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Laura (1944)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 58 | Rotten: 0

A psychologically complex portrait of obsession, Laura is also a deliciously well-crafted murder mystery.

100

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 0

A psychologically complex portrait of obsession, Laura is also a deliciously well-crafted murder mystery.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 9,387

My Rating

Movie Info

This adaptation of Vera Caspary's suspense novel was begun by director Rouben Mamoulien and cinematographer Lucien Ballard, but thanks to a complex series of backstage intrigues and hostilities, the film was ultimately credited to director Otto Preminger and cameraman Joseph LaShelle (who won an Oscar for his efforts). At the outset of the film, it is established that the title character, Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), has been murdered. Tough New York detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews)

Mar 15, 2005

20th Century Fox

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All Critics (59) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (58) | Rotten (0) | DVD (22)

Few movies make you feel dirtier, and so perversely grateful for the pleasure.

December 20, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A highly polished and debonair whodunit.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Less a crime film than a study in levels of obsession, Laura is one of those classic works that leave their subject matter behind and live on the strength of their seductive style.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A hypnotic and deathlessly interpretable experience.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Gene Tierney makes an appealing figure as the art executive and Vincent Price is convincing as a weak-willed ne'er-do-well.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The plot is deliberately perfunctory, the people deliciously perverse, and the mise-en-scène radical.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A feverish trance wrapped in a deadpan investigation

July 15, 2013 Full Review Source: CinePassion
CinePassion

Preminger deals in facades, with how perception cheats us, right down to the ideal image of Laura as a portrait. (Cinémathèque Annotations on Film)

March 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

Masterpiece: with time, Preminger's second film has become richer in texture and deeper, more ambiguous in meaning than most noirs of the 1940s.

April 25, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Preminger made darker, more characteristically noir films than this, but his only movie that's as good, or perhaps better, is Anatomy of a Murder.

February 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Will leave you drunk with delight.

February 24, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The dialogue is stinging and the performances to be savoured in a haunting study of romantic obsession that deserves its return to the big screen.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Laura is still every bit as gripping in 2012.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

A thrilling, absorbing and original example of the genre; it's also beautifully shot, pure escapist entertainment.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Not only one of Preminger's greatest, but one of the great noirs.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

OK, the plot verges on absurdity - but who cares?

February 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This interesting film noir has more working for its final half than in its first.

August 16, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

Expertly paced, gripping, and dripping with sensuality, Otto Preminger's Laura has hardly aged a day.

February 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

O roteiro é, na melhor das hipóteses, medíocre, mas a direção sombria de Preminger, a música-tema e as atuações de Webb e Price transformam este filme em um marco importante do nascente noir.

February 29, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Great suspense.

December 1, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

It is the sleekest of murder mysteries, and ahead of its time -- not least in having a gay suitor for Laura, and possibly two.

October 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for Laura

The presumed death of a woman spurs a detective's investigation of her life and his slowly burning affection for the victim.
A classic noir story shot in the brilliant shadows of forties noir cinematography with all the snappy dialogue that we come to expect of the genre, Laura is fun to watch. The actors' rapid fire delivery presents quick wits, and I always like how fast these films move. The story is as circuitous as The Third Man, but Laura is clearly not as strong because the relationship between McPherson and Laura is not as well developed as The Third Man and a greater mystique is built around Orson Welles's character; regardless, to be mentioned in the same breath as The Third Man is an achievement.
Overall, if you like noir films, then this one delivers.
September 24, 2013
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

One of the most classic and iconic of film noirs, "Laura" is oftentimes seen as much as a voyeuristic and tranquil love story as a thriller. This comes from Detective Mark McPherson's (Andrews) infatuation with a portrait of the deceased that hangs in her own apartment. Though there isn't any declaration of love or perverted intentions, there is a subtle and brave performance from Andrews. The woman who is murdered is named Laura, and the social world that revolves around her is explored in depth as much as her life. She rises through the advertising world and finds herself on the arm of the effeminate and lavish Waldo Lydecker (Webb). Detective McPherson shifts though her world and her beaus in order to find her killer, but in a weird twist it becomes a case of cat and mouse as they wait out the next victim. This film is made up of iconic performances from Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews, and a very young and wet behind the ears Vincent Price. It's a very chilling and well-paced thriller that not only builds suspense with a well-chosen villain, a thoroughly invigorating plot, supporting characters that are both interesting and significant to the story. These characters are mostly seen through the scope of the detective, the everyman and slight gumshoe. They're elitist and cultured, especially when it comes to the very talented and distinguished Lydecker, and the group's opinions of the case and the sweet Laura are oftentimes candid and yet regal. Laura herself is an enigmatic and keen creature that is portrayed well by Gene Tierney and though beloved by the men around her, she is not shown as a slinky sex kitten nor a glowing goddess, but a humble and yet spunky reporter turned socialite. Every character, every performance proves that this film is about the actors, and they make this film beyond enjoyable.
June 22, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Really, there's one word in the film-making vocabulary that explains this movie: pacing. Among the founding texts of the noir genre with crackling dialogue and a winding plot, the story's complemented by the steady Dana Andrews and the enchanting Gene Tierney in the title role. You'll be guessing until the end, and it's a roller-coaster the whole way. A can't-miss classic!
March 6, 2013
danperry17

Super Reviewer

    1. Waldo Lydecker: Goodbye, Laura. Goodbye... my Love.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
    1. Ann Treadwell: Shelby's better for me.
    2. Laura Hunt: Why?
    3. Ann Treadwell: Cause I can afford him, and understand him. He's no good but he's what I want. I'm not a nice person Laura, and neither is he. He knows I know he's - just what he is. He also knows that I don't care. We belong together because we're both weak and can't seem to help it. That's why I know he's capable of murder; he's like me.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
    1. Shelby Carpenter: I've spent very little time in observing my own character, Mr. McPherson.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
    1. Shelby Carpenter: But Lieutenant I don't understand. You sent for me didn't you?
    2. Mark McPherson: Yeah.
    3. Shelby Carpenter: Well don't you want to see me? Don't you want to ask me some questions?
    4. Mark McPherson: I'll be seeing you.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
    1. Shelby Carpenter: I knew there was something on my mind. What is it? Oh yes, will you dine with me tomorrow night?
    2. Laura Hunt: Maybe.
    3. Shelby Carpenter: No, that isn't what's worrying me. It's the next night.
    4. Laura Hunt: But Shelby, I can't....
    5. Shelby Carpenter: Good. And what about three weeks from tonight? And all the nights in between?
    6. Laura Hunt: Don't you think I have any other engagements?
    7. Shelby Carpenter: What about two months from now and the month after that?
    8. Laura Hunt: What about next year?
    9. Shelby Carpenter: That's all settled. What about breakfast?
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
    1. Waldo Lydecker: You seem to be completely disregarding something more important than your career: my lunch.
    2. Laura Hunt: Do you really believe that?
    3. Waldo Lydecker: Implicitly.
    4. Laura Hunt: I never heard of anything so selfish.
    5. Waldo Lydecker: In my case, self absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.
    6. Laura Hunt: But, you write about people with such - real understanding and sentiment. That's what makes your columns so good.
    7. Waldo Lydecker: The sentiment comes easy at fifty cents a word.
    8. Laura Hunt: If that's the way you really feel - you must be very lonely.
    9. Waldo Lydecker: Will you kindly continue this character analysis elsewhere? You begin to bore me.
    – Submitted by Christopher B (12 months ago)
View all quotes (14)

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Foreign Titles

  • Laura (1944) (DE)
  • Laura (UK)
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