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Dr. Rich Edwards

Daily Dose of Darkness #5: Soaking in Noir (The Opening Scene of Laura)

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Andrews has this smug look on his face right from the start, as if he's already figured out exactly the kind of conceited fraud who owns this overdone dwelling. When he handles the "priceless" glass item, it's not that he doesn't appreciate its value - it's as if he recognizes its ultimate lack of value to Lydecker, who certainly keeps such things around for the benefit of others. What a thrilling battle of steely wits, witnessed in a mere four minutes.

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'Laura' is a favorite of mine; I  wouldn't doubt that I have seen it 50 or so times.  The hindsight of even one viewing shows the brilliance of this opening scene--it tells us nearly everything we need to know about Waldo Lydecker, and a good bit about the plot to come.

Obviously Waldo is a self-obsessed type--his apartment is like a museum, full of things that are priceless, but not shared with the world--they belong to only him, to be shared with only those he chooses.  Note the large WL monogram on his towels...certainly it's clear whose towels they are, but he has a need for them to be identified just the same.

For Waldo, Laura's death is something that happened to HIM, not to HER.  He sees the entire world only as it affects (and is affected by) him.

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The way Preminger introduces us to Waldo  in  a V.O. We think he will be narrarting the film, but he is actually a writter, and this may be just another one of his stories. The ticking of the clock reminds me of someone pecking at a typewritter, suggesting he is either "self taught" or he is very careful with the words he uses. He feels he is above everyone else, ( he makes others come to him while he's in the bath.) so he doesn't " bother with the details."

In film noir, the detective character is just one step above,(if at all) the ordinary street thug. He pays attention to details. That is why Mcpherson is refered to as "One of those detectives." He is however intrigued by Mcpherson because he is a hero

 

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It's easy to see why an actor like Clifton Webb would be chosen for the role of such an acerbic and aloof individual: he's the best there is at this kind of thing. We're being led to think he has the superior intellect over the street-smart detective. He's watching him through the half-open door, supposedly sizing him up without his knowledge. But is the detective really unaware? Isn't it possible that he actually intends to call out his observer by deliberately picking up a "priceless" object so impulsively, and without any reverence for its supposed value, forcing Lydecker to call out in alarm to "be careful" and thus exposing himself (!) and the fact that he had been spying on his "guest?" Why should he need to spy at all, we wonder? Why should he need-right off- to obtain the upper hand  over this detective?

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The first few minutes of Laura sets up a couple of things quickly. The first, the class differences between Waldo and Mark in the way Waldo treats Mark and his condenscension towards him and the police in general and it is quite obvious how vain and narcissistic Waldo is. We also find out Mark is pretty sharp himself.  The second, the not so subtle hint that Waldo is homosexual is apparent in the fact that Waldo invites Mark into his bathroom to talk to him and then after remembering Mark's brave exploits of a few years before he actually shows admiration for him. The real obvious bit is when Waldo asks Mark to hand him his robe and off camera Waldo stands up and faces Mark as it is handed to him.

 

All of this is confirmed later in the film if you haven't seen it before. You also find out it's a jungle out there no matter where you are in social/economic strata.

 

 

 

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i did too, talk about shocking plot twist

 

 

Other than the open scene of The Letter, the opening scene of Laura is one of my favorites. And the voice over is fantastic. "I will never forget the weekend that Laura died."

 

To paraphrase Robert Osborne, "what kind of movie tells the audience that the main character is dead, during the first few minutes of the film?"

 

The first time I saw Laura, I gasped when she walked into her apartment. Great movie. No matter how often I've seen it, I always find something new and exciting about this classic film noir.  

I was surprised by Laura's appearance, too. So much so that I really believed it was Detective McPherson's drunken dream. He had just fallen asleep after having a few, and I didn't believe he was someone I could trust. I needed proof, and I got it when the police officer listening in on the wiretap tells the detective that he saw Laura!

