Framed and Mr. Soft Touch

A Glenn Ford double bill, with his son Peter as a special guest, signing his book GLENN FORD: A LIFE

This show was packed to the rafters, a sold-out crowd full of famous names and classic stars who came out for this tribute to the brooding, magnetic and dangerously sexy “Man Who Tamed Gilda!” And allegedly knocked her up too, according to the explicit daily diaries he left behind.

Our first feature was FRAMED.

This film ran neck in neck with BRUTE FORCE and KISS TOMORROW GOODBYE for the most overtly “noirish” offering this year. Everything about FRAMED, from the tough, punchy title to the classic unhappy ending was pitch perfect. Ford’s character starts off fucked from frame one and it all goes down hill from there.

Ford plays a hunky drifter who barrels into town behind the wheel of a truck with no breaks, right into the treacherous arms of a scheming blonde femme fatale, played by Janis Carter. Carter is having an affair with married Barry Sullivan, who coincidentally plays yet another bank employee. But unlike his beleaguered hero in LOOPHOLE, this time he’s the frame-er rather than the frame-ee. He and Carter cook up a scheme to fake his death and make off with the cash he embezzled from the bank. All they need is a body. A man with the same height and build, someone with no friends or family. A man like Ford. But once our femme fatale gets a taste of the man who tamed Gilda, she gets other ideas and throws a monkey wrench (literally) into Sullivan’s plans.

FRAMED was my kind of movie. Nothing new or terribly original, but still a blast from start to finish. Highly recommended.

Between the flicks, host Alan Rode talked with Glenn’s son Peter about his father and his biography. I could have listened to Peter’s facinating and racy stories all night. He sold out of his book last night, so I wasn’t able to score a copy, but after hearing him speak, I’m going to have to hunt one down.

Next up, the quirky MR. SOFT TOUCH

In this one, Ford plays a war hero named “Joe Miracle” (get it?) who comes home to find that gangsters have taken over his nightclub. He steals back the money that he thinks is rightfully his and goes on the lam, hiding out in a shelter for homeless families. He ends up falling for a saintly, partially deaf social worker, played by Evelyn Keyes. Wackiness ensues, and Ford winds up dressed like Santa Claus. No, I’m not kidding.

This film had some noirish elements and a down ending, but it can’t really be classified as pure Film Noir. It has elements of comedy and romance. The dark ending was sweetened and tempered with a pinch of redemption. It even threatened to veer into sappy cute-kid tearjerker territory, but thankfully never really did. Overall, this flick is smart and genuinely funny with a strong, crackling script and a cast of bizarre and memorable secondary characters. Definitely worth watching.

There was some drama over whether or not the newly struck prints of DOWN THREE DARK STREETS and CRY TOUGH were going to make it to Hollywood in time for tonight’s show. Lucky for us, they did, and your plucky ringside reporter will be there, bringing you the blow-by-blow from my usual seat.

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