Human Donkey Kong with a southern drawl, Joe Don Baker plays nightclub owner and big time gambler Ron Lewis. Ron gets the heads up of a game. “There’s gonna be big game dollars tonight. A bunch of turkeys coming down from New York. Gonna be like duck hunting!” cracking his fingers with big grin “I’ve been waiting months for a big game like this one“. His gal, nightclub partner and singer, Susan Barrett (Conny Van Dyke) is less than impressed. “Why can’t you quit when you’re ahead Ron?” “I’m a gambling man Susan, it’s what it is”. Just like the Tammy Wynette song, Susan stands by her man.
The Texas excursion goes like shooting fish in a barrel, Ron cleans up, like he knew he would. A bag full of cash. Bursting from the seams. Get that final payment on the nightclub, marry Susan. Life was gonna be sweet!…… We all know something’s coming. The title Framed is one give away the other is the poster’s tagline…..
He was taken by everyone, for everything he had. All he had left was one obsession. To get even. To pay them back, two for one.
Stumbling across some dodgy going on’s by the side of the highway travelling home, Ron finds himself shot at. An unknown man speeds off. Shaken but still in one piece our big Ron makes his way home. Only to be confronted by a waiting police officer with a huge chip on his shoulder. This scene soon escalates into pure uproar, heavy hitting blows, cracked skulls and a pile of blood. Ron is wheeled out on a stretcher and arrested. His huge wad of cash magically disappears. His lawyer is a “tub of shit in a suit!“. Ron soon finds himself serving a ten year sentence at Tennessee State Prison in Nashville and a lot time in a hospital bed. Ron don’t take to orders well. Hulking out and smashing when he can. Result? Yet another kicking.
Lucky for Ron a big time gangster Sal Viccarrone (John Marley) takes a shine to his poker dealing card skills. Along with his right hand man, thief and hit-man Vince Greeson (Gabriel Dell) they take Ron under their wing. With his prison term paroled after four years, Ron Lewis finds himself back on civilian street. With one big thing on his mind! Why was he framed, why hadn’t his beloved Susan testified at court? Where was his money and how was he gonna dish out pay back to all the corrupt police, mayors and lawyers. Why was everyone conspiring against him?
Come join the carnage as the giant lummox, big Ron Lewis, smashes his way through the whole of Tennessee seeking justice and revenge on all that had stupidly set him up.
Ron Lewis – “Listen… Someone I didn’t even know took everything away from me. I’m gonna make them pay, double, two for one.”
A Few Bits Of Random Info….
- Joe Don Baker is no stranger to these small town corruption and beat downs. He’d done it all before in the classic southern smasher Walking Tall (1973). In Framed he swaps a baseball bat for a broken broom handle.
- Joe Don Baker pops up all other the place. Probably best remembered as the CIA officer Jack Wade in the James Bond films Golden Eye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997). Or if you’ll about my age, then Fletch (1985) with Chevy Chase.
- Framed is directed by Phil Karlson. It sadly turned out to be his last film. He’d also directed the above mentioned Walking Tall (1973). Karlson had made many a great movie with these two noir drama’s being solid and essential recommendations. 99 River Street (1953) and Kansas City Confidential (1952). You can check my write ups on those links if you wish.
- The excellent Brock Peters turns up as Sergeant Sam Perry. You’ll know his familiar face as Tom Roberson in the classic To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) or if you’re a Trekkie then you will know him as Admiral Cartwright from a few Star Trek films.
- Ron Lewis’s girl, Susan, is played by Conny Van Dyke. She’s the resident club singer of her nightclub. Conny Van Dyke was one of the first white singers to be signed to the legendary Motown label. However she only recorded one single for the label. The track “Oh Freddy” written by Smokey Robinson with “It hurt me too” on the flip side.
- Hit-man Vince (Gabriel Dell) is the comic relief for this brutal film. Getting to drop some great lines like “I don’t like drinking in a broad’s apartment when they not here. Make’s me feel like an impatient pimp.” He’s like he starring in a different film. He’s fun to watch.
- Fun fact – Gabriel Dell is reported to have been the unaccredited voice for Star Wars bounty hunter Boba Fett. Before anyone loses their shit and says no way that’s not true! It was in the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special lol.
What did I think of the film?
I’d been trying to see this one for years. It just never crossed my path. It’s a pretty good film. Fits nicely into it’s keyword genre of Hixploitation. Framed really feels like a sequel to Walking Tall. It’s ferociously brutal at times. A few scenes to look out for. The garage fight between Ron and the cop is bonkers crazy and makes you go “SHHiiit!”, there’s a prison mace and beating with gas masks which makes you go “FUUuuuuck”. A stunt man surely died in a train crash as he drives out in a ball of flames! making you go “WHHaaat you gotta be kidding NO way!” and a hot spark plug cable in the ear hole will have you wince “JJJEEzz!”
There are a few times that you feel like you’ll watching a made for TV movie in the lighter scenes but that’s not too bad a thing. When the carnage and action rolls out you snap right back into it. You’ll be rooting for big Ron as he freight trains his way through a cess-pit full of raw sewage corruption.
My Wolfman rating for Framed is 7/10
Thanks for looking in. Have you seen this one? What did you think?
All the best. Keep enjoying the movies
PS would make a good double bill with the similar build of George Kennedy in Zig Zag (1970)