Laura Hunt has been murdered in a brutal crime. She answered her door and was shot twice with a shotgun in the face. Det. McPherson has been called in to solve the crime and he does so by interviewing the most influential people in her life and soon discovers that Laura was a woman that engendered love in most of the males she met; even after her death Waldo Lydecker & her fiancée Shelby Carpenter are still vying for her affections and McPherson begins to develop feelings for Laura himself.
Laura is a spectacular film, on that reminds me of a film Hitchcock would have wanted to make. Like any classic noir it starts because of a death, and the characters all have their own motives for being involved in the mystery, a mystery that only gets deeper as McPherson attempts to unravel the crime. This is a film that has some incredible twists and turns, twists that will be honored by my truncated review here; there are elements that have intense power to this film and I will not spoil them.
What really intrigues me about Laura are the three men that are central to this sotry: Lydecker, Carpenter & McPherson. Each man is an entirely different representation of a type of male and their motivations for loving Laura are vastly different. Lydecker is the intellectual who believes himself the only one truly worthy of Laura, Carpenter is the playboy who caught Laura’s eye and therefore her heart, and McPherson is the protector and knight in shining armor who is trying to save Laura. In many ways the traditional roles assigned to females in a noir (the angel, the femme fatale, etc.) have been flipped and placed on these men instead. Rather than women competing in any way possible for a man, these men of power have become cut throat with each other, vying for the place a Laura’s side.
If you have an appreciation for mystery films, noir or simply a movie that will keep you on your toes I suggest that you do what you can to find and see Laura. The film is incredibly entertaining and kept me guessing right until the great reveal.
Director: Otto Preminger
Writer: Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein & Elizabeth Reinhardt
Laura Hunt: Gene Tierney
Det. McPherson: Dana Andrews
Waldo Lydecker: Clifton Webb
Shelby Carpenter: Vincent Price
Mrs. Treadwell: Judith Anderson
Waldo Lydecker: 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.