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Laura


jcphelps
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I have always loved this movie..but I like most Otto Preminger movies.  He delivers a well crafted Film Noir picture.  No matter how many times I see it, I love all the subplots with Laura and the men in her life and one who would even murder her above all else. All the players in this movie are outstanding.

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I have always loved this movie..but I like most Otto Preminger movies.  He delivers a well crafted Film Noir picture.  No matter how many times I see it, I love all the subplots with Laura and the men in her life and one who would even murder her above all else. All the players in this movie are outstanding.

 

Yes,  Laura is a first rate movie I can view over and over again.    Fine acting by all (even if Price is miscast as the good looking playboy he does a fine acting job).      The only thing about the film I would have changed is the romance between the detective and Laura.  OK,  having the detective fall for Laura when he believed she was dead makes the film interesting (since it shows the detective as being slightly 'off'),   but I don't think it was necessary for Laura to fall for him so quickly.    So if I was the director I would have implied sexual chemistry (as to say they might get together after the case is solved),   but not have them be an item as a plot device.

 

Also,  its been so long since I first saw the film,  I can't remember if I guessed who the killer was before it became know.   Of course  now it is obvious (i.e. who else could it really be).      Maybe the plot could have implied the Aunt was the killer as a way to know people off.   She clearly had the best motive to want Laura dead.

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I've always wondered what kind of detective would find the murder weapon, leave it in the intended victim's apartment (I'm sure that makes her feel safe), and tell her he will have someone come over the next day to check for prints. Don't the lab guys work overtime?

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Yes, a great movie with a great script and great actors. Plus a great director.

 

With one of the all time great soundtracks.  I'm just glad that TCM managed finally to pry it loose from the Fox vaults.

It's been recorded by so many different artists I've lost count, but one I particularly love is by Clifford Brown:

 

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I've always wondered what kind of detective would find the murder weapon, leave it in the intended victim's apartment (I'm sure that makes her feel safe), and tell her he will have someone come over the next day to check for prints. Don't the lab guys work overtime?

 

Yes,  that is a major plot flaw.   The detective would have taken the weapon with him or had the lab guys come over right than while he waited.    But hey,  there wouldn't have been that exciting finish.

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At least Dana Andrews took the remaining shells out of the gun before he put it back into the clock/cabinet; since he didn't know Clifton Webb was the Ultimate Bad Guy -and- had some bullets in his pocket he (Andrews) didn't think it would be a big deal at that hour of the evening just to leave the empty gun in the clock until the next morning.  

 

     Let me say the first time I saw 'LAURA' I didn't guess it was Webb until he slinked back into Laura's apartment through the other door at the top of the stairs late into the film.  I have seen it thrice more since then.  I like 'LAURA'.  After I saw it the first time I bought a video of it.  Definitely a title for the ol' video collection. 

 

     I can look past Andrews leaving the (empty) gun in the clock case and still enjoy the movie the same.  Compare that to how many times Robert Mitchum was nearly wiped out by bullets, Nazi drugs or even just dying from the heat after he passed out in the nether decks of the ship in 'HIS KIND OF WOMAN' last night.  How Mitchum lived through all that was much harder to swallow than Dana merely leaving the empty gun behind to be collected the next morning. 

 

    

    

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Yes,  that is a major plot flaw.   The detective would have taken the weapon with him or had the lab guys come over right than while he waited.    But hey,  there wouldn't have been that exciting finish.

Well, Laura has to fall for McPherson, in order to get Waldo to decide he must kill her (again). He goes on about how she always falls.for the wrong men, based on physical attraction. And here she goes again......

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Yes,  that is a major plot flaw.   The detective would have taken the weapon with him or had the lab guys come over right than while he waited.    But hey,  there wouldn't have been that exciting finish.

The detective here is very casual and non-traditional in a number of respects. Like having a suspect accompany him in doing the investigation.

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The detective here is very casual and non-traditional in a number of respects. Like having a suspect accompany him in doing the investigation.

I wonder if this is typical of how detectives were portrayed in the 40s. Consider Tom Powers, in The Blue Dahlia, who lets murder suspect William Bendix fire a gun during interrogation. Duh.

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Well, Laura has to fall for McPherson, in order to get Waldo to decide he must kill her (again). He goes on about how she always falls.for the wrong men, based on physical attraction. And here she goes again......

