Otto Preminger (director)
14 January 2019 (released)
01 February 2019
LAURA (1944) is without doubt one of the best Film Noirs of all time and still remains at the top of the list!
When the beautiful and glamorous Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) - one of the most successful advertising executives in New York - is found murdered in her luxury apartment, police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is put in charge of the investigation. Soon he is moving in the highest circles of society in order to accumulate a profile of the deceased and re-trace her last steps. Although there are various suspects, he cannot immediately establish a crystal-clear motive and so McPherson continues to tap in the dark.
First there is the influential and cynically arrogant columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), who is not only considerably older than Laura but was also her mentor. Although Laura owed him her glittering career and luxurious lifestyle, her feelings for Waldo never went beyond the Platonic - much to the chagrin of Waldo, who showes nothing but jealousy and contempt for Laura's many male admirers and continues to do so even now that she’s dead. Especially Laura's fiancée Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), a rather penniless freeloader benefiting from the 'alms' of Laura's older and wealthy aunt Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson), still faces Waldo's contempt. Of course, as for Ann Treadwell, she also had her reasons for murdering Laura because she is in love with Shelby herself. And yes, just before Shelby and Laura were about to announce their marriage, Laura found out about his infidelity with a young model in the employ of the advertising agency that she worked for. Or does Laura’s loyal housemaid Bessie (Dorothy Adams) know more than she lets on?
As the network of intrigue becomes more and more entangled and Detective McPherson seemingly becomes obsessed with a portrait of the murdered Laura, a completely unexpected twist sees his previous investigations and theories go up into smoke...
Andrews and Tierney are the undisputed stars and command the respect their flawless performances demands, though Vincent Price and especially Clifford Webb as the near repulsive and unsympathetic Waldo Lydecker equally deserve considerable praise. In addition, Joseph LaShelle's excellent cinematography should be emphasized. Not to forget the unforgettable theme tune by David Raskin!
The Dual Format release comes with very generous bonus material and two versions of the film are available: the censored version as well as the original theatrical release version. Furthermore there are additional audio commentaries, various radio broadcasts of LAURA, 'A Tune for Laura - David Raskin remembers', The Obsession - Featurette on LAURA, as well as archive material and collector's books.