Laura (1944)

Laura (1944), produced and directed by Otto Preminger.

First review

Dandy murder mystery/romance, one of the most famous of its kind. Big plot twist at the halfway point, although it is not entirely unexpected. Lush David Raksin score.

Gene Tierney is an actress I seek out; Ida Lupino is another. I don't know if Tierney could get a job in movies today; that overbite looks good on her but she'd probably have to have her jaw broken to get in the door.

Clifton Webb's performance of acidic columnist Waldo Lydecker deserves special mention. After "creating" the perfect woman he must possess her completely, even though showing no inclination for physical intimacy. He's both witty and scary.

A lot of catalogs call this "film noir". Categories and definitions aren't very important, but you can't call every non-comedic black & white film from a certain era film noir. I saw this breakdown once:

Second review

I reviewed this previously and the new Blu-ray is an excuse for revisiting it.

It was adapted directly from a novel but could just as easily have been a stage or radio play. It's all about the characters and the hypnotic influence lovely Gene Tierney has over them. It differs from other romance mysteries in (1) the character of exquisitely bitchy Waldo Lydecker as played by Clifton Webb, and (2) the anguished dilemma of detective Dana Andrews, falling in love with a dead woman, hanging out in her apartment and drinking her booze, fingering her lingerie and reading her private letters and diaries.

David Raksin's theme has become a jazz standard and is said to have been recorded over 400 times.

Available on Blu-ray with two commentary tracks. The whites look very bright on this, although we still have decent black levels. An extended cut has an extra 3 minutes of Laura being transformed into a society woman and advertising executive.

Third review