Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Laura (1944)

Several twists and turns make this classic mystery unforgettable and for some, frustrating.

Successful ad executive Laura Hunt (Gene Tierny) is dead, shot at point blank range by a shotgun. Detective Mark MacPherson (Dana Andrews) has been assigned to investigate and soon finds himself faced with 4 suspects, including a venomous writer who was Laura's mentor/lover (Clifton Webb), Laura's cad of a fiance (Vincent Price), her aunt who is madly in love with her fiance (Judith Anderson) and Laura's loyal maid (Dorothy Adams). He soon finds that all of them loved Laura, and he too begins to fall in love with the memories of a dead woman through her letters and journals.

The film's cast is uniformly excellent, each one playing their character well enough to where we are always guessing as to what secrets they may have and the screenplay is witty and entertaining. The only real problem with the film is that the number is suspects is so limited, and they don't receive the same amount of screen time, so we don't really feel as if this is a full blown whodunit. Plus, there's one major twist that may turn people off to the film, it's not necessarily a bad twist, but it could possibly make some people throw up their hands in frustration.

Those two issues aside, Laura is a classic film mystery that features a great cast and a great script, which seems to be a common thread is famous film noirs. So I heartily recommend it. It's on Netflix Watch Now, so watch it while you can.

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