"You're not gonna have a very long life, Stevie. You're like a rat in a box, without any holes. But they're gonna make a hole for you...six by three, filled with quicklime."
Description: Richard Boone as Lt. Ed Cornell converses with Steve Christopher (Elliott Reid) in the motion picture Vicki (1953). Steve had just said, "Slug me with those, Cornell, and I'll square you off if it takes me the rest of my life."
"This is the reckless, desperate world of Vicki. And the men who made her what she was. A world of violence and excitement, that could sweep her to the heights or consume her in one dazzling burst of fame." - Movie Trailer
Lt. Ed Cornell is a detective for the New York Police Department. When a famous model known as Vicki Lynn (Jean Peters) is murdered, the zealous Cornell foregoes his vacation and takes a personal interest in the case. Police Capt. J. "Chief" Donald (John Dehner) and Sergeant McDonald (Carl Betz) are Lt. Cornell's colleagues in this film-noir thriller.
As the murder investigation begins, the police interview Vicki's sister Jill Lynn (Jeanne Crain), and the model's press agent Steve Christopher who promoted Vicki's career. He and Larry Evans (Max Showlater), a society columnist discovered Vicki working as a cafeteria waitress one night after seeing a new play starring their friend, Robin Ray (Alexander D'Arcy). With their help, Vicki rose from a lowly waitress and to the heights of a super model before her untimely death.
Before she died, Vicki announced she was going to Hollywood to do a film after a successful screen test. This took Steve Christopher by surprise ashe felt snubbed that she is just up and leaving him, considering the hard work he done on her behalf to promote her career.
After his argument with Vicki, he reconciled and told departing model that he and her sister would be glad to "get rid of her" because he had fallen in love with his sister. This "get rid of her" admission is used as evidence that Steve might have motives to kill his client.
As the investigation continues, Lt. Cornell warns Steve, "When I put all my evidence together, I'll have you strapped in that chair so tight, you'll scream." But, there are other possible suspects.
One is Harry Williams (Aaron Spelling), the switchboard operator at Vicki's building, who is currently missing. But when the police discover his alibi of visiting his parents checks out, they drop him as a suspect in the murder case.
Another suspect is is Lt. Cornell himself. Jill mentions during her police interrogation that there was a mysterious man that hung around the cafeteria while Vicki was a waitress, but when Jill identifies Lt. Cornell as the man, her accusation is dismissed.
Later, Cornell is hiding in a closet when Jill reveals a note from Christopher to Vicki stating that the sooner Vicki is "out of the way," the better. Of course, the alleged inflammatory message had nothing to do with the murder, but Lt. Cornell jumps out of the closet, snatches the note, handcuffs Christopher and arrest him for the crime. Jill comes to Steve's defense and knocks Cornell out. When Lt. Cornell recovers, but instead of arresting Jill, he lets her go, hoping she will lead him to Christopher.
In the end, Jill learns that, indeed, it was Harry Williams, the switchboard operator at their building who killed Vicki. Harry admitted he was in love with her. He also confessed that Lt. Cornell knew all along that he was the murderer, but he wanted to pin the crime on Christopher because he took Vicki away from him by making her a model.
Furious, Christopher charges into Cornell's apartment only to find a shrine of candles and flowers in front of photographs of Vicki. Dejected and defeated, Lt. Cornell admits he no longer wants to live without Vicki in his life and pleads with Christopher to shoot him. Steve refuses and Cornell is led away by police sergeant detective McDonald.
As Steve and Jill walk hand-in-hand down the streets of New York City, Vicki's promotional posters are covered up and replaced with pictures of a new glamour girl.
Note: In the film, we see a copy of the painting "Pinkie" by Thomas Lawrence on the wall in Vicki's bedroom. Jeanne Crain who played Jill Lynn had starred in the movie Pinky (1949).
The motion picture Vicki (1953) starring Jean Peters is a remake of thriller I Wake Up Screaming, (1941). IWUS is considered the first film-noir motion picture.