Supermodel Vicki Lynn, whose face is seen everywhere, is murdered, and ace homicide cop Ed Cornell cuts his vacation short to take the case personally. In flashback we see how Vicki rose from ambitious waitress to big black headlines, courtesy of clever publicity man Steve Christopher. Now Cornell seems determined to get Christopher convicted in what begins to seem like a bizarre personal vendetta. Is Steve caught like a rat in a trap? Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
When Jill Lynn (Jeanne Crain) seeks out Steve Christopher (Elliott Reid) in the all-night movie house, a film is playing on the screen but we only hear the voices. The dialogue is from the classic movie Laura (1944), and the lines are from the police interrogation scene featuring Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews. However, when Christopher jokes about the movie he's seen 4 times, he is referring to something completely different (he mentions "The butler did it"). See more »
Slug me with those, Cornell, and I'll square you off if it takes me the rest of my life.
Lt. Ed Cornell:
You're not gonna have a very long life, Stevie. You're like a rat in a box, without any holes. But they're gonna make a hole for you...six by three, filled with quicklime.
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Before it collapses under the weight of cliché and wooden performances Vicki is a suspenseful whodunit that keeps you second guessing most of the way. In a triumph of form over content this Laura lookalike is textbook economical story telling in its first half hour as tight editing and revealing composition give the film a well ordered pace and a handful of plausible suspects.
Overnight, cafeteria waitress Vicki (Jean Peters) becomes an instant celebrity when she catches the eye of an actor and a theatre critic who promote her. Confident and ambitious she sets her sights on Hollywood but is brutally murdered. An obsessive detective (Richard Boone) demands to be put on the case and his judgment and intent is soon called into question.
Vicki is filled with Freudian and fetish inferences. Suspect intent is ambiguous and the police are brutal in their methodology. All of the characters are petty and unremarkable which levels the playing field most of the way and allows the mystery to flourish. The imagery runs from striking to banal and some of the turns at the end defy logic but for the most part it does what a good mystery does-keep you in the dark for as long as possible.
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