Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #75 Laura

In Uncategorized on December 3, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Movie #75 Laura

(1944, US, d. Otto Preminger)

A top notch murder mystery if I’ve ever seen one, Laura is simple and very easy to watch until a twist halfway through shakes the tenements of the film, in a good way of course. It draws you in very slowly, setting itself up to be a regular murder story. Most of the characters have a motive, most of them are suspicious, and they’re all in love with the victim Laura. I won’t give away what happens around the middle but let me just say it changes things. On AFI’s top 10 murder mysteries, Laura‘s greatest strength is in its casting, except for (ironically) the title character. By the time we finally get to see Laura in the flashbacks from the suspect’s recollections, she is nothing close to the great and goddess-like words that were used to describe her. A lot of the film’s dialogue is just the suspect’s going on about how beautiful and angelic and life-altering this Laura was. The opening titles of the film are against a portrait of her, for goodness’ sake. But when we finally get to see Gene Tierney, who plays the title role, she’s just…ehh. It’s Clifton Webb, though, (who plays Lydecker) who steals the show with his fearful, yet confident poise and prepared fumbling of words. It’s nothing short of brilliant in a performance that locked him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor and honestly, kind of scared me near the end. Without giving anything away, of course.

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