Release Date: October 11, 1944
Director: Otto Preminger
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
I first watched Laura about 25 years ago with a friend named Laura. I’ve long ago lost touch with her which is sad because she was a good person. This is irrelevant of course to the story of this film noir murder mystery. Like many film noir movies, the plot and the actions of its characters don’t make a lot of sense upon thinking about it. But sense is not important with the delivery of sparkling dialogue and camp theatricality delivered by its actors.
Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the murder of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), a young woman who works at a New York City advertising firm. Among the witnesses/suspects he interviews is Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), a self-aggrandizing columnist who was Laura’s friend and svengali who was jealous of her attention to other men. One of those men was her fiance Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) who had been having an affair with Laura’s co-worker. Shelby is also a kept man to Laura’s socialite aunt, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson). As McPherson examines Laura’s personal effects and admires her oil portrait, it appears that he is falling in love with the dead woman.
Laura is full of twists and turns and mostly some terrific outlandish performances by Webb and Price. It’s a great example of Classic Hollywood at its wackiest.