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|Wicked as They Come|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ken Hughes|
|Produced by||M.J. Frankovich|
|Written by||Ken Hughes|
|Based on||novel Portrait in Smoke by Bill S. Ballinger|
|Music by||Malcolm Arnold|
|Edited by||Max Benedict|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
Poor girl from the slums Katherine Allenbourg trades on her looks. She enters a beauty contest, then charms the elderly gentleman running it, Sam Lewis, into fixing it so she will win first prize, a trip to Europe. She promptly abandons Sam.
On a plane to London, after changing her name to Kathy Allen, she is attracted to Tim O'Bannion, who works for an ad agency. However, she's determined to land someone wealthier and photographer Larry Buckham, whom she meets at her London hotel, fills the bill. Invited to use his charge account at a department store for a wedding dress, Kathy makes many purchases, pawns the merchandise and leaves Larry without a word.
She gets a job at Tim's advertising firm and seduces Stephen Collins, the man who runs it, and who is married. Tim arouses more passion in her, but Kathy's strictly out for herself. She demands Collins divorce his wife Virginia, whose father John Dowling owns the agency. Virginia tries to pay her off, but Kathy requests a transfer to the agency's Paris headquarters, where she immediately uses her wiles to get Dowling to marry her.
Anonymous threats begin by mail and phone. Someone in the shadows begins stalking her. Kathy picks up a gun and shoots, killing her husband. No one believes her tale of a prowler and Kathy is tried, convicted and sentenced to die.
Realizing that Larry is the man behind this turn of events, Tim reveals to him something he only just discovered, an explanation for Kathy's cruel treatment of men. When she was a girl, she was brutally assaulted. Larry has a change of heart and confesses to stalking her. Kathy's prison sentence is reduced, and she hopes Tim will give her another chance once she gets out.
- Arlene Dahl as Kathleen 'Kathy' Allen, née Allenbourg
- Philip Carey as Tim O'Bannion
- Herbert Marshall as Stephen Collins
- Michael Goodliffe as Larry Buckham
- Ralph Truman as John Dowling
- Sid James as Frank Allenbourg
- David Kossoff as Sam Lewis
- Faith Brook as Virginia Collins
- Frederick Valk as Mr. Reisner
- Marvin Kane as Mike Lewis
- Patrick Allen as Willie
- Gil Winfield as Chuck
- Jacques B. Brunius as Inspector Caron
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