Janis Carter (femme fatale in Framed, Woman on Pier 13), Robert Ryan, John Garfield

"The Woman on Pier 13" (original title I Married a Communist) was a pet project of RKO boss Howard Hughes. His meddling delayed the movie’s release until 1951 after HUAC’s halycon days were past, and it bombed at the box office.

The screenplay, has the ‘commies’ work as a bunch of hoods. It is with some irony that 60 years on it is the greed of bankers and not the ideology of leftists that has brought global capitalism to the brink of collapse, so take the red-menace propaganda here with a good dose of salt and you have a top film noir.

Robert Ryan and Laraine Day in "The Woman on Pier 13" (1949) directed by Robert Stevenson

The cast is particularly strong. Robert Ryan plays the former commie, and the lovely Laraine Day (The Locket) his wife. Thomas Gomez is a ruthless commie boss, with Janis Carter (Night Editor, Framed, I Love Trouble) as an undercover commie femme-fatale who mixes politics and love, and William Talman (Armored Car Robbery, The Racket, The Hitch-Hiker, City That Never Sleeps, Big House USA ) is convincing as a carnie moonlighting as a commie hit-man –in his first role". Source: filmsnoir.net

A future of happiness awaits San Francisco shipping executive Brad Collins (Robert Ryan) and his new bride (Laraine Day). Back in his days as a dockworker, Brad was an activist member of the Communist Party. Now the Party has resurfaced like a bad dream in Brad’s life, putting the screws on and threatening to spill his past if he doesn’t play ball and stir up a labor strike.

The stolid Robert Ryan plays a San Francisco shipping executive who's changed his name to escape his shameful past as a Communist Party member, but here the Commies are like the mob: Just when you thought you were out, they pull you back in.

Janis Carter is pretty entertaining as the Commie femme fatale, who returns to help blackmail Ryan's Brad Collins (or Frank Johnson the Commie) into sabotaging labor negotiations at the San Francisco pier.

Janis Carter (1913 - 1994)

After graduating with two degrees (Arts and Music) from Mather College (Western Reserve) in Cleveland, Ohio in 1935, Janis Carter headed to New York with aspirations of embarking on a musical career in opera. However, when the Met offered her an audition, a case of nerves assured her failure and an end to that ambition. Landing on her feet, she got a part in the Broadway musical, I Married An Angel. Darryl Zanuck of 20th Century Fox attended the opening night and was impressed enough with Janis to offer her a contract.

She arrived in Hollywood in February, 1941, and stayed for 12 years making more than 30 movies for 20th Century Fox, MGM, Columbia, and RKO. After leaving Hollywood for good, Janis headed back to New York and began a career working in television. She became the hostess of the NBC quiz show, Feather Your Nest, working with Bud Collyer. In 1956, Janis married Julius Stulman and retired from show business. With the same enthusiasm she had shown in other areas of her life, she involved herself in cultural activities of her community serving in various capacities throughout the years, primarily in Sarasota, Florida.

Janis Carter and William Gargan in "Night Editor" (1946) directed by Henry Levin

"Janis Carter is the female lead in two of Columbia’s “Whistler” pictures, The Mark of the Whistler (1944) and The Power of the Whistler (1945), but I couldn’t have picked her out of a lineup of other glamorous B-movie blondes from the ’40s until I saw her as the death-obsessed femme fatale with a heart of ice in Henry Levin’s "Night Editor" (1946).


A scene from "Framed" starring Glenn Ford and Janis Carter, directed by Richard Wallace in 1947

Janis Carter and Glenn Ford on the set of "Framed" (1947)

The part Janis Carter plays in Richard Wallace’s "Framed" is more nuanced and less irredeemably evil than the role she played in "Night Editor", but she’s still a nasty piece of work. Soon enough, Paula’s evil schemes become apparent to the viewer, if not to the booze-addled Mike. She’s only working in a greasy spoon to troll for a patsy that she and her boyfriend, Steve Price (Barry Sullivan), need for a scheme they’ve got cooked up. And Mike fits the bill. Framed is a programmer that benefits greatly from having a rising star like Ford in the lead role.

Lana Turner and John Garfield in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) directed by Tay Garnett

It’s a B movie that’s clearly cast in the same mold as Double Indemnity (1944) and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), but I think it succeeds wonderfully on its own terms. The script by Ben Maddow (based on a story by John Patrick) evolves naturally as it chugs forward, and never seems too contrived. Shifting loyalties and the yearnings of the main characters drive the story forward, and it never felt as if plot points were being checked off.

Patricia Morison and John Garfield in "The Fallen Sparrow" (1943) directed by Richard Wallace

Richard Wallace, the director of Framed, was a hard-working studio hack. His career as a director spanned from 1925 to 1949 (he died in 1951), during which he made 46 features and 15 shorts. Of the films he directed that I’ve seen, Framed is one of the best". Source: ocdviewer.com