Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Framed (1947)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Framed (1947)

Director Richard Wallace's low-budget, noirish crime thriller from Columbia Pictures involved greed, larceny, betrayal, and a duplicitous, nasty and seductive femme fatale.

Soon after desperate and down-and-out WWII vet and mining engineer Michael Lambert (Glenn Ford) took a temporary job as a Tri-City truck driver, he lost control of his runaway truck (with faulty brakes) on a steep highway, steered it into a small California town, and crashed it into the parked pickup truck of a miner named Jeff Cunningham (Edgar Buchanan). He was paid $15 for his truck run, and gave some of the money to Jeff to pay for the damages himself.

La Paloma Cafe
Waitress Paula Craig (Janis Carter)
Michael Speaking to Waitress

Michael went across the street to La Paloma Cafe and bar for a stiff whiskey drink, and noticed the well-dressed, narcissistic, blonde bar-maid/waitress Paula Craig (Janis Carter) staring at him and appearing interested. After a few moments, police arrived and Michael was arrested for reckless driving and for having an expired license. Before a judge, he was sentenced to either a $50 fine or ten days in jail. The waitress had followed him to the court and strangely offered to pay his $50 fine and bail him out, in order to release him immediately.

Michael followed Paula back to her place of work and drank until he blacked out at one of the tables at closing time. He muttered to himself, vowing: "I'm gonna make good." Paula entered the dining area after quitting her job, citing that she was "tired." Her boss noted her concern for Michael: "When a girl like you wants something, she gonna get it." She took the soused Michael to a hotel and rented a $3 room for him (and left him a $5 dollar bill in his wallet) before leaving at about 12:15 am. Afterwards, she walked to her Park Court apartment, changed into a different outfit and put on a monogrammed coat, proceeded in the middle of the night to the bank, and met up with her lover in his parked car - married Empire Trust & Savings Bank VP Stephen Price (Barry Sullivan).

The well-dressed Paula hopped in the car and immediately told him: "I found him." She added that the man, presumably Michael, had the same height and body build as Stephen. At his luxurious mountainous "shack" hideout, it was revealed that she had chosen to work at La Paloma for the last 5 weeks for the sole purpose of identifying a fall guy for their ultimate criminal scheme of embezzling $250,000, and now she proclaimed: "We're ready." The couple had been having an affair for two years, after he met the ex-model (being photographed in furs) in Chicago ("Like an angel in furs"). She replied covetously: "Someone else's furs."

Paula to Stephen: "I found him"
Co-Conspirators Stephen Price
(Barry Sullivan) and Paula at His Mountain "Shack"

Their ulterior motive was to set up a safety deposit box at the bank in Paula's name, where he would deposit stolen $250,000 of embezzled funds (from his wife's account) within a week. She assured him: "I'm sure it will work."

Stephen dropped her off and then returned to his home early in the morning and found his betrayed and suspicious wife Beth (Karen Morley) awake, since he had been gone all night - once again. He proposed that she was imagining his infidelity after nine years of marriage. The well-mannered, intelligent, and opportunist husband had acquired his prestigious bank job through Beth's father. She slapped him across the face for admitting that he had married her for her riches and respectability: "That's for telling me what I bought and paid for."

The next day, the hung-over Michael, who couldn't remember anything about the previous evening, was filled in by the hotel desk clerk. Paula had left him a note with her name and phone number. He visited the J.B. Smith Assay Office for work and the clerk Sandy (Paul Burns) mentioned that a lucky "old codger" prospector had just struck a rich vein in an old abandoned and remote silver mine 50 miles away, and might hire him. In a few moments, Jeff, the same man whose truck Michael had hit, entered and discovered his find was valuable ("Maybe I struck 'er!"). Still in the office, Michael was recommended by the clerk for employment due to his background as a college-graduated mining engineer. The kindly Jeff offered Michael employment with a 10% cut.

While Jeff was negotiating at the bank for a loan, Michael was visited by Paula in his hotel room. He told her about his drinking problem: "Don't count on anything I said last night. Liquor blanks me out....I told you I never remember what I do after I've had a couple of drinks." She was surprised to learn that he was planning to leave town for a mining job - it would disrupt her nefarious plan. She claimed that he was running away, because he was afraid of her - and then he grabbed her and gave her a forceful kiss to show her otherwise: ("That's to show you how wrong you are, lady"). After she learned about Jeff's loan deal ("It takes dough to get that silver out"), she left swiftly and immediately phoned Stephen at the bank (with her caller code-name Helen Bailey) to cut off the $30,000 funding.

