A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.
Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the killing of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects 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's novel "Laura" falls into five sections and five separate voices, telling its story from the viewpoint of each of its principal characters. It was too cumbersome a structure for a 1940s mystery, so the script (by Jay Dratler and others) simplifies and concentrates the narrative for Producer and Director Otto Preminger to play with. See more »
Lydecker manages to exit his bath, dry, and dress himself during the course of his conversation with the detective, without being out of breath. 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 version on DVD has the 1950s 20th Century Fox logo, with a tilted zero created to widen the image for CinemaScope. The logo is also larger than normal due to being cropped from the wide screen version. See more »
Has to be considered a classic example of film noir...
LAURA is, quite simply, as good as it gets as far as "film noir" is concerned.
Aside from an interesting story, a witty script, excellent B&W photography of elegant sets and the beautiful Gene Tierney as the center of attention, it works on every level imaginable. Dana Andrews has an intriguing role as the detective drawn to the portrait of Laura after believing her dead. And Clifton Webb has his star-making role of Waldo Lydecker, the snobbish and elegant man who seems just as obsessed with the dead woman as the detective. Adding to the impressive performances are Judith Anderson and Vincent Price.
The only flaw seems to be that Laura herself is not as well-defined in motives and background as the other players. But Gene Tierney's mesmerizing beauty hardly makes that important. Nevertheless, she is too passive in the role and actually gave far stronger performances in films like The Razor's Edge and Leave Her to Heaven, something she herself admitted--but her looks were never used to better advantage.
With several plot twists and turns, it keeps you thoroughly absorbed until it reaches its satisfying climax under Otto Preminger's knowing direction. Not to be missed, it's a classic of its kind.
For a detailed look at the career of DANA ANDREWS, see my current article on him in FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE, Summer 2001 with a look at all of his films and many photos.
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