4 February 2017 | Spikeopath
I'm right back where I started. Nowhere!!
Framed (AKA: Paula) is directed by Richard Wallace and adapted to screenplay by Ben Maddow from a story written by Jack Patrick. It stars Glenn Ford, Janis Carter, Barry Sullivan and Edgar Buchanan. Music is by Marlin Skiles and cinematography by Burnett Guffey.
Mike Lambert (Ford), down on his luck and fed up of getting nowhere in life, meets sultry waitress Paula Craig (Carter) and things will either get better or worse?
There's a road sign in this that grabs the attention, it reads DANGEROUS CURVES! Now that initially is in reference to a perilous road - with roads featuring prominently as dangerous parts of the play - but it quite easily could be, and in all probability is, a sneaky reference to Janis Carter's femme fatale. Paula Craig in Carter's hands dominates the film, not that Ford or Sullivan are pointless fodder, but it is both the actress and her character's show.
After a burst of pacey excitement opens the pic, action moves on to a cafe, from where we are introduced to Guffey's talents, from this point on almost everything is atmospherically shot. Slats and shads, lamps and cell bars, all get the Guffey lens treatment that's sitting superbly with the unfolding psychological dynamics. Very early on we are delivered two characters who basically are a cheater and a viper, while the main man of our story is a guy who struggling with his identity in life. He also likes a drink, but with that comes memory loss, which is never a good thing when you are holed up in a noirville town.
Stripping it back for examination you find the story is very simple, which is surprising and a little disappointing given the screenplay writer also did The Asphalt Jungle. Yet the characters and the actors performances, helped by some classy tech work, more than compensates - that is until the finale, which for some (me for sure) is a bad choice for character tone. But it's not a film killer, for we get everything from orgasmic glee shown in the process of a callous crime being committed, to characters either in need of a soul or facing their days of judgement. 7/10