirit that courses through the later 1940s, as he selflessly tends to more alcohol in the nearby diner-bar relinquishing his hard-earned proceeds with a solemn sense of duty to a man whose truck he damages.

Alas, fate and a few glasses of whisky in all their cruel and inanimate machinations, leads Mike astray, as he crosses paths with the enigmatic Paula, a figure of allure and treachery whose presence casts a shadow over his unsuspecting soul.

In her portrayal, Carter emanates a palpable aura of power, her eyes ablaze with a fierce intensity that sends shivers down the spine. Yet, perhaps, her portrayal veers too far into the realm of strength, rendering her transformation into the affable Mike a somewhat tenuous endeavour. The chemistry between them, though potent, fails to coalesce with the same fervour as Paula's dynamic with Steve, played with suave aplomb by Sullivan — a deficiency that punctuates the central twist of the script with a lingering sense of regret.

Nevertheless, amidst the shadows of doubt, the film stands as a bastion of noir mediocrity, its foundation built upon the timeless pillars of classic screenplay elements. Ford's portrayal of the understated fall guy is the hard-wired and curiously typical dimension to the narrative, his occasional forays into sartorial elegance a stark contrast to his blue-collar origins — a dichotomy that underscores the attempts to bring complexity to his character. 

Director Wallace's steady hand guides the proceedings with a journeyman's precision, save for one inspired moment — the sharp intake of breath from Paula in the aftermath of the crash — a plunging glimpse into the nexus of sexuality and violence, rendered with daring flair by Carter, etching itself indelibly into the annals of cinematic history.

Indeed, the film serves as a poignant reminder of the power of restraint, of how less can evoke so much more within the boundless expanse of the imagination—a lesson that modern cinema would do well to heed amidst the cacophony of sensory overload.

Karen Morley in Framed (1947)

In a tale woven with the threads of fate's caprice, Glenn Ford graces the silver screen as a mysterious and alcohol-seeking stranger, his attracting presence heralding the winds of change upon the tranquil canvas of a nondescript town. Yet, destiny, in its whimsical machinations, swiftly entwines him in a tangle of intrigue and peril, where the siren's call of danger echoes forth.

Enter the luminous Janis Carter, a vision of allure veiled beneath the guise of benevolence, extending her hand to pluck Ford from the clutches of adversity. Little does he discern that her grace belies a heart steeped in darkness, a femme fatale whose machinations dance to the sinister tune of malice. Alongside her paramour, the debonair Barry Sullivan, they conspire in the shadows, weaving a web of deceit and treachery, the spectre of murder looming large as they seek to obscure the stains of embezzlement.

There in this script, where these details are as real as noir and where our femme fatale is ready to switch sap upon sap, heel to heel, and amidst not so much a labyrinth of duplicity, as a small back garden of duplicity, unforeseen twists unfurl like tendrils of ivy upon the hallowed grounds of deception. Carter's character emerges as a villainess of malevolence. Conversely, Ford's portrayal transcends the archetype of the hapless sapfull victim, his resilience reserved into a mode of getting too drunk to make real decisions, a tactic serving as a formidable foil to Carter's designs, leaving her ensnared in her own web.

Art Smith in Framed (1947)

While the narrative may not ascend to the zenith of greatness, its allure lies in its aesthetic opulence, a veritable symphony of style and sensuality that ignites the screen with incandescent allure. Within its frames, the essence of the femme fatale thrives, a tempest of allure and danger that tantalizes the senses and quickens the pulse — a cinematic confection that sates the appetite for intrigue and allure.

Comparisons may be drawn to Ford's earlier appearance in the film noir masterpiece, Gilda (1946), yet this opus retains its own distinct charm and allure, a testament to the timeless appeal of the femme fatale archetype. One cannot help but ponder the enigma of Janis Carter's career, her portrayal a tour de force of exquisite malevolence and allure, a conflagration of talent and beauty that flickers tantalizingly upon the annals of cinematic history, leaving an indelible imprint upon the minds of aficionados.

Janis Carter, despite an often overlooked filmography from the illustrious era of the 1940s, emerges as a diamond in the rough, deserving of far greater recognition and plum roles befitting her undeniable talent. 

In her portrayal of the cunning and enigmatic Paula Craig, she embodies the quintessential archetype of the cool blonde bombshell, her every movement a symphony of instinctual allure, despite occasional line deliveries tinged with a hint of stiffness. It is through her character's machinations that Glenn Ford's downtrodden mining engineer, grappling with his own demons of unemployment and alcoholism, becomes ensnared in a web of deceit and danger.

Barry Sullivan in Framed (1947)

So here upon the tableau of Framed (1947) Carter and Ford navigate the treacherous terrain with aplomb, breathing fresh life into a tale that has previously been tread by the likes of cinematic luminaries such as Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray, and Lana Turner and John Garfield, with Ford's drifter alcoholism acting as a convenient plot driver when need be, if for example he needs to be completely blacked out for a scene, the drink can provide.

Yet, their rendition demands greater prominence, as it unfolds with a narrative finesse that belies its predecessors. The writing, direction, and cinematography converge to create an atmospheric attempt at the indefinable blackness of the age that transcends the bounds of convention, elevating the film to a realm of excellence perhaps not in comparison to its film noir contemporaries, but certainly as a perfect foil to the larger scale mainstream cinema of its day.

"Meteorite falls near baby" —  Framed (1947)

One singular moment, a stroke of genius amidst the tapestry of intrigue, sees a local newspaper's headline boldly announcing one character's arrest for murder, juxtaposed beneath a smaller, seemingly inconsequential story: "Meteorite falls near baby." 

It is a curiosity of storytelling, hinting at the cosmic absurdity that lurks beneath the surface of human drama — a subtle nod to the interconnectedness of fate and happenstance, and perhaps, indeed, there exists another film or story  that explores this cosmic dance, a testament to the enduring power of storytelling to captivate and enthral across the ages.

Edgar Buchanan in Framed (1947)

An independent studio, Lippert Pictures, released the first Superman feature film, Superman and the Mole Men, starring George Reeves, in 1951;  and in 1954, see Stamp Day for Superman — a short film produced for the U.S. Treasury to promote "Stamp Day", featuring George Reeves as Superman and Noel Neill as Lois Lane.

Framed (1947)

Directed by Richard Wallace

Sub-Genres - Film Noir / Drifter Noir / Femme Fatale Murder Noir  |   Release Date - Mar 7, 1947 (USA - Unknown), May 25, 1947 (USA)  |   Run Time - 82 min | Framed (1947) on Wikipedia

IMDB List of Burnett Guffey Film Noir

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