I chose Laura as the inaugural movie review for this site because it is the first movie that I choose to show people when I want them to get into classic movies. It’s got it all!
Drama, mystery, and one of my favorite characters in a sarcastic character actor who is bound to make you chuckle more than once. Tell me this picture does make you want to know more.
We start the movie with Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is assigned to investigate the murder of Laura Hunt. Laura is an advertising executive and socialite in New York City. Laura’s career took off after securing the endorsement of notable columnist Waldo Lydecker who spends his time doting on Laura and ruining the reputation of her would-be suitors. Waldo’s cattiness isn’t enough to stop Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), a ne’er do well and smooth talking broke boy from getting engaged to Laura despite his fooling around with her aunt.
Yes, her aunt.
Everyone becomes a suspect as the movie paints a picture of Laura as smart, driven, understanding, and exceptionally beautiful but surrounded by a bunch of amoral hot messes. Lingering shots of the painting hanging over the fireplace of her home allow us to fall in love with the victim along with McPherson. After passing out in Laura’s apartment due to drinking some cheap bourbon, the movie’s plot takes off as a wrench is thrown into the investigation,
A key detail from the very beginning of the movie holds the key to this puzzle and the climax of the movie reveals the murderer, their intentions, and why Laura had to die.
Gene Tierney plays Laura beautifully in a stroke of perfect casting. She’s stunningly beautiful with a hint of WASP that makes her perfect as a socialite. Vincent Price as Shelby Carpenter is a complete slime ball from start to finish. But the real star of this movie is Clifton Webb as Waldo Lydecker. Clifton’s homosexuality had prevented him from attaining leading roles throughout his career but using his daintiness and venom formed from years of being a shady queen elevate Lydecker to a charming and kooky presence that you love to see every time he is on the screen. Seriously, that shot of him typing on a typewriter in a bathtub is ridiculous and I love it.
Laura is the perfect film to start anyone’s journey in watching classic movies. The pacing, suspense, and production are perfect. All the actors are perfectly cast and if you’re not quoting Waldo for the next few days after watching, you’re really not living life.
How I Watched:
I rented the movie through Youtube Movies for $2.99