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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Vera Caspary first wrote her story as a play, "Ring Twice for Lora", in 1939, then adapted the play into a novel entitled "Laura". The novel was serialized in Collier's (17 October-28 November 1942), under the title "Ring Twice for Laura." In a 1971 article in Saturday Review (of Literature), Caspary recalls that Otto Preminger read the manuscript of the novel and expressed interest in collaborating with her on a revised version of the play, which he would then produce. They did not agree on the dramatization, however, and Caspary reworked the play with George Sklar in 1942. This stage version opened in London in 1945, and on Broadway on June 26, 1947. Preminger first worked on the screenplay with Jay Dratler, then brought in the team of poet Samuel Hoffenstein and Elizabeth Reinhardt. 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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The first time I saw this film, about eight years ago I ended up almost losing a friend because I was hoarding the VHS copy he had lent me for about two months. After seeing it, I quite simply didn't want to give up the tape because in doing so, I wouldn't be able to watch it anytime I wanted to; and I did watch it anytime I wanted to, and often, until he threatened to call a Noir Intervention. I may have loved this film from the first viewing, but I wasn't prepared to deal with something like that, as entertaining as it may have been.
I fell in love with `Laura' because it is biting and evil, intelligent and surprising. The unfathomably gorgeous Gene Tierney plays the title character, an advertising executive whose best friend Waldo Lydecker (played by the always wonderful Clifton Webb) and fiancée Shelby, (a really young Vincent Price) are some of the prime suspects in her murder. The gruff detective leading the case (Dana Andrews) is Det. McPherson, and he quickly essentially falls in love with a ghost while he is trying to solve her murder.
`Laura' has one of the great Noir scripts in that just as the audience thinks they have the case solved, another curve ball is thrown at them which blows that theory out of the water. The acting is pure delightful melodrama, but Clifton Webb's performance is simply show-stopping. His character is a vicious snit of a writer who uses his column as a weapon against anyone he doesn't like or even tolerate. Even upon multiple viewings I can't help but howl at some of his lines and mannerisms.
If anyone was to request suggestions for good Film Noir movies, I would prescribe a heavy dose of `Laura' because it has something for everyone in that it is romantic, thrilling, mysterious, wickedly funny and above all, thoroughly entertaining.
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