Film Noir | In English | 88 minutes | 1944
Mark McPherson, a hard-boiled, cynical detective, is assigned to investigate the murder of the beautiful advertising executive, Laura Hunt. His investigations leads to encounters with the imperious Waldo Lydecker, who was Laura’s platonic friend and mentor, her shallow playboy fiancé, Shelby Carpenter, and Ann Treadwell, Laura’s socialite aunt. McPherson becomes obsessed with Laura. He’s riveted by her stunning portrait that hangs in her apartment. Lydecker accuses McPherson of falling in love with a dead woman. One night, McPherson falls asleep in Laura’s apartment. He’s awakened and receives a shocking surprise. With some top-notch sleuthing, the clever McPherson solves the case. Of course.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 100% 100%
Academy Awards: Joseph LaShelle won for Best Black and White Cinematography. Nominated: Otto Preminger for Best Director and Clifton Webb for Best Supporting Actor.
American Film Institute (AFI) Top Ten Mystery Films—Laura was #4.
Laura was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.”
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That LAURA continues to weave a spell—and it does—is a tribute to style over sanity. No doubt the famous musical theme by David Raskin has something to do with it. There is also Clifton Webb’s narration, measured, precise, a little mad. The film achieves a kind of perfection in its balance between low motives and high style. What makes the movie great, perhaps, is the casting. The materials of a B-grade prime potboiler are redeemed by Waldo Lydecker, walking through every scene as if afraid to step on something.
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