Last night I finally had the opportunity to watch the Perry movie The Fatal Framing, which MeTV aired on Friday.
I can’t say I was terribly impressed.
It seemed a lot like the focus was more on the guest-stars and Ken than on Perry and Della. There wasn’t much fun interaction to speak of and there wasn’t much time in court.
Topping it off was the fact that it felt very much like a Dean Hargrove venture. And I don’t at all mean that in a positive way; rather, I’m thinking again of how he liked inserting naughty little bits in Diagnosis Murder. He accomplished that in this film with a model Ken encounters who appears to be posing topless. It’s played for humor, and is followed up by the model and the artist repeatedly insisting they spent the night in bed together the night of the murder. The artist even starts running his bare foot over hers and up her leg. Lovely.
Of course, there were lots of affairs and such things going on in the original Perry series. But it was handled a lot more tastefully, in general. Even the one time there was a model posing in a very revealing way, that scene genuinely was amusing instead of just existing for the uncomfortable shock value. I really don’t care to see and hear Perry being modernized the way Dean Hargrove does it. I never really liked it on Diagnosis Murder, either.
I honestly couldn’t understand why Ken was so interested in that model. It seemed very shallow of him. She came across as a tramp, really only seeming different when she told him she was afraid he had the wrong idea about her. No, really?
I liked her a lot better when she revealed the truth in court, that she was lying about her and the artist and she was trying to get money to pay her dying husband’s hospital bills. But seriously, the way she was acting when Ken first saw her, what kind of impression did she expect him to take away about her?
I suppose it could be argued that perhaps Ken saw through her act and that she was a better person than she appeared. But it really seemed more like he was only interested because of her physical appearance and her mysteriousness. He reminded me a lot of Paul Jr. with that subplot.
It’s hard for me to find much good to say about this movie installment. As a Lord of the Rings fan, I greatly enjoyed seeing John Rhys-Davies. And it was interesting seeing David Soul as the initial murder victim, even though I haven’t yet been able to get into Starsky and Hutch. So far, that show is too off-beat for me and David Soul’s character is the one I like the least.
The model's artist friend has a violent temper. One of the best parts is where he goes nuts, screaming at Perry to get out after Perry accuses him of forging paintings. He breaks things and even slams his hand into the door trying to punch Perry. Then the idiot has the gall to say that Perry broke his hand. Perry deadpans as he replies that he can recommend a good lawyer.
I have to admit, I was pleased that kook was mixed up in the criminal plot. He was such a jerk I would have hated to see him get off because of not being involved. I suppose I did feel slightly bad for him when he was murdered too. Or maybe it was more that it seemed he shouldn’t get off that easy, particularly when it was revealed that he was the first killer.
It was sad for David Soul’s character’s wife to be part of the plot as well, since he claimed to have still loved her and wanted her back. On the other hand, however, since he stayed away for five years protecting his own skin and letting her think he was dead, it’s hard to believe he really loved her that much. I wonder if she ever loved him at all or if it was always just an act?
Her meltdown in court was rather disturbing, especially when she said how she saw her husband in the short-tempered artist’s eyes and she had to kill that guy because of that. I have a feeling she won’t be mentally fit to stand trial.
I’ve actually liked all the other Perry movies I’ve seen, more or less (the very first one is not a favorite), but this one really seems a dud. I hope the other movies I’ve recorded and not yet gotten to, The Glass Coffin and The Killer Kiss, are better.
Overall, I’m disappointed that MeTV’s television movie feature went out with this film. Couldn’t they have picked a better one? Hopefully they’ll bring the feature back in the fall with more (and better) Perry movies in the line-up.
Also, on another movie-related noted, I can’t recall if I mentioned it before, but the second set of six movies is on pre-order for DVD release. I assume this set will have The Lady in the Lake installment I enjoyed so much. Unfortunately, the price is again sky-high and ridiculous. $50+?! I want that movie, but not at that price! Come on, CBS, be reasonable! There aren’t many people who can afford that price for six television movies.