Laura (1944)

DailyView: Day 98, Movie 166

The DailyView heads all the way back to 1944 for a classic detective noir film from director Otto Preminger, Laura.

Laura starred Gene Tierney as Laura Hunt, a woman split between two men which led to her apparent murder. Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) had the case and began trying to piece together the riddle of the woman’s death. Her two suitors, Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), both seemed to be on a short list of suspects.

As McPherson was trying to understand the kind of woman Laura was, he would stare at the portrait of Laura in hier apartment, finding that he was developing feelings for the victim.

Then, one night, the case was turned upside down.

This movie is a lot of fun. It was filled with suspense and tension and the performances, especially from Vincent Price and Clifton Webb, were excellent. I can’t help but think Price is the culprit from the second that I hear that iconic voice of his. Price and Webb do a wonderful job of keeping us all uncertain about who the primary suspect should be, and as the case reveals more, we wonder if there was yet another option than the two of them.

The black and white film helped create the mood of the picture and built the suspense. As McPherson continued on spouting theories, the audience could not help but think he was wrong. Up until the very end of the film, I was not sure of whom the killer was. In fact, I was confident that the answer to the riddle was going to have another twist. My theory turned out to be as inaccurate as most of McPherson’s. I like being unsure of a mystery.

The film has great pacing and flies by as you watch it. With some classic performances, Laura was a wonderful surprise. If you like a good noir, Laura is one of the best you will find.

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