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First shot - a voice-over and a quick association with Vincent Price and Corman's version of Edgar Allan Poe's stories, e.g. Morella. We see nobody, the camera runs through the room (a rather posh one, probably a mansion and definetely arranged by the lady of the household) and the voice is talking about the death of his wife (yes, we were right about the lady of the household). The man is being disturbed by the visit of a police detective. At first, the man discreetly observes the detective. For a very short moment we see strange masks on one of the walls and some might think that he might observe him through the eyes of the mask, but not in this case ;) Then the camera follows the detective who is snooping around the room, waiting for the man of the house to appear. He touches one of the crystals and suddenly hears a voice which is coming from another room. The detective enters the other room and... is as much surprised as we are! He sees Waldo Lydecker sitting in a bathtub with a typewriter greeting him like he was entering an office and the host was sitting behind a regular desk. At the very beginning the voice was telling us that he was writing about his wife's murder and we see he was telling the truth. What and odd behaviour a day after his wife passed away... What's more after welcoming McPherson, he gets right to the point - he is literally reading his test testimony he gave to another police officer the day before. In fact, he must have typed it himself, on that particular typewriter. Wife's gone - got bored? Or maybe he is just trying to make his every action perfect, because he simply killed his wife (and this would make him an excellent noir protagonist...). Anyway, Waldo communicates he was going to meet his wife over dinner yesterday, but she "cancelled the engagement at exactly 7 o'clock". McPherson finished this "reading" by saying that the husband "ate a lonely dinner and got into the tub to read". And then he asked one question which probably each of us wanted to ask - why did you write it down? Afraid to forget it? (a lovely noir sarcasm). Lydecker replied that he was the "the most widely misquoted man in America" and will not tolerate it from "seargants" (when his friend do that he only "resents" it - a bit of sarcasm here also). Waldo is confident, surely he feels powerful and is demanding. He tells the officer to bring him the washcloth. McPherson is a bit irritated and throws it. But when Lydecker finds out McPherson's name he is surprised, McPherson is famous for dealing with a dangerous gangster and Waldo is really impressed - guess he respects strong and succesful people ;) And here we find out Waldo is a columnist and wrote about the case.


We don't see or hear shots, no blood or corpse, no screaming, no fear, no dark tunnels or rainy streets, but a simple mind game between two strong characters. This would be an intelectual duel, Waldo is a sharp, intelligent and a bit pompous and experienced guy, McPherson is not worse at all. I can smell tons of sarcasm between these two! Their meeting is like a clash of two worlds – Waldo lives in a beautiful house, he is famous and succesful and certainly very confident. He writes his articles in a bathtub and probably does other things McPherson would not even care. McPherson is a simple copper who does not make a fuss about himself. Waldo would not be the first rich bloke he got arrested and he knows they are not that brave and self-confident wearing bracelets...


And even such clever guys like Waldo make mistakes. Like the way he described the murder in his article – Freud would have said something about that error... Waldo did not expect some simple copper would see the pattern and connect Laura with his piece on Harrington's case. Caught in the act? Waldo reacts in his own way – shows his scorn saying „I never bother with details, you know”...


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The opening monologue is often-parodied, but not often seen in this type of set-up. I found it a surprising twist that the radio columnist would take a bath in the presence of a detective which he did not know. Seems like he's painting himself as someone who at least appears to be vulnerable. A fabulous bit of business which I can't wait to see how it plays out.

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Lots of great observations here on the opening of "Laura". I think it's interesting that "Laura" is such an amazing story, it's been retold multiple times. Two examples that come to mind are an episode of "Mannix" and later, in the 80s, an episode of "Magnum P.I.".

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I think you learn a lot about him in the opening scene. He seems to think he is quite better than everyone else. I like the way they introduced him because it was straight to the point, and introduces you to the plot. I think this scene contributes to noir because it opens with a strong quote. It's always good to have a opening line that will be forever remembered. I also liked the effect of the loud clock clicking in the background.

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That opening voiceover is definitely classic noir - gritty hardboiled style.  And now knowing that the book has that in the opening, I may very well be picking that up.  The banter back and forth between Waldo and the detective is such good example of the writing in noir.  Very enjoyable, honestly surprised I hadn't heard of this movie before.

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My first impressions of Lydecker are that he's a collector but of only very fine things. In the way he speaks about Laura, I wonder if he considers her part of a collection. He has very expensive taste and little respect for a common man like a police officer until he finds out there was something special about McPherson, then his demeanor changes completely.

 

It's a very unusual opening as the voice over begins with a dark screen and the pictures we see are of the art objects, then the furniture, and finally a large room filled with expensive taste. If unusual openings are typical in film noir, this certainly sets it up as a film noir.

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I love how by using the voice over we're able to not only establish the noir style, but also glean a lot of information about Lydecker very quickly. Although he spends most of the time talking about Laura, what we actually learn is who he is. We see his lifestyle, his lavish home, how he spends his down time (relaxing in the bath - a luxury), and how he feels about others. In my opinion, he's instantly unlikeable.

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What a fun opening!

