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>
Darryl F. Zanuck was opposed to casting Clifton Webb because of Webb's well-known (in Hollywood) homosexuality, but producer/director Otto Preminger prevailed and the 54-year-old Webb, making his first screen appearance since the silent era, was nominated for an Oscar. See more »
Lydecker recognizes McPherson's name from "the siege of Babylon, Long Island", where McPherson had gone in and captured a criminal in spite of being shot. However, McPherson is a New York City detective. Babylon is in Suffolk County, Long Island, some forty miles outside the city, and well out of McPherson's jurisdiction, so it makes no sense that he would have been in a gun battle that far away from his area of authority. 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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One of the best suspense films of the 1940s, "Laura" is loaded with elegant sophistication, witty dialogue, unscrupulous characters, and romantic obsession, all wrapped in hauntingly beautiful music.
Lovely Gene Tierney is Laura; the young advertising executive allegedly murdered at the front door of her apartment. Dana Andrews is well cast as Mark MacPherson, the handsome, no nonsense detective assigned to unravel the case.
Clifton Webb is superb as Waldo Lydecker, Laura's mentor and an egocentric, effeminate newspaper columnist who has made a career of eliminating Laura's prospective suitors. Lydecker detests Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), a southern playboy to whom Laura is engaged. Anne Treadwell (Judith Anderson) is Laura's aunt who, incidentally, is in love with Carpenter herself.
As MacPherson sorts through the motives and alibis, he finds Laura too bewitches him. In one of the most memorable movie scenes of all time, Dana Andrews gives an intense performance of a man driven to distraction by the story of Laura, her letters, private diary, perfume, and hauntingly lovely portrait above the fireplace. Clearly agitated, he takes a drink as he sits in a chair beneath Laura's portrait. He falls asleep, and the audience is left wondering if his dreams of Laura are coming true, as she appears through the doorway. He awakens and rises from the chair, his soul shaken by the sight of Laura alive.
This intriguing story, combined with Clifton Webb's biting quips, Gene Tierney's beauty and elegance, Dana Andrews' intensity and dark good looks, and Vincent Price's sense of humor, makes this film immensely watchable again and again.
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