Laura (1944 film)


Laura (1944 film)

Infobox_Film
name = Laura



caption = Theatrical Poster
director = Otto Preminger
writer = Novel:
Vera Caspary
Screenplay:
Jay Dratler
Samuel Hoffenstein
Elizabeth Reinhardt
starring = Gene Tierney
Dana Andrews
Clifton Webb
Vincent Price
Judith Anderson
producer = Otto Preminger
music = David Raksin
cinematography = Joseph LaShelle
editing = Louis R. Loeffler
distributor = Twentieth Century Fox
released = October 11, 1944
runtime = 88 minutes
country = United States
language = English
amg_id = 1:28479
imdb_id = 0037008|

"Laura" (1944) is a American Academy Award-winning film noir directed by Otto Preminger and starring Gene Tierney as Laura, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson.

The movie was based on Vera Caspary's "Laura", a popular 1943 detective novel, and it was adapted for the screen by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Elizabeth Reinhardt and Ring Lardner Jr. (uncredited). The film's first director, Rouben Mamoulian, was fired early in the film's shooting due to creative differences with studio head Darryl F. Zanuck.

Plot

New York police detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the murder of a beautiful advertising director named Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). He interviews acerbic newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), who relates how he met Laura. Lydecker became her mentor and used his considerable influence and fame to advance her career. McPherson also questions Laura's fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), her wealthy aunt, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson), and Laura's loyal housekeeper, Bessie Clary (Dorothy Adams).

Through the testimony of her friends and the reading of her letters, McPherson comes to know Laura and slowly falls in love with her. He becomes obsessed -- using the excuse of trying to solve the murder, he hangs around her apartment and is at one point accused by Lydecker of falling in love with a dead woman.

One night, he falls asleep under her portrait. He is awakened by the sound of someone entering the apartment. It is Laura. After recovering from the shock, McPherson determines that the murder victim was actually Diane Redfern, a model Laura had allowed to stay in her apartment.

McPherson is pleased to discover that Laura is as lovable as he had imagined. Now it becomes even more urgent to unmask the murderer. He suspects that Lydecker is also in love with her and that he fatally mistook Redfern for her in his determination to keep her to himself. McPherson warns Laura not to let anybody in after he leaves, but Lydecker gets in anyway. Lydecker is about to kill Laura when McPherson returns just in time.

Cast

* Gene Tierney as Laura Hunt
* Dana Andrews as Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson
* Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker. The character appears to be based on columnist, broadcaster and "New Yorker" theater critic Alexander Woollcott, a famous wit who, like Waldo, was fascinated by murder (and who died in early 1943). Woollcott always dined at the Algonquin Hotel, where Laura first approaches Lydecker, and had a habit of typing in his bathtub, as does Lydecker.
* Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter
* Judith Anderson as Ann Treadwell

Production

Otto Preminger's original idea for the film score was to use Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady." David Raksin later composed the familiar score for "Laura" over the course of a weekend, after being inspired by a Dear John letter he received from his wife. The theme from "Laura" was adapted by Johnny Mercer (who wrote the lyrics), Dick Haymes, Woody Herman and Frank Sinatra, all of whom had hits. It has been recorded by various artists over four hundred times.

The famous portrait of Laura was in fact a photograph that the studio lightly brushed with paint. It was reused in the color film "On the Riviera".

Awards

Academy Award win

* Best Black-and-White Cinematography, Joseph LaShelle

Academy Award nominations

* Supporting Actor, Clifton Webb
* Director, Otto Preminger
* Writing Adapted Screenplay, Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Elizabeth Reinhardt
* Black-and-White Art Direction-Interior Decoration, Lyle R. Wheeler Leland Fuller, and Thomas Little

Other honors

In 1999, "Laura" was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"—the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. "Laura" was acknowledged as the fourth best film in the mystery genre. [cite news | publisher = American Film Institute | title = AFI's 10 Top 10 | date = 2008-06-17 | url = http://www.afi.com/10top10/mystery.html | accessdate=2008-06-18]

References

External links

* [http://www.filmsite.org/laur.html "Laura"] at Filmsite.org by Tim Dirks; contains plot details.
* [http://marcautret.free.fr/babel/cinemap/laura44/ "Laura"] French review by Marc Autret fr icon.
* [http://www.jazzstandards.com/compositions-0/laura.htm Information about the song] .


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