 

Valid point,  but then Waldo had a valid reason to be upset.    Today if Laura was a gym rat she would have a new boyfriend every week!    Also it looks like McPherson just got himself another dame.    I mean the odds are high Laura will find someone else more attractive than he is in a short time.      :lol:

 

They should have made a sequel;  McPherson and Laura are married but he insist she stay at home to ensure she doesn't play around.   She starts a relationship with Shelby,  who is living off of the Anderson character,  and he ends up murdered.    Now McPherson is a suspect and Marlow has to solve the case.

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Valid point,  but then Waldo had a valid reason to be upset.    Today if Laura was a gym rat she would have a new boyfriend every week!    Also it looks like McPherson just got himself another dame.    I mean the odds are high Laura will find someone else more attractive than he is in a short time.      :lol:

 

They should have made a sequel;  McPherson and Laura are married but he insist she stay at home to ensure she doesn't play around.   She starts a relationship with Shelby,  who is living off of the Anderson character,  and he ends up murdered.    Now McPherson is a suspect and Marlow has to solve the case.

So Laura goes only for looks? Many guys do that, but females are more interested in other things, like money.

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So Laura goes only for looks? Many guys do that, but females are more interested in other things, like money.

 

Well clearly NOT Laura.  Waldo had money.  Lots of it.   Shelby and McPherson didn't (Shelby living off women and McPherson on a detectives salary).  

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Well clearly NOT Laura.  Waldo had money.  Lots of it.   Shelby and McPherson didn't (Shelby living off women and McPherson on a detectives salary).  

Many cops enhance their salaries with such things as shakedowns and payoffs. It actually can be a fairly rewarding career.

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I don't care how many times, I'll watch Laura everytime.  Who cares about Dana Andrews inpolitic actions, leaving the gun in the clock and other total off the wall actions...let's remember TCM fans, it is just a great movie and more...Gene Tierney and that song, and those great hats!!!!

 

Remember folks....these are movies they don't have to be "real".  I would say if you want real watch the news but these days thats suspect as well. 

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Ah, Laura. The film in the misty light of self-delusion and over-wrought idealism. Well, the film's not over-wrought, but several of its characters are.

 

I love this movie. And I agree with EmilyDean, the details of the plot don't matter, don't even need to make sense.

In a way, it's like The Big Sleep in that respect. Both movies are much more about style than content, at least in terms of an understandable plot. And both films are so good, so full of fun intriguing characters and legendary actors and smart dialogue, that most of us at some point throw away our plot maps and just go along for the ride. And in both cases, a very good ride it is.

 

Something else I think the two films have in common, is, they're both unexpectedly funny. I know it's generally agreed the The Big Sleep has many comedic moments, but I think a case can be made for Laura's being pretty funny, too.

 

I mean, look at the characters...they all lie their heads off, all the time, even the innocent ones (innocent, that is, of murder...). Vincent Price as the lazy, effete, amoral Shelby is deliciously funny. How come he lies - twice - about the classical music concert he claims he attended? To what purpose?  And the scene where Laura, Mark, and Waldo more or less burst in on Shelby and Ann Treadwell having  breakfast or something is -  forgive the pun - priceless. In fact, every scene with Price and the wonderful Judith Anderson  is, to me, both funny and touching.

 

Back to the lying  - Laura herself lies like a carpet. What's all that rubbish about the radio? It's there, it's not there, it's broken, it's being fixed....who cares? Why does she lie about whether her radio works or not?  And don't - this means you, james, who loves to provide explanations for this kind fo thing - try to make a case for why she lies - or if not lies, provides conflicting information - about the radio business, because it doesn't matter.

 

I'm thinkng the screenplay has all the characters lie to confuse the audience and throw suspicion on all of them. But I just find it extremely funny (in a good way, I hasten to add.)

 

As for Laura herself - she's all mystery and allure when she's just a beautiful portrait , but the real Laura is disappointingly ordinary. Not that that's her fault. She didn't ask Waldo and Mark (Shelby not so much) to idealize her the way they do.

 

And then there's Waldo Lydecker, perfectly portrayed by Clifton Webb. It makes sense that the producers would have considered Laird Cregar and Monty Woolley for the part, since all three actors were gay. And while of course it's never even implied in Laura that Waldo is gay, of course it's apparent I think, at least to modern audiences, that he is.

But Waldo cannot admit this, even to himself. Instead, he becomes obsessed with a woman, perhaps in some kind of attempt at denial of his sexuality.