The actual first shot as the film is introduced is of the portrait of Laura, a grand introduction to Nino Frank's notion that the movies is a "charming character study of furnishings and faces." The screen goes blank as the voice-over speaks to his audience and we focus on the Buddhist statue standing in the Abhaya Mudra position, a symbol of fearlessness and enlightenment. We hear the clock ticking and see the large standing clock, the only other  sound in the room other than the voice-over. The two become fused. We learn through the camera as it takes in all the details of the items in the room. We hear the voice (which we find in time is Waldo Lydecker's) as it describes with curious detachment the setting of the death of Laura and how the sun burned that day. We notice the faces in the room - the statue, the clock, the masks on the wall - as well as the presence of the detective. All these details give us our first clues, and in light of the ending, tell us the full story in the first few minutes of the film. 

Waldo Lydecker is a collector of things, of stories, of people. He finds value in things and people only if he finds them interesting, expensive or "rare," When he meets the detective, he is dismissive until he finds out that he is "McPherson," the "man with leg of lead,"  a curiosity. 

Lydecker claims is the only one who truly knew Laura, yet he tells us nothing about her. She has been just another item in his glass case.

When the detective picks up an item from one of the cases, Lydecker yells at him from the next room not to touch it. He is possessive of his collectibles.

When we meet Lydecker, he is in the tub, exposed, but hiding behind his mini desk with typewriter. Interestingly, there are no statues in the room with the tub - no statues, no portraits. He is alone. He is making a point to show his disdain for the detective by meeting him this way, making him wait while he lounges in the tub. He is arrogant and cruel.

Lydecker is also extremely OCD, careful in all that he does and says, yet when McPherson points out that in a story years ago Lydecker describes a man dying the same way that Laura died, by a shotgun blast, when the man was killed in an entirely different manner. "I never bother with details, you know," Lydecker states, as he fastidiously examines himself in the mirror.

In this opening scene, we know all we need to know simply by studying the furnishings and faces.

 

This film is a great contribution to the film noir style with the use of the moving camera as it not only takes in the setting the same way a human eye might, but also enlightens us by its focus on details and symbols that tell us the overall story without needing explanation. Preminger masterfully takes the dark subjects of murder, greed and jealousy, and weaves a story with surprising plot twists and turns, sharp dialogue between the detective and suspects, cunning use of shadow and light and camera angles to create suspense and to give us clues as we are led through the lens of discovery. The characters themselves are examples of what Muller points out as "low company, high style." These are the very rich, surrounded in luxury and status, who are rotten to the core. Even the main character, Laura, who is presented as a sweet, naïve person with a good heart, is not above lying to the detective and compromising principals when she sees fit. The detective is hardened, cynical. He calls all women "dames." He is unprofessional, drinking and stalking Laura even in death as he hangs around her apartment snooping around, not for the case, but for his own morbid curiosity. There is not a single character that is left unscathed in this sordid tale, which is a comment on the film noir view of the world. There are no real "good guys," no "men in white hats." Reality is what it is.

The last shot in the movie is the clock face broken, no longer beautiful, dysfunctional now that its inner workings are destroyed. It stands as it is, exposed and ugly.   

Brilliant.

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People in turmoil. Opening scene sets the stage for the type of people we'll be seeing and for the complex plot of good/bad that's coming. Lydecker is in command. Will he be able to maintain control? How will the detective be able to determine the truth? The mystery is established within the first 4 minutes of the story. Film Noir.

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The film Laura is a "charming character study of furnishings and faces" given that it is so opulent in its first view of Walter Lydecker's apartment; inf act, Lydecker admits to the detective McPerson that"it's lavish but I call it home."  Before this comment Lydecker replies to McPherson's address to him by his name "Ah!, you recognize me."  Obviously from these first expressions we can see that this is a movie about names and well-known faces.  Lydecker even is pleasantly surprised to recognize McPherson as that dectective with a leg full of lead which he read about and even devoted time in his radio program to recognize.  It is a film about who knows whom and how much social climbing can be achieved by name-dropping.  This fil does not deal in the seedy parts of a city but the high rent district where crime is still a presence.  The famous opening line of " I will never forget the weekend Laura died" lets us the viewers know that this is an intimate story unfolding.  Lydecker is closely linked to Laura in more ways than one.  I heard about the film Laura when my husband and I married 29 years ago and had our first child who we named Laura.  My husband's maternal grandmother told us about the movie and its haunting title song.  I did not see the film until 2 years ago when Robert Osborne showed it on TCM.  I was intrigued by what I had heard and given my daughter had that name it was a must-see.  I was scared that the sotry involved her namesake dying, but I will only say I was thankfully surprised.

