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Wicked as They Come (1956)

A poor but beautiful woman sets her sights on rising to the top, and lets nothing stand in her way - including murder.



(screenplay), (screen story) | 2 more credits »


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Cast overview:
Kathleen 'Kathy' Allen, nee Allenborg
Tim O'Bannion (as Phil Carey)
Stephen Collins
Larry Buckham
Ralph Truman ...
John Dowling
Sidney James ...
Frank Allenborg
Sam Lewis
Faith Brook ...
Virginia Collins
Marvin Kane ...
Mike Lewis
Patrick Allen ...
Gil Winfield ...
Chuck (as Gilbert Winfield)
Larry Cross ...
T.V. Announcer
Alastair Hunter
Jacques B. Brunius ...
Inspector Caron (as Jacques Brunius)
Anthony Sharp


On a trip to Europe, her prize in a "fixed" beauty contest, Kathy Allne (Arlene Dahl)meet advertising man Tim O'Bannion (Philip Carey), who is attracted by her beauty but repelled by her ruthlessness towards men. In London, she ruins the career of photographer Larry Buckham (Michael Goodliffe)and compromises Tim's boss, Stephen Collins (Herbert Marshall). About to steal Colloins from his wife, Kathy learns that the wife's father, the elderly John Dowling (Ralph Truman)actually owns the world-wide advertising agency, so she marries him and,later, accidentally kills him, mistaking him for a prowler. But she is found guilty of murder and sentenced to die. Will this innocent gold-digger actually be executed? Written by Les Aams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of a girl...and the men who made her wicked! (original print ad) See more »


Crime | Drama | Mystery


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Release Date:

February 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Keiner ging an ihr vorbei  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In March 1957, Arlene Dahl sued Columbia in New York Supreme Court, charging that some images used to promote "Wicked as They Come" were composites of her face and another woman's body and that the resulting pictures were "obscene, degrading and offensive." In August 1957, the case was dismissed by New York Supreme Court Justice Henry Clay Greenberg. See more »


Kathleen 'Kathy' Allen, nee Allenborg: You tried to buy me. Both of you, with the contest. You men just don't like it do you, when your dirty game is played back.
See more »

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User Reviews

Portrait in Smoke.
17 July 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Wicked as They Come is directed by Ken Hughes who also co-writes the screenplay with Sigmund Miller and Robert Westerby. It stars Arlene Dahl, Philip Carey, Herbert Marshall, Michael Goodlife and Ralph Truman. Music is by Malcolm Arnold and cinematography by Basil Emmott.

Adapted from the Bill S. Ballinger novel, story has Dahl as a poor but beautiful girl who realises that her sexuality will get her all the finer things in life - at whatever cost.

Efficient little British Noirer that makes up for a lack of originality with some strong psychological smarts.

We are all guilty of it, film fans and critics that is, in how we often compare a film recently viewed with something of a similar ilk that is far better. One such case is Wicked as They Come, a piece coming late in the original film noir cycle that sticks a major league femme fatale out there front and centre. Dahl's Kathy Allen (nee Allenbourg) is hot to trot, a viper of the highest order, her beauty and sexuality is stunning, thus men line up to eat out of her hands. Where once was sane and astute business men, now sit lap dogs soon ready to fall into the vipers nest.

If that sounds familiar then of course it is, even from the pre code days there were film makers exploring the sex as a weapon angle, toying with bad girl persona's as a course of cinematic titillation. Ken Hughes knows his draw card is Dahl, who even in black and white is heart achingly gorgeous, a smouldering vixen to literally die for. The story trajectory is nothing new, Kathy tramples on every man she can to feather her own nest, but sooner or later things have to come to a head, where the reason for the distorted psyche will out and the crossroads of life ominously appears at film's closure.

Better films out there that deal with the same themes? Yes, absolutely. That doesn't mean this should be readily dismissed as a viable option to those with an interest in such femme fatale dalliances. Dahl is super, her male co-stars equally so, and Hughes steers it safely to a perfectly ambiguous finale. Welcome to noirville, men enter at your own risk. 7/10

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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