Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Director: Harry Horner
20th Century Fox
Jeanne Crain – Jill Lynn
Jean Peters – Vicki Lynn
Elliot Reid – Steve Christopher
Richard Boone – Lt. Ed Cornell
Max Showalter – Larry Evans
Alexander D'arcy – Robin Ray
Carl Betz – Det. McDonald
Aaron Spelling – Harry Williams
Novel: Steve Fisher
Screenplay: Dwight Taylor
A remake of the 1941 noir I Wake Up Screaming. Check there for the plot.
The original is superior to Vicki, which is almost always the case in these instances. Vicki makes use of some chiaroscuro lighting, but not as well as its predecessor does. I Wake Up Screaming has the stronger cast. First and foremost though, there is a Laird Cregar sized hole in this movie. No one could possibly trump Cregar's characterization of Ed Cornell.
This movie does mark the film debut of Aaron Spelling who became one of the richest men in Hollywood by producing a long list of hit television shows. And speaking of rich men, Jean Peters (Vicki) later married Howard Hughes. Hughes at the time was not only the richest man in Los Angeles, but the entire world.
In the scene where Jill goes to the all-night theater where Steve is hiding out, audio from the movie Laura can be heard. The movies have a couple of things in common. Both movies begin with a painted portrait of the title character under the opening titles. Here it is used briefly but in Laura the portrait is a centerpiece of the film. The murder of each woman is being investigated and the story of her rise to notoriety is being told in flashback. Their notoriety was engineered by a man they met, for Laura it was a famous columnist and for Vicki a publicist (with assists from a columnist and an actor).