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'Laura' is a favorite of mine; I  wouldn't doubt that I have seen it 50 or so times.  The hindsight of even one viewing shows the brilliance of this opening scene--it tells us nearly everything we need to know about Waldo Lydecker, and a good bit about the plot to come.

Obviously Waldo is a self-obsessed type--his apartment is like a museum, full of things that are priceless, but not shared with the world--they belong to only him, to be shared with only those he chooses.  Note the large WL monogram on his towels...certainly it's clear whose towels they are, but he has a need for them to be identified just the same.

For Waldo, Laura's death is something that happened to HIM, not to HER.  He sees the entire world only as it affects (and is affected by) him.

Laura is a long-time favorite of mine, also, and you've aptly summarized my own attitudes about the film, and about the character of Lydecker who definitely is self-absorbed and thinks that everything - even the death of someone he claims to have loved - is about HIM.  It becomes evident, though, that Laura is another one of his possessions, like the objects in his apartment and his Svengali-like relationship with her allows him to make her over into someone who is as well-known as his "walking stick" (another comparison with an inanimate object).  What becomes Laura's nearly "fatal flaw," if you will, is that she is a thinking, living human being who begins to see Lydecker for what and who he really is and decides - finally - that she needs to break her ties with him and move on. In contrast - and all too typical of Lydecker - is his "how dare you do this to me" attitude (another glaring example of his selfishness and self-absorption), and he even tells her that she "isn't herself" because she's made up her mind to drop him.  This is a compelling study of human nature, warts and all.

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The film Laura is a "charming character study of furnishings and faces" given that it is so opulent in its first view of Walter Lydecker's apartment; inf act, Lydecker admits to the detective McPerson that"it's lavish but I call it home."  Before this comment Lydecker replies to McPherson's address to him by his name "Ah!, you recognize me."  Obviously from these first expressions we can see that this is a movie about names and well-known faces.  Lydecker even is pleasantly surprised to recognize McPherson as that dectective with a leg full of lead which he read about and even devoted time in his radio program to recognize.  It is a film about who knows whom and how much social climbing can be achieved by name-dropping.  This fil does not deal in the seedy parts of a city but the high rent district where crime is still a presence.  The famous opening line of " I will never forget the weekend Laura died" lets us the viewers know that this is an intimate story unfolding.  Lydecker is closely linked to Laura in more ways than one.  I heard about the film Laura when my husband and I married 29 years ago and had our first child who we named Laura.  My husband's maternal grandmother told us about the movie and its haunting title song.  I did not see the film until 2 years ago when Robert Osborne showed it on TCM.  I was intrigued by what I had heard and given my daughter had that name it was a must-see.  I was scared that the sotry involved her namesake dying, but I will only say I was thankfully surprised.

You make an excellent point about the locale - this murder doesn't occur in a seedy part of town, but a toney, well-to-do district where the rich (and perhaps psuedo-rich, like Shelby Carpenter) reside, which really captures the filmgoer's attention.  I also loved the title song, which I had the pleasure of hearing performed live by Johnny Mathis a few years ago.  Like the movie, it was a treat.

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That opening voiceover is definitely classic noir - gritty hardboiled style.  And now knowing that the book has that in the opening, I may very well be picking that up.  The banter back and forth between Waldo and the detective is such good example of the writing in noir.  Very enjoyable, honestly surprised I hadn't heard of this movie before.

My appreciation of the movie inspired me to read the book some years ago (I found a copy on Amazon).  If you do pick it up, I don't think you'll be disappointed.  Definitely a good read.

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We hear Waldo’s voiceover as if he’s narrating from a distance while we look at a cold, controlled but abundant life – antiques, order, only the ticking clock (life passing, the tell-tale heart leading to the solution) to break the monastic, meticulous mood of silent possessiveness. 

 

After hearing in the vo that Laura has been murdered, we meet the obviously out-of-place but easy-to-identify hard-boiled detective whose first movement into this quiet world is first to a series of masks (human guises) then to a wall of glass objects; he seems clearly out of place here – all gumshoe virility invading this fragile environment while we listen to Waldo, who abruptly breaks the voice-over convention by calling out to the detective – this is HIS environment (not the victim’s): we know who he is.

