Laura (1944)

Directed by Otto Preminger, written by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein and Elizabeth Reinhardt (screenplay), Vera Caspary (novel)

“Young woman. Either you have been raised in some incredibly rustic community, where good manners are unknown, or you suffer from the common, feminine delusion that the mere fact of being a woman exempts you from the rules of civilized conduct. Or possibly both.”

A woman has been murdered by shotgun, and even in today’s ultra-violent society this level of gunplay against women is unsettling. As Laura’s (Gene Tierney) murder is investigated, numerous suspects are interrogated by Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews), who suspects no one and everyone.

Rounding out the cast we have Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter, a socialite used to a rich lifestyle who pursued Laura, Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker, a highly respected writer and columnist who also pursued Laura, and Judith Anderson as Ann Treadwell, a wealthy woman who’s pursuing Clifton Webb.

It’s a complex murder mystery involving love, that dastardly, inescapable beast, and as Waldo’s radio program plays in the background near the film’s end it attributes most of the atrocities in history to love, asserting the emotion is stronger than life itself.

Due to shifting suspicions, the relatively small cast and the film’s revelations, this is a mystery that delivers its most powerful strike on the first watch, a la The Usual Suspects. Give it your full attention and reap the rewards.

“I shall never forget the weekend Laura died.”



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