Now that Michael was forced to remain in town for awhile longer, he attempted to begin a relationship with Paula: ("I can see several good reasons why I should stay").

Meanwhile, Stephen told Paula that the $250,000 was already in her safe deposit box, but that bank examiners would be arriving at the bank for two weeks. In the meantime, they needed to plot the second part of their scheme - to orchestrate Michael's 'accidental' death the next evening. The conniving killer-couple drove to a pre-selected cliffside location (at a dangerous curve), where Paula (in the backseat) rehearsed striking passenger Michael in the head with a monkey wrench, before sending the car over the side and causing a fiery crash. Because Michael and Stephen's body types were similar, Michael's body would be mistaken for Stephen's and there would be no need for a police investigation: ("There will be nothing left to identify. And Lambert becomes Price...A just end for an embezzler").

Stephen and Paula Rehearsing Michael's 'Accidental' Murder at Cliffside

That evening, Michael watched from the shadows as Paula was dropped off by her lover. He angrily went to her apartment and paid back all his debts owed to her, and threatened to leave her. When she called him "insulting," he answered: "Oh, I couldn't insult you. That wouldn't be possible." He was very suspicious of her strange behavior toward him:

"Now, this is beginning to make sense. A waitress that doesn't look like a waitress, quittin' her job. Why? 'Cause she's tired? Expensive perfume, plenty of money, money to throw away on a guy like me? Pay his fine, gettin' him a room, what for, a laugh?...I'm through and I'm gettin' out of here."

He jealously explained how he had seen her other rich boyfriend - whom she identified as Stephen Price, the VP of the Empire Bank. She claimed she had spoken to Price for his sake in order to have Price "reconsider the [Cunningham] loan. He's going with us tomorrow and look at Cunningham's property. Do you understand Mike, you've got the deal." Michael asked: "What did you do to persuade him?" She stressed her love for Michael: "I wanted you to get the job. I couldn't let you drift away." She also boasted of her ability to get what she wanted as a La Paloma waitress - including information on Price's rich wife:

"A lot of people come to La Paloma....One way or another, a smart girl gets to know in which closet they keep the family skeleton. When she rattles that skeleton - BINGO."

He decided to remain for the evening at her place. The next day, the threesome drove to visit the Cunningham mine site. On their return, they stopped at Stephen's mountain "shack" for a celebratory drink. While washing his hands, Michael was startled when he noticed Paula's prominently embroidered name on her white bathrobe hanging in the bathroom. Upon his return downstairs, he began drinking heavily and both of them noticed a turn in his behavior. Lambert noted to Paula: "He's in love with you." They encouraged him to continue drinking and by 9:20 pm, Michael passed out.

Paula spontaneously decided to alter their previous plan as they approached the dangerous curve in the road and parked - as she held up the monkey wrench and looked at both men in front of her, she decided to double-cross Stephen. She bludgeoned him in the head and killed him instead of Michael. She pulled a drunken and unconscious Michael from the passenger seat, removed the bank deposit key from Stephen's pocket, released the brake, and then sent the car off the cliffside. A half-smile came to her face as she heard the fiery crash.

The Tense Drive to the Deadly Cliffside

After somehow returning to Paula's apartment and awakening the next morning on her couch, Michael had no recollection of what had happened. Out on the street early in the morning, Paula saw the headlines in the newspaper: "BANKER DEAD IN ACCIDENT - Stephen Price Killed in Auto Crash" - she rushed to the bank, but it was closed due to the death. When she returned to Michael, she was assured that he had remembered nothing.

The false-hearted Paula confessed to Michael that she had lied about Stephen, and then after showing him the newspaper, convinced Michael that he had accidentally killed Stephen during a drunken rage: ("You killed him, Mike. Don't you remember?...I tried to stop you. You were drunk. You accused him of making advances. When he called off the deal, you got angry and hit him. He fell against the fireplace, hitting his head"). She implied that she had staged the 'accident' to cover for him, and urged him to not go to the police and confess - "If you go to the police, you'll hang....I'll hang too. I helped to cover for you, to make it look like an accident." She entreated him to pack his bags and leave town with her the next day. He was upset with her: "I'm back where I started - nowhere."

The next day's headlines reversed the original reports: "AUTO ACCIDENT PROVED MURDER." The newspaper described how the revised autopsy report stated that Price had died from a blow to the back of the head with a blunt instrument, causing a cerebral hemorrhage, rather than from the car crash. Another stunning twist was that Jeff Cunningham had been arrested for the murder - his possible vengeful motive was that he had admitted quarreling with Price over his denied loan. Some of his laundry was also found in the trunk of the car.