 

However, his obsession with Laura is a psychological one, in no way a physical one. The reason he cannot let Laura go is not because he is in love with her, in the traditional romantic sense, but because he feels he created her. It's a Pygmalion thing.  Waldo credits himself for having not only "discovered" her, but for bringing about the beautiful, admired, successful Laura Hunt that society came to adore.

 

Anyway, enough of this musing. However you want to interpret  it, Laura is one entertaining film.

 

(Apologies for not writing this nearly as brilliantly as Waldo Lydecker would have.)

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jamesjazzguitar wrote: 

They should have made a sequel;  McPherson and Laura are married but he insist she stay at home to ensure she doesn't play around.   She starts a relationship with Shelby,  who is living off of the Anderson character,  and he ends up murdered.    Now McPherson is a suspect and Marlow has to solve the case.

So Laura goes only for looks? Many guys do that, but females are more interested in other things, like money.

 

I don't think it would be nearly as enjoyable.   There's no Lydecker to urbanely comment about their situations.

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(Apologies for not writing this nearly as brilliantly as Waldo Lydecker would have.)

 

I am sorry to say that I must greatly disagree with you. I feel it is very wonderfully brilliantly written. You have succinctly presented insightful analysis of characterizations.

 

I will comment of the leaving of shotgun in clock:

It is my observation from movies of that era that police who were: "by the book" did not take bribes and did hold law above personal feelings of justice. 

I believe that meaning today of: "by the book" means strict adherence to multitude of persnickety checklists of how to act in every given situation.

 

Difference is this:

I believe that it would be wrong for police of today to replace shotgun because mandatory checklist demands calling technicians at moment when evidence is found.
 

I would expect police of that era to make calculation that to call technicians to scene would mean waiting perhaps an hour for them to arrive and then waiting perhaps two or three hours for them to perform their duties and then having to write report of findings. It was late at night. He would clearly not be done before dawn. He would have then day of work ahead with no sleep behind. It would in no manner pervert course of justice nor compromise evidence for him to go home to bed and call technicians to scene next morning and then he could be performing other duties while they did their work. 

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Ah, Laura. The film in the misty light of self-delusion and over-wrought idealism. Well, the film's not over-wrought, but several of  

I mean, look at the characters...they all lie their heads off, all the time, even the innocent ones (innocent, that is, of murder...). Vincent Price as the lazy, effete, amoral Shelby is deliciously funny. How come he lies - twice - about the classical music concert he claims he attended? To what purpose?  And the scene where Laura, Mark, and Waldo more or less burst in on Shelby and Ann Treadwell having  breakfast or something is -  forgive the pun - priceless. In fact, every scene with Price and the wonderful Judith Anderson  is, to me, both funny and touching.

 

Their scenes are my favorites.  I wish they'd been a sequel featuring Shelby and Ann Treadwell.  I also watch for the wonderful scene in the powder room between Laura and Ann.  Judith Anderson is a gem.

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Over a decade ago I had the joy and deeply moving experience of seeing Laura at an old, packed movie theatre. Composer David Raksin was the special guest and took part in a Q & A session before the movie.  He was so sharp and funny.  When his beautiful theme was first played the audience broke into thunderous applause. As the lights came up after the movie the organist played the theme on the Mighty Wurlitzer.  

 

I think I wrote this on some earlier thread, and no doubt will mention it again.  And again!  So memorable.  And I managed to get Mr. Raksin's autograph to boot!

 

 

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Ahhh, Laura, perhaps the most elegant and sophisticated '40s film treatment of a mystery, has long been a great favourite of mine. I won't try to analyze the appeal of this film because I think that MissW's clever and graceful posting has already done that.

 

Perhaps the element of the film that I have always found the most intriguing and haunting, however, is the idea of a detective, and a hard nosed seen-it-all-before tough guy, at that, falling in love with a woman through her portrait. This is a movie, and so I forgive it for the lack of logic, and succumb, instead, to the romanticism of that idea.

 

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Helping to sweep me along with this suggestion, of course, along with the elegance of the film's photography, is the brilliantly haunting musical score of David Raskin. Dana Andrews, too, long my nomination as one of the most underrated of all '40s actors, makes his granite faced but subtle contribution to the idea of a tough guy falling for an idealized woman that he has never met. Yes, this "tough" guy is vulnerable, too, like the rest of us.

 

I have long suspected that when most movie buffs today think of Gene Tierney, it may well be her memorable portrait in Laura that comes to mind before any of the actress's performances.

