Laura (1944)

Love is eternal. It has been the strongest motivation for human actions throughout history. Love is stronger than life. It reaches beyond the dark shadow of death.

— Waldo Lydecker

I was flipping through the channels one night and I found that Otto Preminger’s movie, Laura was about to start. I believe that I saw some parts of the ending of this movie in passing before. This movie was nominated for five Oscars and won for Best Black & White Cinematography. Seeing that I was mostly disappointed with the movies that were released this year, I wanted to see a classic movie to cleanse my palate of the dreck.

This film noir is about a young woman named Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) that was murdered in her apartment. This movie deals with the aftermath when Det. Lt. Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) interviews an acquaintance of the victim, columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) who is writing his column while soaking in the tub. Lydecker is one step ahead of him that he types out his alibi when Laura was murdered.

McPherson is going to interview potential suspects and Lydecker comes along on his day. First, the duo meets Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson) who is Laura’s aunt. They talk about her whereabouts during the time of her murder. She has some sort of attraction to Laura’s fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). McPherson wants to know if she has a motive to bump her off.

There is also a possibly that the fiancé wanted to kill Laura in order to marry Ann. McPherson wants the two men to go Laura’s apartment to find the key for the country house that she was about to go to when she was killed. Carpenter’s story starts to show cracks when he planted the key in her apartment. McPherson decides to gather more evidence.

During a dinner conversation with Lydecker, Lydecker recounts the day that he met the plucky Laura while at lunch, who wanted to show him her ad mock-up to get a write up in his column. Their relationship starts as Laura’s career in advertising picks up. There is more affection on Lydecker’s side of the relationship. He feels threatened by Shelby Carpenter, who swoops in to steal Laura away. Waldo is cast aside as Laura and Shelby relationship continues. Waldo tries to dissuade Laura into marrying Shelby by telling her that he might be having an affair with a model at Laura’s company, Diane Redfern.

McPherson begins to put the pieces together when he is spending more time over at Laura’s apartment. He rifles through her personal things to read her letters from Waldo or her diary to find clues about who could have killed her. All the stories that have been repeated back at McPherson; he realizes that he has fallen in love with her.

I love the character of Waldo Lydecker. He is quick on his feet with the witty quips toward different characters. I thought the movie was a little bit melodramatic with some of the acting of the maid, Bessie (Dorothy Adams) and some of Shelby turned me off. The ending of the movie was satisfying even though I figured out who did it from the beginning.

Judgment: If you want to see a frothy whodunit, I would recommend this movie.

Rating: ***1/2


About Branden

Branden: I am just your average movie nut that reviews films. Gives his take on pop culture and Hollywood happenings. Dreams to have his own thriving website and make a living doing what he is passionate about.

Posted on March 1, 2010, in 1944, Academy Award Winner, Crime, Drama, Film Noir, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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