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Laura
     

Laura

4.7 15
Director: Otto Preminger

Cast: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb

 

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This adaptation of Vera Caspary's suspense novel was begun by director Rouben Mamoulien and cinematographer Lucien Ballard, but thanks to a complex series of backstage intrigues and hostilities, the film was ultimately credited to director Otto Preminger and cameraman Joseph LaShelle (who won an Oscar for his efforts). At the outset of the film, it is established that

Overview

This adaptation of Vera Caspary's suspense novel was begun by director Rouben Mamoulien and cinematographer Lucien Ballard, but thanks to a complex series of backstage intrigues and hostilities, the film was ultimately credited to director Otto Preminger and cameraman Joseph LaShelle (who won an Oscar for his efforts). At the outset of the film, it is established that the title character, Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), has been murdered. Tough New York detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the killing, methodically questioning the chief suspects: Waspish columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), wastrel socialite Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), and Carpenter's wealthy "patroness" Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson). The deeper he gets into the case, the more fascinated he becomes by the enigmatic Laura, literally falling in love with the girl's painted portrait. As he sits in Laura's apartment, ruminating over the case and his own obsessions, the door opens, the lights switch on, and in walks Laura Hunt, very much alive! To tell any more would rob the reader of the sheer enjoyment of watching this stylish film noir unfold on screen. Everything clicks in Laura, from the superbly bitchy peformance of Clifton Webb (a veteran Broadway star who became an overnight movie favorite with this film) to the haunting musical score by David Raskin. Long available only in the 85-minute TV version Laura has since been restored to its original 88-minute running time.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Bruce Kluger
In many ways, Otto Preminger's hypnotically stylish adaptation of Vera Caspary's novel (and his first major feature) adheres to film noir conventions. It is a dark, melodramatic thriller, awash in cool shadows and snappy dialogue. Yet the film also possesses an air of refined urbanity and offbeat elegance, qualities not usually found among the moody mysteries and tortured love stories of the noir genre. Plotwise, Laura hits the ground running. In the opening sequences, we quickly learn that titular beauty Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) has been found on the floor of her home, murdered. Almost immediately, it is up to detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) to find the killer. Aided only by a breathtaking portrait of the deceased, McPherson systematically grills the small coterie of eccentrics who knew her best and, in the process, finds he is falling in love with her. The compelling whodunit story line -- including a surprise appearance by Laura herself -- keeps viewers riveted, but it is Preminger's casting of the film that makes it unforgettable. Before Laura, neither of the leads was a Hollywood superstar; yet under Preminger's baton, Andrews transforms McPherson into a man possessed, while Tierney turns in the most glamorous role of her film career. (Both actors would work with Preminger again, notably in the 1950 noir jewel, Where the Sidewalk Ends.) Broadway veteran Clifton Webb also drew raves with his winning turn as sassy columnist Waldo Lydecker, and composer David Raksin contributed the stirring title theme -- itself a classic study in enigmatic beauty.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
With its collection of decadent New Yorkers embroiled in a murder mystery, Otto Preminger's hit Laura (1944) stands as an early, elegantly crafted film noir. Preminger's low-key approach to a story of lethal obsession allows the suggestions of sexual deviance emanating from Clifton Webb's epicene critic Lydecker, Dana Andrews's cynical yet besotted necrophiliac cop, and the pragmatic Vincent Price-Judith Anderson couple to permeate the seductively cool atmosphere. David Raksin's famously bewitching theme invokes titular mysterious beauty Gene Tierney, but it is questionable if the real woman can measure up to the power of portraiture and Lydecker's memory. "Proper" love may triumph but it is a compromised victory. One of the most popular suspense films of the 1940s, Laura earned Oscar nominations for Best Director, Supporting Actor for Webb, "Interior" (now Art) Direction, and the sharp screenplay based on the Vera Caspary novel, winning the prize for Joseph LaShelle's black and white cinematography. Released the same year as Billy Wilder's caustic noir Double Indemnity, Laura was another intimation of the wave of cinematic darkness that would crest post-World War II.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/05/2013
UPC:
0024543838616
Original Release:
1944
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:27:00
Sales rank:
1,881

Special Features

Commentary by composer David Raskin and film professor Jeanine Basinger; Commentery by film historian Rudy Behlmer; Gene Tierney: a shattered portrait and Vincent Price: the versatile villain as seen on biography on the A&E network; Deleted scene; Original theatrical trailer; Extended movie version; The Obsession

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gene Tierney Laura Hunt
Dana Andrews Mark McPherson
Clifton Webb Waldo Lydecker
Vincent Price Shelby Carpenter
Judith Anderson Ann Treadwell
Dorothy Adams Bessie Clary
James Flavin McAvity
Clyde Fillmore Bullitt
Ralph Dunn Fred Callahan
Grant Mitchell Corey
Kathleen Howard Louise
Dutch Schlickenmeyer Detective
Harry Strang Detective
Lane Chandler Detective
Yolanda Lacca Actor
Nestor Eristoff Actor
Kay Connors Actor
Frank LaRue Hairdresser
Dorothy Christy Woman
Aileen Pringle Woman
Terry Adams Man
Forbes Murray Man
Jean Fenwick Woman
Cyril Ring Man
Kay Linaker Girl
Cara Williams Girl
Beatrice Gray Woman
Frances Gladwin Woman
Buster Miles Office Boy
Jane Nigh Secretary
John Dexter Jacoby
Lee Tung Foo Servant
Cy Kendall Inspector
William Forrest Man