In the local jail, Michael spoke to Jeff who was in a "tough spot" and claimed his innocence. He had no alibi to prove his whereabouts. When Jeff mentioned a phone call that interrupted the loan discussion with Price, Michael suspected that Paula had made the call ("I think I have an idea who might have done it, but what I don't know is why") and had also killed Stephen. He mused to Jeff: "I was the last man with Price...That's when I may have killed him." Both thought something was fishy about Price who kept changing his mind about the loan deal.

Posing as a reporter, Michael spoke to Price's bank secretary Miss/Mrs. Jane Woodworth (Barbara Woodell) that evening at her home since the bank was closed. He learned that the phone call to Price - from a Helen Bailey, Paula's code-name - had abruptly ended the loan negotiations with Jeff. Realizing that Michael was an imposter, the wife's suspicious husband Jack (Jim Bannon) phoned the police, and Michael was forced to punch him out before fleeing the home in the dark and hiding in a garbage dump.

The next morning, Michael arrived at Paula's place with his suitcase. She kissed him and assured him: "We've got to think of us." She had a sudden look of apprehension when he asked if she knew a "Helen Bailey." He realized that she had been in cahoots with Stephen from her startled reaction. In the kitchen, Paula reached for poison and mixed it in Michael's cup of coffee, but then when he went to drink from it, she distracted him with a kiss and overturned the cup.

She proceeded to the bank for its early morning opening - in order to retrieve the stashed and ill-gotten $250,000 dollars in her safe deposit box. After she entered the secured area, retrieved the box, and went to a private viewing booth to stuff her purse with the wads of cash, Michael confronted her there about her motives and duplicity:

Michael: "You'd let me go on believing that I killed him."
Paula: "I had to hold you."
Michael: "You killed him - for that!"
Paula: "It was either Price or you. He wanted to kill you and let you burn, so they'd think it was him."
Michael: "It would have hurt less that way."
Paula: "I couldn't tell you before, Mike. I was afraid I'd lose you."
Michael: "I didn't care what you were or what you did before we met."
Paula: "Listen to me. We met by luck. We had a few hours. We belong to each other, Mike. You know that."
Michael: "Sure, I wanted it that way more than anything in the world, but it's no good, Paula."
Paula: "Mike, Mike. Listen to me. (She grabbed him) We can go away. Anywhere. All that money's ours. We can do anything we want." (She stuffed more money in her purse)
Michael: "What about Cunningham? Would you let him die for something he didn't do?"
Paula: "We could get him a good lawyer."
Michael: "It's no good, Paula."
Paula: "I can't let this go. I waited too long, Mike. You don't know what it is to wear someone else's clothes, to have to smile when you don't want to. Oh, Mike, if I'd only known you before I met Price. (She turned to leave) Then, this is goodbye, Mike."

As she was about to leave the bank, she was confronted by police officers and bank guards ready to arrest her. She pleaded with Mike and hugged him: "Oh, Mike. Help me, I'm scared, Mike. They're out there." He looked at her coldly as she became accusatory: "You told them!" As she was driven away outside the bank, he calmly lit his cigarette as a bank guard told him: "You'll get a big reward for this," but he declined: "You keep it."

Michael Lambert (Glenn Ford) at Wheel of Runaway Truck

Michael with Truck Owner Jeff Cunningham (Edgar Buchanan)

Michael Arrested at Bar by Police

Paula Offered to Pay $50 Fine Ordered by Judge

Paula Changing Into A Different Outfit

Beth Price (Karen Morley) - Stephen's Betrayed Wife

Paula Learning That Michael Was Leaving Town - Michael's Kiss

Paula Convincing Michael That She Was Using Stephen Price to Help Him

On the Drive to the Cunningham Mining Site

Paula's Embroidered Bathrobe Hanging in the Bathroom of Stephen's 'Shack'

Headlines About 'Accident'

Paula to Michael: "You killed him, Mike. Don't you remember?"

Paula: "I'll hang too."


Miss (or Mrs.) Woodworth (Barbara Woodell)

Paula's Reaction to Michael's Question: "Do you know a woman named Helen Bailey?"

Paula's Idea to Poison Michael's Coffee

The Overturned Cup of Coffee

Paula Confronted by Michael In the Private Bank Viewing Booth

Paula About to be Arrested by Police

A Final Hug with Michael

Paula's Last Look at Michael Before Being Driven Away by Police

Last Lines of Dialogue with Bank Guard


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