As a classic movie fan I am asked what my favorite movie is. I honestly don’t have a single favorite. I have one or two favorites in each genre’.
One film I consider a perfect film and I do not say that lightly is Laura. My other favorite from film noir mystery is The Big Sleep with Bogie and Bacall. There is something almost mystical about Laura.
The writing is first-rate, the acting is amazing and the production is beautiful. If you have never seen the movie I will not give it away because it is a murder mystery. The movie opens with that haunting music, if you have heard the theme from Laura you would not forget it. The focus is on a beautiful portrait of a beautiful woman. The voice over tells us that the woman in the portrait is dead and then goes on to tell us the back story.
We are introduced to all the suspects and the detective who is going try to solve the mystery. What is clear is that everyone loves Laura, so who killed her?
It might seem like a typical mystery and it has been copied quite often. I can guarantee if you love a good mystery with fascinating people you will fall in love this film too.
The cast is amazing Clifton Webb in his film debut as the columnist who helped Laura become the sophisticated woman and rise through the ranks. Vincent Price as her playboy boyfriend who is the most charming sleaze you had ever seen. It is one of his best performances. The great actress Judith Anderson as her only relative, she loved Laura but she was also jealous of her.
And as Laura the talented and amazing beautiful Gene Tierney. She gives a subtle, sweet yet a very strong characterization. As much as I loved Gene Tierney my favorite character in the movie was Dana Andrews. He was just amazing, he was smart, sarcastic, funny and tough. And through all that he showed his heart and that he cared. Loved him.
With page turning script by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hofenstein and Elizabeth Reinhardt and a secret writer Ring Lardner Jr. who was a black listed writer and one of the original Hollywood Ten. (If you don’t know what that is please look it up it was one of the scariest times in our history.) This film became one of the scripts of its era.
It was based on a book by Vera Caspary, a talented writer who wrote; The Murder in the Stork Club, Bachelor in Paradise and many other books. She was a highly successful author who also wrote screenplays for many of her books.
It was directed by the great and brilliant but rather scary director; Otto Preminger. He was a very talented director but he was demanding and could scare his actors out their wits. (Look him up, his life is really interesting and would make a great movie.)
What I am trying to say in my own way is that this movie was not a classic by mistake. It was created by talented people who made a beautiful film that is a mystery lovers classic. And for those who have never seen it, there are a lot of twists in it. So watch the whole movie.
Till next time…