Laura - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Laura Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 24, 2013
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.
Super Reviewer
August 8, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2007
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!
Super Reviewer
½ June 13, 2011
Otto Preminger's zippy little noir is a really engaging film. It probably features the best examples of the film noir sensibility, yes, even more so than "The Maltese Falcon" or "Double Indemnity." The entire narrative is so alive and so 'new' that the film feels like it could be released today. The acting is first rate and the directing and writing is stylish and sparkling. This is a very interesting film about the politics and hate between men and women. If you are any real fan of 1940s cinema, "Laura" is an absolute must.
Mr Awesome
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2011
Director Otto Preminger weaves quite a spell in the 90 minutes it takes to tell the story of Laura, a murder mystery of the classic forties "noir" variety. The film follows Detective Mark McPherson as he goes about questioning the suspects in the murder of Laura Hunt, an upwardly mobile business woman who ran around with snotty socialites and the intellectually elite. McPherson leaves no stone unturned, going down through the list of parasites in her life. No one has any reason for killing Laura, and yet everyone seems guilty of something, especially her overly sensitive, leading man-type fiance, Shelby (Vincent Price). Leading the charge against Shelby is Laura's friend and patron Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), a columnist laboring under the notion that his words are mighty enough to make or break anyone. He's a viciously clever intellectual whose only soft spot is his affection for Laura. As McPherson uncovers more and more facts, he develops feelings for the dead woman, fueling his desire to discover the truth. It's getting to that truth that makes "Laura" so fun to watch: the story is so deftly told it's never obvious what the solution to the mystery is. Following detective McPherson around as he pieces together the crime, we form our own deductions, and those deductions speak volumes about the kinds of people we are.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2010
Laura is a film that exists in a class by itself. A genuine classic -- not only of Film Noir, but of film, period. Otto Preminger, who took over directorial duties after Rouben Mamoulian left the project (possibly signifying the luckiest day of his life), directs this adaptation of Vera Caspary's novel with a lathering of murder-mystery and a heavy dollop of kinkiness, beginning with the fact that its hero may well be a necrophiliac. Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is sent to investigate when a beautiful woman named Laura (Gene Tierney) appears to have been brutally murdered, the victim of a shotgun blast to the face. As McPherson rounds up the unusual suspects -- Laura's cynical mentor (a MASTERFUL Clifton Webb), her leechlike fiancé (a young Vincent Price, also excellent) and her duplicitous aunt (Judith Anderson) -- he discovers that he's slowly falling in love with a corpse. Channeling Hitchcock's Vertigo as a study of unhealthy obsession and the male desire to harness the feminine mystique -- and throwing in a measure of class warfare to boot -- Laura owes a sizable debt to both cinematographer Joseph LaShelle, whose black-and-white lensing earned him an Oscar, and composer David Raksin, whose score still reigns as one of cinema's finest. In fact, the music very much suits the occasion: Like the film itself, it's lush, dreamy and an invitation to wallow in the decadence. Nothing is as it appears, no one is normal. Do yourself a favor: sit back and enjoy the acerbic wit of Webb and Price, wonder at the necrophiliac mooning of Andrews and revel in Tierney's beauty -- all swooningly accompanied by Raksin's great score. It is the sleekest of murder mysteries, and ahead of its time in many ways.
Super Reviewer
February 20, 2011
I was apprehensive to watch this film at first. Noir, a subject I am no expert in, is a sacred cow for many students of film. This film in particular, a holy grail to those students. While I love the morally ambiguous characters, the brilliant shadow play, and the sinister nature of humanity that these films display, I feared that maybe I would not understand all that this film has meant to it's many fanatical fans.
I however, was so very wrong.
From the moment Dana Andrews appears on the screen the film was absolutely engrossing. Not only does Preminger cull incredible performances out of these actors whom I had never seen before, save Price, the way he crafts a scene is mesmerizing. This murder mystery touches on obsession & class warfare and features a cast of unforgettable characters who spend their time casting shadows on one another other, literally and metaphorically. This film deserves every bit of praise that it receives and I am very excited about the subsequent viewings that are sure to come.
Super Reviewer
July 5, 2009
What is wrong with me!?!? The more films I see the more disappointed I am when I get around to seeing a "classic". They almost never live up to their reputation. This one is no exception. I've tried for years to see this, and now that I

Not that it isn't a good movie. It is. It's jjust not what I expected, which was a psychological story of the obsession of a man with a portrait of a dead woman. Yeah, that's technically part of the plot line, but it was so subtle that I wouldn't have known it existed if one of the characters hadn't pointed it out. And then the story took a completely different direction. That was not necessarily a bad thing, but even then the twist wasn't resolved to my satisfaction.

