Detective Mark McPherson investigates the killing of Laura, found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom he interviews. He is helped by the striking painting of the late lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall. But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case. Written by
Steve Hosgood <email@example.com>
The character of Waldo Lydecker appears to be based on the columnist, broadcaster, and "New Yorker" theater critic Alexander Woollcott, a famous wit who, like Waldo, was fascinated by murder. Woollcott always dined at the Algonquin Hotel, where Laura first approaches Waldo. See more »
In the initial long-shot when McPherson and Lydecker are out to dinner, McPherson's chair is unoccupied (about 15:28). When the camera is at their table, McPherson has materialized. See more »
[narrating off screen]
I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York. For with Laura's horrible death, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker, was the only one who really knew her, and I had just begun to write Laura's story when another of those detectives came to see me. I had him wait. I could watch him through the ...
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Chic, Sophisticated Adaptation With Witty Webb Stealing Show
Like WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION and other favorite films of mine, discovering who really dunnit doesn't spoil LAURA's enjoyment on repeat viewings; instead, paying closer attention to the real killer the next time you watch makes you realize all the clues to their true nature that you were having too much fun to catch the first time around. For example, when you re-watch Clifton Webb as waspish columnist Waldo Lydecker during his flashback-laden dinner conversation with Dana Andrews' Lt. Mark McPherson about Gene Tierney's Laura Hunt, you suddenly realize how truly obsessed and self-centered Lydecker really is. Note that everything he says about Laura really ends up being more about him than about her: "...she deferred to my tastes...the way she listened (to me) was more eloquent than speech...", etc. Though Webb steals the show with his Oscar-nominated performance and viciously witty lines (if I start quoting Webb's best lines, I'll pretty much be transcribing every word out of his mouth), the whole cast hits all the right notes in Otto Preminger's spellbinding adaptation of Vera Caspary's novel, with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson memorable as two of the wolves-in-chic-clothing in Laura's circle, and Andrews and Tierney's chemistry sending sparks flying even before they actually share the screen after the Act 2 twist. Tierney is quite convincing as a sophisticated yet soft-hearted young woman whose kindness almost does her in; as Andrews aptly points out, "For a charming, intelligent girl, you've certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes." Webb and LAURA's screenwriters re-teamed later for the similar THE DARK CORNER, which might as well be called LAURA 2 -- and I mean that as a compliment! :-)
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