Saturday, 15 March 2008

Laura (Otto Preminger 1944)

Waldo Lydecker: I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York.

The narration of egocentric columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) introduces us to the memory of Laura (Gene Tierney) – an elegant publicist who has been killed recently.

Lieutenant Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is in charge of the investigation of her murder. Following his investigations the story is narrated in flashback. Laura may be dead but her spell is still haunting and fascinating us – and McPherson too - through a melody, a portrait, her friends’ descriptions…

The dream-like almost ethereal presence of Laura Hunt sets the tone for what is maybe the most elegant noir film ever made. The atmospheric David Raskin theme, the soft black and white colour, all can give an impression that we are in Mark McPherson’s dream:

Laura: What are you doing here?
: You're alive.
: If you don't get out at once, I'm going to call the police.
: You are Laura Hunt, aren't you? Aren't you?
: I'm going to call the police.
: I am the police. In fact some critics argue that the second part of the film – after Laura’s arrives while McPherson is sleeping could be his own dream…
This thrilling whodunit movie is also a remarkable character study: Together with Laura and McPherson the caustic, self-centred Lydecker (In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention) , the broke playboy Shelby (a young Vincent Price), the jealous mature Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson) set an elegant puzzle of characters not to be forgotten.


viagra online said...

OK this is a real classic, the typical detective movie, something very common in that time, the time of Dick Tracy.


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