Perry Mason: The Case of the Fatal Framing (TV Movie 1992) Poster

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Resurrected art
sol121821 May 2007
(Some Spoilers) After being declared dead when his body was washed away in a stream where world famous artist Truman York, David Soul, and his girlfriend Diane, Christine Faust, ended up jumping into a stream with Truman's motorcycle as he tried to get away from the police who caught him with a packet of coke. Truman suddenly comes back from the dead, five years later, as he tears apart a painting at the Denver Nurian Gallery that Truman claims to be a forgery. Truman should know since the painting valued at over 100 thousand dollars and attributed to him wasn't painted by Truman!

Truman took some chance in coming back from the dead by now having all his many paintings value in the fact that he's still alive and active. Even more insane on Truman's part he now has Diana' husband Joel McKelves, Mark Moses, gunning for him in his holding Truman responsible for his wife's addiction to drugs and her death in her being a passenger on Truman's motorbike in his run from the law.

Joel McKelves getting the word that Turman is alive and well goes down to the hotel where Truman is staying at and attempts to shoot him only to have Truman get away in the confusion. Staying over at his wife's, also an artist, Lizanne's (Maureen Meller) studio for the night Turman is found with his head bashed open the next morning by some unknown assailant and guess whom the police suspect and arrest for Turman's murder; the guy who earlier tried to kill him Joel McKelves.

Perry takes the case not only because he feels that McKelves is innocent and that he's a good friend and collage fraternity buddy of his assistant Ken Malansky, Robert R. Moses. Perry quickly sees what has to be the real cause for what were the reasons for Trumans murder and it had nothing to do with Trumans love life or his involvement in McKelves wife death. It had to do with who was forging Trumans paintings and how they were used to snooker the public into thinking that they were real.

There's a lot of brushing around the corners and filling in the blank spots in who's involved in this major fraud in the world of art collectors and sellers and it all boils down to the Nurian Gallery and both it's owner Renee Nurian, Jane Carr, and her creepy and somewhat mentally unbalanced top artist Damien Blakely, Scott Valentine.

In a round about way of doing things the murderer of Truman York was not only murdered himself but by the very person who hired him to murder Truman. This strange scenario comes out in open court when Perry Mason ties all the strings together in Trumans murder and how Truman by him coming back from the dead set into motion all of the events that eventually lead to his brutal murder. A man so full of himself as the arrogant and boastful Truman York was turned out to be his own worst enemy who if he just stayed dead and buried in his new identity no one would have been out to get him. In the fact that whatever sleazy revolting and unlikable things that Trumn did in life in his faking his dead Truman didn't really have an enemy in the world.
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A forgettable case for Perry
Leofwine_draca2 May 2017
Warning: Spoilers
THE CASE OF THE FATAL FRAMING is one of the last filmed PERRY MASON TV movies in the year before star Raymond Burr died. Having watched a fair number of these now, I can report that this isn't one of the best; it's quite sloppily written and rehashes old themes that have been done better previously. Most notably it has a complicated back story about an arrogant painter who dies in a motorbike smash in the opening scene only to turn up alive five years later, thus putting everyone's backs up.

Eventually the painter gets murdered and this time he's dead for good. The actor playing him is David Soul in an extremely hammy, occasionally laughable performance. Once the court case kicks in the film becomes extremely clichéd and has some laughable action including an attempt at a chainsaw fight (if you want to see this done properly, check out TIGER ON THE BEAT, a splendid Hong Kong action comedy). The actors go through the motions here although John Rhys-Davies is fun in a minor role as an art expert.
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A victim who's supposed to be dead
bkoganbing23 May 2014
In this Perry Mason mystery, Raymond Burr's client is Mark Moses who is the husband of a Christina Faust whom he catches fooling around with the victim David Soul. A victim who's supposed to be dead.

Soul is a painter who decided that he's not going to wait for posterity for acclaim for his work. He fakes his own death and stays in Mexico for five years and with the help of art dealer John Rhys-Davies sells his work at a considerable profit.

On a trip to Denver Soul comes out of hiding when he sees a copy of one of his paintings and rips it to shreds denouncing it as a fraud. Seems as though someone has been taking advantage of his 'demise' which like Mark Twain's proves exaggerated.

Not for long though when Soul winds up really dead Mark Moses as the jilted husband zooms to the top of the list of suspects.

In the Mason feature films I used to like how first William Katt and later Billy Moses used to get a lot more physical than William Hopper did on the TV series. Billy Moses has a real nice fight with another artist Scott Valentine with Valentine using a chain saw. Valentine isn't wrapped too tight and he's clearly a suspect.

Turns out two of the cast were in on the real demise of David Soul. You figure out which two.
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Disappointingly flat and spends too long dallying rather than building
bob the moo22 April 2012
This Perry Mason film held a significance for me as it was the last of them that I had not seen and reviewed on this site. The film franchise itself was something I remember with affection as I used to watch it on Saturday afternoons with my father when I was younger, so I did want to be able to have seen them all. As it happens I don't think I had ever seen this one before, which was a nice find but unfortunately didn't mean much in terms of the film itself being good and it is a shame for my approach that this is actually a quite weak film in the series.

It is thus because it lacks bells and whistles in the most part and it seems to plod along doing the basics – in particular there seems to a very small amount of time spent in the courtroom itself. The biggest problem is that we spent the vast majority of the film meeting suspects in the usual parade of red-herrings. I like this part of the film, but not when it is the entire film – normally this occurs while the investigator (Drake or Malanksy) chase down a lead with some action and comedy in there; in this film Malansky really has very little to do and his time is mostly spent on a nothing lead. This means we mostly are left with a lot of talking which doesn't actually fill in the viewer very much because this film franchise is rarely about making it possible to guess from the start. This makes the majority of the film a little lacking in spark and energy – in particular those that know the formula will be waiting for the rest of the film to start for the majority of this one.

The courtroom section of the film is also rather lacking, again partly because the film doesn't deliver the qualities that the majority of the series do. The device of using a video interview (accessed by "electronic keyboard" if you believe such a thing) is poor and the whole section lacks energy. This is partly because the narrative has lacked energy but it isn't helped by a lack of tension in the courtroom itself. Burr gives a decent account of himself but he is not in top gear here, but to me a bigger drain is Macaulay as the DA – he seems bored from the very start and there is no fight in him, he made me long for the films where Stiers is the opposite number. Even McEachin only has one very brief scene here – so it is clear that the formula is a little watered down in terms of delivering the standard. The rest of the cast are mixed – David Soul makes an impact by virtue of him being a big name that is hardly in the film, while Mad Men fans will get a kick out of seeing Mark Moses very young looking (although his voice hasn't changed). Otherwise the rest of them do the basics while Moses as usual isn't as good as Katt was.

Overall this is a rather disappointing Perry Mason film. It lacks spark even by the "TVM" standards of its own series – the majority of the film just talks without much building and even the courtroom drama is rather lacking. A weak example of the formula here then; too basic and really doesn't have much about it to engage even for fans.
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