Cast & Crew
In London, after trying out a new jet for Royal Air Force officer John Parker, his fiancée Louise's brother, American test pilot Paul Smith goes to the Golden Lion pub for the annual reunion of his World War II RAF squadron. Although most of the men, including John and Clark Sutton, a longtime friend of Louise's, greet Paul warmly, one veteran, Peters, is openly hostile. When Peters disparages Paul's hero status and calls him a "big shot," Paul punches him, and a brief fight ensues. The hot-tempered Paul grabs a poker to hit Peters, but is stopped by Clark, who also returns Paul's fallen watch. After Paul and Peters calm down, a contrite Peters offers to buy Paul a drink. As Paul grabs a glass of gin off waiter Jim's crowded tray, Jim starts to protest his selection, then stops. The drink makes Paul woozy, and he stumbles after the others as they leave the pub. Sometime later, Peters is struck with a poker and murdered in his flat by an unseen assailant, and the next day, Paul awakens in a strange hotel, with no memory of how he got there. After learning from the hotel clerk that he checked in at three o'clock the previous morning, Paul sees the headline about Peters' murder and heads for Louise's flat. There Louise is being questioned about Peters by Inspector Foster of Scotland Yard, who found a watch at the murder scene but has yet to identify it. Aware of Paul's quarrel with Peters, Foster asks Louise about Paul's whereabouts, but she insists she does not know. Soon after Foster departs, Paul shows up and tells Louise that he was drugged at the pub and cannot remember what happened to him. Louise drives Paul to the pub to talk to Jim, but the waiter says only that Tom Wrigley, one of Paul's RAF buddies and Peters' business partner, helped him behind the bar. Paul goes to see Tom at his office but is told by Tom's coquettish wife Dianne that he is out of town. After noticing a bill for a sports car rental, issued by a garage owned by RAF veterans Bristow and Brown, Paul accuses Dianne of having an affair with Peters. Unaware that she is being tailed by the police, Louise, meanwhile, visits Clark, who informs her that the RAF group went to the Rocco Club together and that Paul left with Peters around midnight. Paul then calls and asks Louise and Clark to meet him at Bristow's garage, but as they are leaving, Louise is intercepted by the police. While Louise stalls the police, Paul drills a suspicious Bristow and Brown about the sports car and learns that Peters was also renting a storage garage. Nervous about Paul's interrogation, Brown grabs a gun from his desk drawer just as the police drive up, having followed Louise and Clark. In the ensuing confusion, Paul escapes in Louise's car and returns to see Dianne. After offering him some of Tom's clothes, Dianne admits that Peters wrote a $2,000 check to Dr. Derek Morrison, a chemical researcher and fellow squadron mate, but claims not to know why. Later, Paul confronts Morrison in his laboratory and, after getting him to admit that he knows about a drug that would result in partial memory loss, accuses him of selling the narcotic to Peters. When Morrison denies the charge, Paul arranges to meet Jim at his flat to get more information about the drugged drink. Paul finds the waiter dead, however, then is seen fleeing by the landlady. Louise, meanwhile, goes to the Rocco Club and learns from a porter that Paul left the place with "another gent" in a sports car. Clark then shows up and phones Paul to warn him about Foster, who has followed Louise into the club, and gives Louise a message from Paul, instructing her to meet him at Peters' rented garage. There Paul and Louise find Tom, who has been in hiding, and Paul forces Tom to admit that Peters was using their import business as a front for a smuggling ring, the goods from which Peters was storing in the garage. As Tom is about to tell Paul to whom Peters had loaned his sports car, an assailant sticks a gun through the open door and shoots Tom. Paul and Louise jump into their car and chase after the killer, finally ending up at an apartment building. After Paul discovers that the car is owned by the occupant of flat 53, Dianne's place, he instructs Louise to go to Bristow's garage, then heads up to the flat. Before Paul can get any information out of the startled Dianne, however, Foster arrives and arrests him. Louise, meanwhile, is joined by Clark, and on the way to Bristow's garage, Clark brings up the fact that Paul's watch was found in Peters' apartment. Louise, who had just recently told Foster that the watch was Paul's, deduces that Clark is the murderer and, before leaving the garage, slips Bristow's mechanic a message. Clark realizes that Louise suspects him and in the car, confesses that he was involved with Peters' smuggling operation but killed him because he was about to double-cross him. Clark also admits that the drugged drink was intended for Peters, but when Paul drank it by accident, Clark, who was having an affair with Dianne, decided to take advantage of the situation and frame him for Peters' murder. Bristow's mechanic, meanwhile, finds Louise's note identifying Clark as the killer and calls Foster, who issues an all-points bulletin for Clark. Clark drives Louise to a private airport, but Paul has anticipated his move and races with Foster to intercept him. On the runway, Paul forces Clark out of his plane and knocks him out. Later, with Clark behind bars, newlyweds Paul and Louise kiss happily as they fly off on their honeymoon.
Robert S. Baker
Robert S. Baker
The Big Frame was produced and released in England in September 1952 under the title The Lost Hours. The viewed print was British and titled The Lost Hours; however, the above credits were taken from a cutting continuity of the American release print, included in the film's copyright records. The onscreen credits of the British print differ from the American print in that Julian Lesser's "presented by" credit is omitted, and Tempean, not Royal Productions, is identified as the production company. The cast credits also differ. In the British print, photographs of all of the principal actors appear onscreen, with superimposed character names. In the American print, character names are not included on Mark Stevens' and Jean Kent's credit, and none of the cast members has an accompanying still. The cast list in the British print includes eight more actors than the American print. The order of Steve Fisher's and John Gilling's screenwriting credit is reversed on the British print. Some of the scenes in the British print were shortened for the American print; the above summary represents the more complete British print.
Although Hollywood Reporter reported in October 1951 that Royal Productions, in association with British distributor Eros Films, Ltd. (Tempean), intended The Big Frame to be the first in a series of action pictures featuring the "Paul Smith" character, no other films were made. The same item announced that Bernadette O'Farrell, a "young Irish star," was to play the female lead in the picture.