Thursday, December 27, 2018


I bought this Dee-Vee-Dee for Paul McGarry figurin' it was gonna be a swell enough Christmas present given Paul's penchant for the wilder aspects of slam-pow entertainment. But after watching it myself I was so blasted by what transpired before my senses that I decided to KEEP THE FOOL THING FOR MY OWN SELF! It's that good of a moom that one can watch over and over again if only for the nice and violent parts an' y'know what...that's just what I'm gonna do! Fooey on you Paul, FOOEY!

Yeah, FRAMED is one of those mooms that really hits ya right between the soul, one where you can stand up and cheer at the end just like you used to do when watching Roy Rogers only these guys are so mean they make those crooked bankers and swindlers come off rather nicey-nice in comparison. An' the good guys might not seem that angelic to begin with, but when stacked up next to the cruds they might as well be St. Francis ifyaknowaddamean...

Former WALKING TALL star/true folk hero Joe Don Baker plays this gambler named Lewis who, after striking it big in a Texas big stakes poker game, heads home to Tennessee only to be (what else but) framed after killing a deputy sheriff in self defense (albeit on shaky grounds). That's after being shot at when driving home on a country road, all of which somehow (as we find out at the end) ties Lewis to this ya better believe true-to-life debacle. The gendarmes duly enough arrest him, confiscate the money and thanks to a bugged hospital room, a defense lawyer in cahoots with the sheriff's office and a couple of thugs who rape Lewis' gal (played just right without any of the modern day bitchiness you see by none other than Conny Van Dyke) into abject fear, Lewis takes the plea bargain and gets six-to-ten at the state pen for his troubles.

Not a bad stretch despite a rough start (threatening to gouge a guard's eye out ain't the way to endear yourself to the powers that be) because Lewis and his card prowess just happen to be noticed by a mob boss who can use the guy in his prison yard poker racket. And thanks to a little manipulation courtesy the mobster Lewis gets out after serving only four years, at which point he returns to his Tennessee town to gets some answers, extract some bloody revenge and (best of all) get alla that gambling money back.

As far as these get-even films go I can't think of any offhand that got me roarin' as FRAMED did. Baker is of course slow burning cool bursting into violent rage the way he "convinces" crooked politicians to tell the truth or deals out real justice to the hoods that raped his gal. (I was especially impressed by the part where the guy plugs an auto battery cable into one particularly unrepentant bad boy's ear before shooting it off.) Man, I can't see any true-blue BLOG TO COMM reader cheering Baker on in his search for the truth about what went on that fateful night and, given the times we've all hadda suck it up and take it like a man 'n all that who amongst us WOULDN'T  be cheering our heads off seeing some of the sickest beings ever on film (at least until ROLLING THUNDER, which FRAMED tops in my book!) get their comeuppance in the goriest ways possible.

The supporting actors are realistic enough to the point where you'd kinda think half the actors here playing the villains would have been accosted had they dared to show their mugs on the street. One of my fave heavies was H.B. Haggerty as Bickford, the beefoid cousin of the murdered deputy who's givin' Lewis a real hard time which Our Man certainly ain't taking! Also snat was John Morley, playing a mobster for a switch (remember, he's the one who went to bed with the horse's head in THE GODFATHER) who helps Lewis out with a little help from the paid off prison guards. Even snatter is Brock Peters as Deputy Perry, the sole black guy on the squad and the only one who has a real sense of justice despite him being a little too afraid of ending up a good six feet down himself. Far from the sensitive soul of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, Peters is cold and callous in his own way but possesses a conscience, at least enough of one to give Lewis some pertinent leads. I gotta say that this was one of the best serious black man roles I've seen in quite awhile, or at least since Nehemiah Hill (or was it Leigh Whipper as I originally wrote?) in OF MICE AND MEN!

Special accolades must be given to none other'n Gabriel Dell---yeah, the Bowery Boy!---as a hit man who pals up with Lewis in prison and, surprisingly enough re-enters into his life to off him! Dell might be the only reason you'd want to see this one...he's still cool and cocky like in the old days, and he plays the psycho with a heart of gold rather well looking surprisingly young in his mustache and greasy long hair. Why this role didn't lead to more big time slots in films I'll never know because, and I am being serious, Dell not getting a Supporting Actor Academy Award is akin to Arch Hall Jr. not getting that golden statue for THE SADIST!

Non stop action and tension abound, and the finale is enough to make you glad you're a living breathing mammal who needs your own sense of justice, vigilante-like or not! And Paul, yer gonna get this 'un from me this year...I was only teasin' ya!

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