Harry Horner

This could very easily have been a classic: a tale of obsessive love and murder in the vein of Laura. Alas, the results are very silly indeed. Richard Boone plays Lt. Ed Cornell, a blockheaded police detective who’s mysteriously obsessed with the death of famous model Vicki (Jean Peters). He seems unreasonably sure that manager Steve Christopher (Elliott Reid) is the actual culprit but as the film changes perspective it seems that any number of persons, including celebrity Robin Ray (Alexander Darcy), might be involved. The fact that the actual culprit eludes obviousness is cancelled out by a ludicrous ending that makes you feel that you wasted your time, though the facile screenplay with its absurdly florid dialogue ("When I have my evidence together, I’ll have them strap you in that chair so tight you’ll scream!”) doesn’t help matters. Though the actors, including Jeanne Crain as Vicki’s sister Jill, are capable enough, everybody seems like they’re going through the motions, and given their entirely stock characters, they may have had no choice. Only Boone makes an impression and only because of an accident; he plays his ludicrous sociopath cop completely straight, making his ripe lines seem all the more ridiculous. The rest is entirely rote, with cliché observations about the rot behind show business and a romantic subplot that works as a red herring but not as a genuinely felt bit of drama. If you’re hard up for thrills this might satiate you until something better comes along, perhaps give it a viewing, but those with options are advised to choose something else. Extras include a sparse and fan boy-ish commentary by Foster Hirsch, photo galleries and an interactive press book feature. (Fox)