Before we meet her, Laura is painted as an enchantress: the living embodiment of fascination and desire. When we meet her, in the form of Gene Tierney's doe-eyed teeny bopper, she doesn't quite deliver the goods. Preminger sees her as a quietly pretty Dorian Gray but, in this genre, with all the men running rings around her, she needs to be more of a sly Lauren Bacall.
Laura is the central subject of the plot, but Tierney becomes faceless and forgotten in view of Clifton Webb's stiff, manipulative Waldo; the movie's real narrative agent. Even an un-moustachioed Vincent Price suppressing his signature drawl has more stage presence than poor little Laura.
The film's melodramatic plot is characterised by a peculiar air of carelessness, which only adds to the intrigue, and Preminger's picture is, in every which way, a smouldering slow-burner with bags of character. It's just a shame that the same can't be said for its miscast and mis-written leading lady.
Watched this on 06/06/15
Laura is a cat and mouse game at it's finest, utilizing a technique of making everyone the suspect. It has brisk pace and is extremely effective in making the audience question each and every single second. But however, it's small running time derives it of much of the necessary character development or emotional attachment. The biggest duds here are Laura and especially Det. McPherson who are extremely underutilized. The characters of Shelby and Ms Ann are well drawn and actor Vincent Price gives a convincing performance as Shelby. Clifton Webb also provides a nuanced performance.