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 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 unhappy with Preminger's first cut of the film and insisted a new ending, in which it was revealed Lydecker had imagined the entire story. Following a screening of the Zanuck version, columnist Walter Winchell approached the studio head and told him, "I didn't get [the ending]. You've got to change it." Zanuck relented and allowed Preminger to reinstate his original finale, telling him, "This is your success. I concede." See more »
Lydecker reaches for the cigarette case twice. 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 ...
[...] See more »
Laura Hunt has been murdered in a most grisly way, a shotgun blast to the face as she answered her apartment door. Dana Andrews as Detective Mark McPherson is assigned to the case and he's got a good list of suspects to work from in this up close and personal murder.
Laura Hunt hung out with some real characters. Dana Andrews has a good group to choose from. There's Vincent Price who was to marry Laura, a worthless playboy who spends his life as a permanent party guest. There's Clifton Webb as the epicene critic and noted wit who was a kind of sponsor for Laura into society. There's Judith Anderson as Laura's sophisticated aunt who has a yen for Price. There's even Dorothy Adams as Bessie, Laura's lesbian maid who is carrying a titanic torch for her ex-employer.
Andrews very patiently and methodically goes through the suspects. In his way he's as officious and annoying as Lieutenant Columbo on television. But he does get to the truth. Of course there's one very big surprise for him during the course of the investigation.
Gene Tierney is Laura and she was a beauty in her day. Man or woman, who wouldn't be crushing out on her. This film was the first one that got Dana Andrews any real notice from the critics. And of course Clifton Webb made a screen debut in this after a long career on Broadway. Webb got an Oscar nomination for his role of Waldo Lydecker as a Best Supporting Actor, but lost to Barry Fitzgerald for Going My Way.
David Raksin's musical theme for this film is one of the great ones ever done for the cinema. So popular did it prove that Johnny Mercer wrote a lyric for it after the film came out. At the time people like Frank Sinatra and Dick Haymes and a host of others rushed to record it.
I guess you could classify Laura as a kind of sophisticated noir police drama. It's dialog will leave you begging for more. It's not much in the way of mystery because about a third of the way through you will realize at the same time Andrews does who the murderer is, maybe even before Andrews does. That doesn't matter though because Laura is entertaining every step of the way.
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