Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Laura (1944)

Several weeks ago I picked up Laura and watched about two thirds of it before it failed. I tried cleaning it without success. It wasn't due yet, but I took it back to the library hoping they could quickly run it through their cleaning machine. There was a hold on it, so instead they checked it in. The library itself had placed the hold for the purpose of maintenance. I went out of my way to select a different copy to request. Several weeks later, it arrived. I'm certain it was the exact same copy. Not flawless, but I watched it uninterrupted, with my youngest son.

Laura (Gene Tierney) is dead. Murdered in her own apartment. Dana Andrews is Detective Mark McPherson. He first interviews fussy newspaper writer Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and learns a little about Laura. The two then visit Laura's would-be fiancee, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) who is staying with Laura's aunt (nudge nudge, wink wink). Waldo does not like Shelby.

Through the investigation we learn that Laura was a singular individual. Beautiful, charming, talented, kind, she had it all. We wonder who could want to kill her while we learn that each suspect has a possible motive. Then, the story twists, making us reevaluate all we have learned.

Wittier than expected dialog, great acting, and a top notch story, it's hard to find fault with Laura. Webb's Waldo in particular has some great lines:
"I don't use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom."
"In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention."
"It's lavish, but I call it home."
"I should be sincerely sorry to see my neighbor's children devoured by wolves."

Price, too has some great ones:
"I don't know a lot about anything, but I know a little about practically everything."
"I can afford a blemish on my character, but not on my clothes."
The Providence Library will be showing Laura later in the month and had this disk failed, that's where I would have been. In fact, I may still. Laura was awesome. AMRU 4.5.

Gene Tierney was hot.

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