Technical Credits
Otto Preminger Director,Producer
Jerry Cady Screenwriter
Bonnie Cashin Costumes/Costume Designer
Jay Dratler Screenwriter
Paul S. Fox Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Leland Fuller Art Director
Samuel Hoffenstein Screenwriter
Joseph La Shelle Cinematographer
Ring Lardner Screenwriter
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
Thomas K. Little Production Designer,Set Decoration/Design
Louis Loeffler Editor
Emil Newman Musical Direction/Supervision
Guy Pearce Makeup
David Raksin Score Composer
Elizabeth Reinhardt Screenwriter
Fred Sersen Special Effects
E. Clayton Ward Sound/Sound Designer
Lyle Wheeler Art Director

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Laura 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best film noir movies of the 1940s.. all time great movie with a haunting score that stays with you even after the movie is over. I would recomend this movie to any classic film buff.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who might be put off because the film is listed as "pan & scan", don't worry about it. The IMDB lists the technical aspect ration as 1.37:1, which is a hair over your 4:3 standard format tv screen. In other words, this was not filmed widescreen. But neither was Casablanca, and may other classics from the 1940's. Buy and enjoy! As for the film, my rating says it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
They do not make movies like this,today. My Dad who is 90yrs and my Mom who is 86yrs--went to see this film on their very first date. It will always be special to me. It has a surprise ending. I just loved it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great movie and wonderful presentation. Well worth the price. But to the person who was upset that it was not released in Widescreen. It was not filmed in Widescreen since the widescreen format did not start until the 1950's with "The Robe". So you are not missing anything. If you doubt me, check out the history of widescreen format yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite movies and I CAN'T BELIEVE it was issued on DVD in Pan & Scan. Gorgeously shot, terrific acting, very moody. Sigh. I'm extremely disappointed and hope the brain trust behind the P&S decision wakes up and puts it out in widescreen, as it should be seen. I refuse to purchase P&S, even for this movie that I've been anxiously awaiting. Film Noir was not meant to be 'abbreviated'. Boo hoo.
Lady_Helpful More than 1 year ago
It starts with a murder and investigation and ends with an incredible love triangle of Gene Tierney/Dana Andrews/Clifton Webb. LAURA is film noir at its classic best. From the very beginning, if you let yourself go, you get pulled into the story and murder investigation. This film can keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out the who and the why of all the characters. It is darkly sophisticated, a real classic of this film type that is only heightened by the truly haunting musical score. And even if you have not seen it before, you will likely recognize the theme music. The acting is acting from a time when actors were real. No high tech effects to get in the way, just an extremely well done script and well done performances by everyone involved. There is also can't miss direction by Otto Preminger. A classic mystery that can be enjoyed by an entire family.
OCA2chris More than 1 year ago
American Film at it's very best! I recently purchased this again because my copy is worn out, and I can not imagine not having this to watch -not much time goes by and I find myself wanting to see this gem! The characters are perfection - each one crafted by the actor or actress with such precision you get caught up in the story and will tune everything else out. Vincent Price plays his part so well it's hard to believe he was not typecast as the" not quite scrupulous" boyfriend in subsequent movies. The movie goes along with no slow or stale or obvious parts. The settings and furnishings are done with such definition that they are integral to the story line. I know everyone has their favorite and their opinion of the perfect movie - but it's pretty hard to top this one.I find it amazing that for all the years that have passed this is more enjoyable to watch than 98% of all the new stuff being filmed. I hope you savor every moment of this delicious film!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Laura is set in the 1940s; consistent with the year it was made. The movie begins with Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) questioning suspects about the murder of one of their closest friends Laura Hunt, played by the beautiful Gene Tierney. Predictably, Laura¿s mentor, Waldo Lydecker, relates the past five years of Laura¿s life to the detective, and flashbacks accompany the narration. The haughty Waldo attributes Laura¿s rise from obscurity to prominence to himself with a small reference to her own talents. Despite having at least twenty more years than Laura, Waldo¿s wishful thoughts erroneously color their plutonic relationship with the paintbrush of romance bringing woe to any man who catches the eyes of his beloved. Some of the best moments of the film occur at the times Waldo belittles those would be lovers with comments reminiscent of a high school nerd¿s attitude toward jocks. Vincent Price¿s performance as the oft-accused, always innocent playboy Shelby Carpenter borders on annoying. This is acceptable however, because Carpenter is supposed to an exasperating character and Mr. Price does a fabulous job at portraying him. Though considered dead for half the show, Gene Tierney puts forth a shining performance as well. Those pouting lips reinforce her performance as the beautiful, sophisticated woman whose talents rocket her to the fast lanes of success. How enviable it is to be Dana Andrews in the one scene in which Lt. McPherson kisses Laura. Mr. Andrews puts the perfect touch on the tough and hardened detective who finds himself enamored with the lovely but dead Laura. Halfway through, the seemingly straightforward plot twists into a totally unexpected direction. That event makes the movie brilliant and twice as enjoyable. First-class editing and a superb story make Laura one of the best movies to come out of the film noir genre in the 1940s.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This stylish film stars the gorgeous Gene Tierney as a beautiful and gracious Manhattan socialite named Laura. Dana Andrews is the detective assigned to probe the circumstances surrounding her murder. A terrific film noir that also stars Clifton Webb, Vincent Price (as a suave playboy) and Judith Anderson.