Laura

Film Noir | In English | 88 minutes | 1944

Info

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. 

Cast
Dana Andrews (Mark McPherson), Gene Tierney (Laura Hunt), Clifton Webb (Waldo Lydecker), Vincent Price (Shelby Carpenter), Judith Anderson (Ann Treadwell)
Why Stream This Film?
After you’ve seen this great film, don’t be a spoiler and reveal the ending. Come to think of it, doesn’t that go for most film noir films?
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 100% 100%
Accolades
  • 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.”

Now streaming on:

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.
Roger Ebert

RogerEbert.com

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