I have been known to turn my nose up at a classic, only for it to grow on me as the years pass. (Shadow of a Doubt being a good example). Maybe this will do the same. But for now I have to class this an OK murder mystery, nothing more.
Super Reviewer
½ December 19, 2010
This was a let down for me. I was expecting it to be a masterpiece considering its rating 8.2/10 on IMDb. I don't mind minor plot-holes, but this one includes a plot-hole so big that a giant can walk through it. However, I enjoyed the witty dialogues in the movie.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
This is a really cool movie with a very interesting mystery, a really good film noir. Plus, the actors are great: Tiereny, Andrews, and Price too.
Super Reviewer
January 13, 2009
Plotted meticulously and by the numbers, Laura is a textbook example of classic 1940's film noir. This dialog driven murder mystery is more notable for its outstanding casting than its slightly formulaic script.

I'm a tremendous fan of Gene Tierney, overbite and all, and she's absolutely wonderful in the title role, but it's a little difficult to write about her performance without giving away elements of the plot that would spoil the ending for those who have not yet seen the film. Suffice it to say that the intangible darkness that one occasionally glimpses behind those beautiful eyes plays perfectly into the psyche of her character.

Was there ever a role that Vincent Price could not master? He has played everything from villainous heavies to reluctant heroes. Here in Laura he is Tierney's love interest and a prime suspect in her murder. Even though his part is one of an unscrupulous, unsympathetic leech, he still carries an aura of utter likability that is crucial to making Laura's attraction believable. There just aren't a great many actors who could have pulled that off and yet Vincent does it with ease.

And how about the talented Clifton Webb as the snobbish and possessive columnist Waldo Lydecker? His character reminds me of the cantankerous Dr. Smith from the old TV series "Lost in Space". He's rude, condescending, and spends a considerable amount of his screen time sitting in the bathtub. It is hard to imagine this role being played by anyone else.

Combine the aforementioned with genre staples like Dana Andrews and Judith Anderson and the result is a film worthy of its stature as a noir classic.
Super Reviewer
½ October 7, 2008
This may have been called 'Laura' but Clifton Webb steals every scene he's in.

"I should be sincerely sorry to see my neighbor's children devoured by wolves."
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2007
Gene Tierney is Laura, an angel immortalized in a portrait, who enthralled the soul of three men, and my humble self as well. David Raksin's beautiful and haunting score and the utmost exactness of skill, both in screenplay and direction take this film up high as an enchanting love story and as a dark and complex mystery. Now I know why Otto Preminger, allegedly, destroyed all of the original director Rouben Mamoulian's footage. Another pinnacle of noir, and an obvious precursor, along with Luis Buñuel's Él, of my favorite film, Vertigo.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2008
Superb film noir with plenty of suprises in store. Dana Andrews is fantastic as the detective who falls for a murder victim. He has the right amount of bad ass copness and genuinely thoughtful romantic. Price is wonderful as ever and really accesses his unique creepy charm. It's wonderfully paced and a joy to sit through with an ending that is perfectly worked and not condescending in the slightest.
Super Reviewer
November 15, 2007
one of the best romanticized noir pieces which foundamentalizes gene tierney's cinema status and a smooth vehicle to emit her allure of mystica. it's a story about socialite laura hunt who tantalizes all the men's covetously yearning eyes but unwisely she falls for the frivilously worhless playboy that almost detonates her catastrophic doom. there's an obsessive admirer with exuberantly murderous drive and also a persistent detective heroic copper. further, it's ambushed with a twist which is not un-pleasant at all.

the best strategy applied in this flick is its abscence of lauren hunt in the first half, and you glimpse over her while other people babblingly talk about her, your mind is guided into seeking some remnant fragrance of this deceased lovely creature. if dana andrews' copper is a necrophilia who fancies the demised lauren hunt, so are the viewers in front of silver admire her well-porportioned facial contour and her glaringly demure wardrobe which just seems so perfectly agreeable on her, and every smile of hers sublimates you into an unknown heavenly bliss.

