VICKI (1953) is the second movie my buddy Kelly Greene and I watched the other day as part of our film noir double feature afternoon. Like most of our double feature screenings, one of the movies is usually really good, while the other is only so so. In this case, TENSION (1949) was the better of the two.
VICKI plays like a warmed over, wannabe version of Otto Preminger's film noir masterpiece LAURA (1944) but it's actually based on the Steve Fisher novel, I WAKE UP SCREAMING, which was made as a film under that same title in 1941. The story revolves around the murder of "it" girl, Vicki Lynn (Jean Peters) and the attempt by obsessed police detective Lt. Ed Cornell (Richard Boone) to solve the crime.
Cornell, like Dana Andrews in LAURA, was in love with the murdered woman but here he knew her when she was still alive whereas Andrews falls in love with Laura after she was murdered. Cornell is determined to prove that Vicki's publicity agent Steve Christopher (Elliott Reid) committed the murder and the evidence, though circumstantial, certainly points in his direction. But Cornell is so hell bent on nailing Christopher that you start to believe that perhaps he is the real killer.
VICKI is not a bad film noir at all. It just suffers from a "seen it before" familiarity. Richard Boone is very good as the crazy cop while Jeanne Crain and Jean Peters are both lovely to look at. VICKI is far from being a first rate film noir but it's certainly worth seeing at least once if you're a fan of the genre.