 

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By the way, how many posters are aware that that portrait of Laura appeared in the background of two other 20th Century Fox films, one starring Gene Tierney, the other Clifton Webb? (Right here, I want to give credit to whistingypsy, who informed me of this fact in the Paintings in the Movies thread).

 

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On the Riviera, a 1951 comedy with Tierney and Danny Kaye, the only time that the portrait has been seen in colour on film.

 

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Woman's World, a 1954 production, with Webb's character owning the portrait as part of his collection. What, still obsessed, Waldo? Hope the image isn't too small for you here. The portrait appears at the top of Webb's head.

 

If there was one prop from the movies that I could own, I think this portrait might be it:

 

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Perhaps there's a little of Dana Andrews' Det. Mark McPherson in me, too.

 

By the way, would anybody know what happened to the portrait and if, unlike all the people connected with the movie, it actually still exists today?

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Ah, Laura. The film in the misty light of self-delusion and over-wrought idealism. Well, the film's not over-wrought, but several of its characters are.

 

I love this movie. And I agree with EmilyDean, the details of the plot don't matter, don't even need to make sense.

In a way, it's like The Big Sleep in that respect. Both movies are much more about style than content, at least in terms of an understandable plot. And both films are so good, so full of fun intriguing characters and legendary actors and smart dialogue, that most of us at some point throw away our plot maps and just go along for the ride. And in both cases, a very good ride it is.

 

Something else I think the two films have in common, is, they're both unexpectedly funny. I know it's generally agreed the The Big Sleep has many comedic moments, but I think a case can be made for Laura's being pretty funny, too.

 

I mean, look at the characters...they all lie their heads off, all the time, even the innocent ones (innocent, that is, of murder...). Vincent Price as the lazy, effete, amoral Shelby is deliciously funny. How come he lies - twice - about the classical music concert he claims he attended? To what purpose?  And the scene where Laura, Mark, and Waldo more or less burst in on Shelby and Ann Treadwell having  breakfast or something is -  forgive the pun - priceless. In fact, every scene with Price and the wonderful Judith Anderson  is, to me, both funny and touching.

 

Back to the lying  - Laura herself lies like a carpet. What's all that rubbish about the radio? It's there, it's not there, it's broken, it's being fixed....who cares? Why does she lie about whether her radio works or not?  And don't - this means you, james, who loves to provide explanations for this kind fo thing - try to make a case for why she lies - or if not lies, provides conflicting information - about the radio business, because it doesn't matter.

 

I'm thinkng the screenplay has all the characters lie to confuse the audience and throw suspicion on all of them. But I just find it extremely funny (in a good way, I hasten to add.)

 

As for Laura herself - she's all mystery and allure when she's just a beautiful portrait , but the real Laura is disappointingly ordinary. Not that that's her fault. She didn't ask Waldo and Mark (Shelby not so much) to idealize her the way they do.

 

And then there's Waldo Lydecker, perfectly portrayed by Clifton Webb. It makes sense that the producers would have considered Laird Cregar and Monty Woolley for the part, since all three actors were gay. And while of course it's never even implied in Laura that Waldo is gay, of course it's apparent I think, at least to modern audiences, that he is.

But Waldo cannot admit this, even to himself. Instead, he becomes obsessed with a woman, perhaps in some kind of attempt at denial of his sexuality.

 

However, his obsession with Laura is a psychological one, in no way a physical one. The reason he cannot let Laura go is not because he is in love with her, in the traditional romantic sense, but because he feels he created her. It's a Pygmalion thing.  Waldo credits himself for having not only "discovered" her, but for bringing about the beautiful, admired, successful Laura Hunt that society came to adore.

 

Anyway, enough of this musing. However you want to interpret  it, Laura is one entertaining film.

 

(Apologies for not writing this nearly as brilliantly as Waldo Lydecker would have.)

All 3 actors were gay? So all gay men are a certain character type?

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All 3 actors were gay? So all gay men are a certain character type?

 

No, of course not, DGF.

 

Cregar and Woolley were a lot heavier than Webb ever was!

 

(...whaddaya BLIND or somethin'???!!!)

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I've always wondered what kind of detective would find the murder weapon, leave it in the intended victim's apartment (I'm sure that makes her feel safe), and tell her he will have someone come over the next day to check for prints. Don't the lab guys work overtime?

 

 

Shouldn't she have been under police guard all that night??

 

Shouldn't she have stayed in a nice hotel that night, also under police guard?

 

Wouldn't they have arrested the killer that same night?

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