 

This leads into an incredibly revealing scene – a scrawny man, imperious as Nero, completely nude in a marble bath tailored to feature his main attribute – a typewriter – dominating the conversation, and asking the detective to put a robe on him (Andrews’ take on being asked to put on the robe, removes any ambiguity about both the  hapless sexual curiosity in Waldo’s request as well as his lack of attributes).  Waldo seems to be in control, telling the detective about the detective – his storied past, etc.  And yet, the dialogue reveals the true contrast between the man of words and the man of action – Waldo is revealed in this scene as scrawny, risible (Andrew’s reaction to his nudity) and factually inaccurate.  The man of action, Andrews is proven to be superior in all aspects to Lydecker’s man of words; Lydecker is humiliated (to the audience) and rendered impotent in the very first scene of a film in which he will ultimately be revealed as the killer.

 

I find it difficult not to compare Waldo to the critic, Addison DeWitt, in All About Eve which also has a noir elements – femme fatale, blackmail, adultery, fraud, a city of night and inhabitants unique to that environment.  Addison, like Waldo, is a writer (acid pen no valid substitute for the masculine sword, in All About Eve, wielded by Gary Merill’s he-man director). Both men are possessed with a huge sense of power, brought down by the unattainable object of their sexual longing/sublimation – a woman whose inaccessibility unleashes the monster within: for rejecting him, Laura is ostensibly destroyed by Waldo (although the victim turns out to be a Doppler– the reappearance of Laura – the ghost of his deed and corporeal proof of his impotence as both a killer and as a “man” – will finally undo him). Addison, trades his arm-candy “protégée”, Miss Caswell, presumably for services rendered (whether actually bedding him or merely bearding him) at a party where he sees in Eve Harrington both the poise and especially talent that the voluptuous but vacant Caswell lacks.  When he subsequently offers himself to Eve she laughs in his face and he loses the very composure by which he defines himself and strikes her; her rejection forces him to show his hand – his ability to destroy her in a highly charged scene in which he goes from submissive to dominant and literally brings her to her knees. In Laura, this rejection of Lydecker as a sexual companion results in a murder.

What a well thought out synopsis of these two characters - and this movie!  I, too, compared Lydecker to the Addison DeWitt character in All About Eve. Both are powerful personalities who seek the unattainable, despite what they feel are their superior attributes, in comparison to ordinary men.  Interesting sidebar - George Sanders, who portrayed DeWitt in All About Eve, was cast as Lydecker in a TV version of Laura from the 1950s. 

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Laura - one of my absolute favorites!

 

I had never thought of it before as being "a character study of furnishings and faces," but I like thinking of it that way now.  It concentrates very much on people with "lavish" life-styles and good taste.  The most obvious (and important) furnishing is one not shown in the opening scene, but rather the opening credits... worth mentioning because it is the portrait of Laura, herself.  Simply stunning.  And we immediately see the mysterious, haunting quality about this girl who we assume we will never meet, since she is dead from the start of the film.  And of course the clock, which is referred to often throughout the film, because it is the (spoiler alert) object which hides the murder weapon.  This is fitting as the ticking and chiming of clocks are always reminders of time going by, or running out altogether.  

 

We hear Lydecker's voice narrating the first moments of this film (narration being a very film noir-ish thing to do).  I think this fitting since, 1) Lydecker is a writer and would therefore have a way with words, and 2) because it would be harder to think of your narrator as a murderer.  He is witty and humorous, and starting the film out with him, being the first voice you hear… you hardly think of him as suspect #1.  (At least I didn’t when I first saw the movie years ago.)  When I think of it, though, his was the only way his character could have gained our trust (along with the humor), since he is, of course, a snob and very unlike-able if you knew someone like him in real life.  He thinks very highly of himself.  It's in his words, his tone (he simply oozes with sarcasm), his decor (notice the monogrammed towels hanging in his "bathroom").  He wants everything, and everything in its place, as long as it is rare and/or beautiful.  Things that have no use but to decorate his walls or remain under glass, untouchable, simply for show, and because he can.  He finds Laura, and of course she is both rare and beautiful.  He has to have her and it is as if she too becomes a part of his collection.  But not just a part, because she is the most prized, and one which he feels the most passionate about (if he could be passionate about anything but himself).  She stands out, and whatever she lacks (in his eyes) he makes over.  Like his other possessions, she, too, he wants out of reach of anyone but himself.  "Under glass," so to speak.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

 

Waldo’s “baring all” as he gets out of the tub, and even calling McPherson into the bathroom while he bathed in the first place, is telling.  He is sure of himself.  He thinks he has everything under control and acts as if he has nothing to hide.  He of course does, but his ego tells him that no one would be intelligent enough to figure him out.  Most everyone is beneath him.  He has such wealth and holds such power, though he is not a large/muscular or youthful man.  His weapon is his wit, which he yields in his column.  He can make or break a person, and has no qualms about the latter.

