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Laura (1944) / USA / 88 minutes / bw / Twentieth Century Fox / Dir: Otto Preminger Pro: Otto Preminger Scr: Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Betty Reinhardt Story: based on a novel by Vera Caspary Cine: Joseph La Shelle Mus: David Raksin Cast: Gene Tierney (Laura Hunt), Dana Andrews (Mark McPherson), Clifton Webb (Waldo Lydecker), Vincent Price (Shelby Carpenter), Judith Anderson (Ann Treadwell) Release Date: 11 October 1944 (USA)
Summary Plot: While investigating the brutal murder of Laura Hunt, New York police lieutenant Mark McPherson calls on erudite columnist Waldo Lydecker, a close friend of the dead woman. Waldo knows of Mark from his heroic battles with gangsters, and Mark points out that Waldo once wrote a story about a murder committed with a shotgun loaded with buckshot–the very way that Laura was killed. Claiming to be intrigued by crime, Waldo asks to accompany Mark on his investigation, and the two men call on Laura’s aunt, the wealthy Ann Treadwell. Mark inquires about Ann’s relationship with Laura’s fiancé, Shelby Carpenter, citing evidence that she has been giving him money. Just then, Shelby, a charming Southerner, arrives and says that he and Laura were to have been married that week, but Waldo insists that when Laura canceled their dinner date on the night of the murder, she had not yet decided whether to go through with the wedding (Read full summary at American Film Institute here)
Laura (1944) is one of the most stylish, elegant, moody, and witty classic film noirs ever made with an ensemble cast of characters. Producer Otto Preminger ultimately ended up directing the film, after filming was begun by Rouben Mamoulian and his cinematographer Lucien Ballard. Preminger’s film falls under the category of romantic, melodramatic mystery/detective thriller. It might also be called a psychological study of deviant, kinky obsession, because almost everyone in the cast loves the title character – Laura. One lobby poster dramatically declared: “The story of a love that became the most fearful thing that ever happened to a woman.” (Read full review at Filmsite Movie Review)
In 1999 Laura was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Notas de cine: Laura (1944), dirigida por Otto Preminger
Argumento: El detective Mark McPherson investiga el asesinato de Laura, una elegante y seductora mujer que aparece muerta en su apartamento. McPherson elabora un retrato mental de la joven a partir de las declaraciones de sus allegados. El sugestivo retrato de Laura, que cuelga de la pared de su apartamento, también le ayuda en esta tarea. (Film Affinity)
Laura es una película redonda, única e irrepetible. La sólida estructura narrativa, sus bien perfilados personajes, los brillantes diálogos y un final de mano maestra están conducidos por la dirección de un Preminger lúcido, seguro, preciso, con absoluto control sobre la obra. (Ver la reseña completa en Miradas de cine)
En 1999 Laura fue seleccionada para su conservación en el Registro Nacional de Cine de Estados Unidos por la Biblioteca del Congreso como “cultural, histórica o estéticamente significativa”.
5 thoughts on “Film Notes: Laura (1944) directed by Otto Preminger”
I’m glad you highlighted this film, José Ignacio. It’s a great noir classic I think. And it was my mother-in-law’s favourite film. Nice to be reminded of it.
Thank you Margot! Maybe not a conventional film noir, though. But quite interesting anyhow.