unlike the most noir pieces which tend to taut audience's crave for the femme fatale by enlongating the hero's anguished hunger, "laura" gratifies your secret wish by resurrecting laura hunt at its pinnacle of cynicism: while the copper stares into her portrait with agonized desire, and a cup of whiskey over his hand to mourn for his crush, with an annoying bystander commenting "i don't think i have a patient to fall in love with a corpse." just as he almost worsens into irrevocable bitterness, laura walks into the doorgate to salve him with her re-incarnation into life to grant his romantic wish.

another clever strategy about the story is that laura hunt is never aware of the perils of her charm, and she's oblivious to her surroudings...she just gleams with the ease of her natural glamour without any deliberated trial. she even sympathesizes her attempted murderer with an redeeming mercy. it's more of a romantic story of fatal obsessions and un-requited love. clift webb gives good portrait of a poignant lonesome man who is boiled with un-fulfilled desire for love. and there's finally a flick to provide judith anderson with a chance to present her glamourized self with elegant wardrobe, and as usual she gives good performance as a nymphomaniac aging socialite who loves vincent price's playboy role. dana andrews is in the right niche of his machismo. as for vincent price, he's barely passable as the playboy with his contrived trial to deliver any glossy charm which doesn't really work.

something worthy of a mention, there's some greek shock-cinema called "singapore slang" trying to pay its hommage to "laura" by recycling the plots of the same name, the same symbolic portrait, the same theme melody with extreme dose of perverseness by savoring it with necrophilia, bondage, sadism & maschoism, and vommiting intercourse(yuck!)'s weird enough to take a look at it...but if you wanna have a cozy day relaxing on the couch, leave it alone!!! it's morbidly sickening to the actual literariness.

in a nutshell, "laura" is the mostly romantic film noir ever made with feminine rosy dreaminess tuned well with masculine chivalry in a gruesome murder case.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2007
Really good noir. Worth it just to see Vincent Price without a mustache
Super Reviewer
½ September 24, 2007
Appropriate eerie and mysterious for a film-noir, but I felt something was lacking. The story wasn't cohesive enough and at times the actors didn't convince me - particularly Clifton Webb, whom I find overrated. Also I think it's hilarious that the main woman's name is Gene and the main man's name is Dana, rather than the other way around.
Super Reviewer
June 20, 2007
The beautiful Gene Tierney plays the kind of girl every man can't help but fall in love with,unknowingly inspiring lust, jealousy and obsession in all around her with tragic consequences. One the the classic noirs from Otto Preminger, this film is rather more romantic and less cynical than most as well as an exercise in cinematic economy. Not one scene, not one line is wasted, which in the current climate of lumbering 3 hour ego trips is hugely refreshing. It also has some fantastic dialogue, particularly from Clifton Webb's witty intellectual yet bitter columnist. Vincent Price's turn as a self-centred playboy does not entirely convince, but this is the only real weak point of note; otherwise it will keep you guessing til the end.
Super Reviewer
½ April 24, 2007
Mark McPherson: Yeah, dames are always pulling a switch on you.

This is a cool, short little noir about a detective investigating the murder of the title character Laura, who is portrayed as a sort of dream character for the many who knew or were involved with her.

The lead character would be the detective played by Dana Andrews, but it is clearly Vincent Price and Clifton Webb who steal the show.

They are both in love with Laura, but hate one another and have all the best lines in the film, namely Webb, who does a great job as an elderly gentleman, well respected, and very witty. Price is also interesting however as the man who knows "a little bit about everything", in a role different from the ones he normally does in his horror movies.

Mark McPherson: I must say, for a charming, intelligent girl, you certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.

Gene Tierney plays Laura, playing her as an innocent who is beautiful, and that is all that is pretty much required.

The movie has a few good twists, the plot is involving enough, but the end is where things actually become successful. Like most Noirs, the payoff is very effective and well done.

Mark McPherson: When a dame gets killed, she doesn't worry about how she looks.
Waldo Lydecker: Will you stop calling her a dame!
Super Reviewer
½ October 31, 2006
One of the best film noir movies EVER. Definitely not a bad place to start if you're looking to get into noir.
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