 

Waldo’s narration - “another of those detectives.”  He says it cringingly and with contempt, as if he were holding out a dirty, smelly sock at arm’s length, and with the very tips of his fingers.  Funny how it is the rich, high-class, well-educated, older and distinguished-looking man who turns out to be the lowlife, while “another of those detectives” who considers women dolls or dames, the guy who looks like he might be a gangster, is our hero.  But then, McPherson had never met Laura, and Laura is what makes this detective not just another “thinking machine.”  She makes him human, and real.  A poor, but honest cop who becomes so infatuated with his case victim that he finds himself wishing he had known her, and inevitably, he falls in love with her…  How could she not get inside his head!?  He eats, sleeps, breaths his case, surrounded by those who have nothing but her praises to sing, about how she was like no other in every way.  And there her portrait is, staring him in the face, haunting him… such a tragic romance.  But (spoiler alert) he does get his chance.  When Laura herself walks into the room, very much alive, hope walks into his life.  His tough exterior gentles because she is near, and she has that effect.  Could she love such a man with so little to offer, except himself?  Or is that not exactly what she wants? 

 

Such great entertainment!      

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I am a big fan of the first introduction of any actor that becomes a formative presence in cinema. Omar Sharif is a prime example for how he was introduced in Lawrence of Arabia (what an incredible, drawn out, stunning moment). I think of the introduction of Clifton Webb to film audiences in the same way. We hear his voice before we see him. And it is a voice that will ultimately define him, not only in the character he portrays in the film Laura, but as an on screen persona in general (and by all accounts, off screen as well). His voice is as refined and particular as his personality and physical presence. There is no doubt what we as an audience should expect to see, and we are not disappointed. Clifton Webb is one of those rarities, one who sounds exactly as they appear, an onomatopoeic human.

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I like how the objects are used in this introduction... Masks and Mirrors, precious objects, statues and, of course, a portrait...

 

We see Mc Pherson examine inquisitively Lydecker's belongings, but there's also some kind of envy. He seems admirative of the latter's good taste and rich furnishings.

 

In a way, his opening the glass showcase to take Lydecker's glass vial into his hands could be a warning of things to come, like an introduction to the ulterior stakes of the movie. In this light, maybe Lydecker's most beautiful piece of art could be Laura herself, in which case, McPherson might be tempted, as we just saw him do in the introduction, to take her into his hands, and Lydecker would speak (or act) to protect his « valuable property ». Hints to this interpretation could come from the voice over signalling to us how the clock McPherson was initially staring at is associated to Laura, just before he opens the glass door.

"I noted that his attention was fixed upon my clock. There was only one other in existence, and that was in Laura's apartment, in the very room where she was murdered."

 

Another interesting point is how, thanks to the « voice over » effect, Lydecker seems to be all-knowing. After all, we are in his story...

So when he speaks to Mc Pherson, we are not really surprised (the voice just explained how he could see Mc Pherson in his living room from the bathroom). However, the door to the bathroom is half-closed, and it’s quite unlikely Lydecker could really watch the detective from his bathtub. Also, his voice was not dimmed, as it should have if coming from a distance or behind doors...

So either we accept the implicit « fantastic » suggestion (the portrait of Laura will add to this side of the story), that Lydecker could watch Mc Pherson and speak to him as an omnipresent character, or we could think that he had to run to his bathtub (the first exposition shot by Preminger is not cut, so it reveals the distance from the door to the tub), to make an impression.

 
 

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We begin with the statue, a virtuous symbol of religion and superstition and hear the continuous tick of the clock. The room filled with tribal masks and mirrors, mirrors that show us what we want to see any reflect all that we don't. That slow, steady narration envelops us as the pendulum slowly sways in the Grandfather clock. The tick, a reminder of time that has passed and of uncertain futures is the heartbeat of the room, a signal of life and death, past and future. The gentle motion of the camera - low and steady - as it gently tracks through the room until we reach the detective. The room is full of wood, opulence, wealth and excess. It screams of greed and money. 

 

Lydecker in the bath - both eccentric and shifty - who has switched his interests to murder. Stories have been changed, lies have been told, but by who? Who is to be believed? Who can we trust? Who is Laura? 

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