Vicki (1953)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Film Noir, Psychological Thriller  |   Release Date - Sep 7, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Since Vicki is a surprisingly faithful remake of I Wake Up Screaming (at least in terms of the screenplay), it's surprising that it's a fairly forgettable movie. The difference is in the cast and the director, and it's crucial. Victor Mature and Betty Grable in Screaming invested their roles with star power and surprisingly strong acting chops (something one couldn't always say about these actors). Given the same roles (and much of the same dialogue) in Vicki, Elliott Reid and Jeanne Crain simply don't measure up. Reid is a total featherweight, unable to give the part anything more than a surface reading -- and he's annoying into the bargain. Crain was never a particularly distinguished actress; given careful handling by an attentive director, she could turn in a solid performance, but in Vicki she's just going through the motions. Most damaging, however, is Richard Boone, in a role that Laird Cregar made instantly memorable. Boone can't compare to Cregar; he's powerful (certainly more so than his co-stars), but he's obvious and eventually irritating. He doesn't supply menace so much as an overbearing presence. Director Harry Horner should have helped him, but Horner didn't seem to be interested in doing much more than shooting and pointing. He does utilize cinematographer Milton Krasner to good effect, and the basic material is strong enough that Vicki keeps one's attention -- but it's far inferior to its source.