288 user 129 critic

Laura (1944)

Passed | | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery | November 1944 (USA)
2:31 | Trailer
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.


Otto Preminger


Vera Caspary (novel), Jay Dratler (screen play by) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Gene Tierney ... Laura Hunt
Dana Andrews ... Det. Lt. Mark McPherson
Clifton Webb ... Waldo Lydecker
Vincent Price ... Shelby Carpenter
Judith Anderson ... Ann Treadwell
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Grant Mitchell ... Lancaster Corey (scenes deleted)


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 <iiitsh@pyr.swan.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The story of a love that became the most fearful thing that ever happened to a woman! See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Otto Preminger, seeing Clifton Webb perform the role of "Charles" in Los Angeles' Biltmore Theatre with the New York touring stage production "Blithe Spirit", cast him as Waldo Lydecker, replacing Laird Cregar. On December 9, 1944, Cregar died at the age of thirty. See more »


In a cut version available at the Internet Archive, Detective McPherson breaks the tower clock's glass door to find the hidden gun (which is not shown in that scene). This happens at minute 75. Shortly later, the glass door appears still intact, and he recovers the gun by opening the door using a mechanism. See more »


[first lines]
Waldo Lydecker: [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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Alternate Versions

A scene cut from the theatrical version after its initial release was restored to the film in 1990. In it, Waldo Lydecker described how he transformed Laura's appearance and introduced her to high society. The studio worried that this obsession with decadent luxury would be offensive to WWII soldiers serving overseas, so the scene was deleted. See more »


Remade as Fiona on Fire (1978) See more »


You Go to My Head
Music by J. Fred Coots (1938)
Used instrumentally in dance scene
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User Reviews

"I suspect nobody and everybody, I'm merely trying to get at the truth."

Laura A definitive film noir classic, and simply put my favorite film of all time. Laura tells the shocking story of Park Avenue society beauty, Laura Hunt ( Gene Tierney) who is murdered in her apartment, which brings Detective Mark McPherson ( Dana Andrews) to New York's most elegant neighborhood to investigate. As he tried to get inside the head of the victim, he also questions the men in her life-the acerbic critic Waldo Lydecker ( Clifton Webb) and her playboy fiancé Shelby Carpenter ( Vincent Price). But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? Fueled by her stunning portrait, liquor and classical music, McPherson quickly finds himself falling under her spell too. A police detective falling in love with the woman whose murder he's investigating? Then in one stormy night, halfway through his investigation, something so bizarre happens to him, that he is forced to re-think the whole case.

This reveal still kind of leaves me guessing. Is it all a dream? Or maybe it is all formulated by the ' spell' of the movie. An alluring cast and no doubt the famous musical theme by David Raksin has something to do with it.

There are so many scenes I could count as my favorite but, the one that always stands out to me is the scene where McPherson falls asleep under the portrait and he awakes with the sudden appearance of a woman who seems to be Laura Hunt herself!, dressed in a drenched trenchcoat. This entire scene is fuelled with more sexuality than Hollywood Studios these days can ever dream of in their bids to put two stars together.

Another scene I love is when McPherson slugs Carpenter in the stomach. " It's too bad. You didn't open up that door Friday night." I'm not kind, I'm vicious. It's the secret of my charm." "You'd better watch out, McPherson, or you'll finish up in a psychiatric ward. I doubt they've ever had a patient who fell in love with a corpse." "People are always ready to hold out a hand to slap you down, but never to pick you up." "Waldo, why are you doing this?" "For you, Laura." "I was 99 percent certain about you.... but I had to get rid of that one percent doubt."

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

November 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Laura See more »


Box Office


$1,020,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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