Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


Crain, Reid, Peters and Showalter in a tense moment
VICKI (1953). Director: Harry Horner.

From the start we learn that a model-actress named Vicki Lynn (Jean Peters) has been murdered, while the rest of the movie explores who might have done the deed and provides flashbacks (supposedly) illuminating the woman and her friends and acquaintances. Among them are her sister, Jill (Jeanne Crain), manager Steve (Elliott Reid), boyfriend Larry (Max Showalter/Casey Adams), ham actor Robin (Alexander D'Arcy), and even a grizzled, homely and obsessed cop named Ed Cornell (Richard Boone) who is relentless in his pursuit of one particular suspect. A nerdy room manager named Harry is a bit overacted by Aaron Spelling, who found much greater success as a television producer years later. This lower case rip-off of Laura features a low-rent cast, superficial characterizations, and an utterly mediocre performance from Boone. The other actors are okay, with Peters, who has been better elsewhere, un-riveting in the central role; four years later she married Howard Hughes and made no more theatrical films. Crain and Peters were also together in Take Care of My Little Girl. Horner also directed The Wild Party.

Verdict: Probably not even Clifton Webb could have saved this from the scrapheap. **.

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