60/60 Extra: Laura.

I was disappointed that I accidentally spoiled this movie for myself. While looking for "Extra" films for this month, I came across Laura... and a brief synopsis that spoiled it in the first sentence. Regardless, it still sounded really good, so I put it on the list. But was it worth it? Laura tells the story of Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews) who has taken charge of the murder case of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). Immediately a man named Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) decides to tag along, and he brings up Laura's connection with another man named Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). Together they try to figure out who killed Laura... until something big twists everything around.

I think the sign of a good mystery is that, even if you know the twist, you're still engaged. And in this case... that held true. For this film, there are really two twists. There's one that happens about halfway through (the big one that was spoiled for me) and the whodunit at the end. While I didn't know the whodunit, there is a very limited cast in the movie, and it could only be a few people. Thankfully, it kept me guess. Was it this person? That person? More than just one person? Why did it even happen? And you find out and it's so simple.

The acting was good for the most part. It started getting strangely melodramatic near the end, a trait the movie hadn't had for the majority of the time. Vincent Price looked so much younger than he typically does in other things I've seen him in--to the point it took me over half the movie to realize it was him (despite seeing his name in the opening credits). But the main person I'd like to talk about is Dana Andrews as the detective. He's a cool, somewhat smooth jackass who--at times--was really fun to watch. However, he really walked that line between cool cat and completely dull. His voice bordered monotone and uninterested. It was never enough to fully distract me, as he bounced back and forth between the two.

But then there's the big thing about the film that I heard a lot in looking up about this film: the detective falls for the dead woman he's investigating. To be honest, I didn't really see it besides one obvious scene. Otherwise, I saw maybe some infatuation with her looks, but most of it was obsession over solving the case and what happened. This isn't really an accusation of the film itself as much as to those who reference the film and say that this is a major part of the story. Maybe I just missed something.

Strangely, the film won a Best Cinematography Oscar, but I didn't notice any super fantastic cinematography. It just seemed normal. Though maybe it was a "of the time" kind of thing. It was, however, nominated for other things, as well... including writing, which I think would have been more deserving. Though I honestly can't say I've seen (or heard of) the other films from that year (1944), especially the two films that seemed to sweep the awards that year: Wilson and Going My Way. But the writing was rather solid, and I enjoyed quite a bit of the back-and-forth dialogue between the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed the film quite a bit. I find, however, that it's one of those films I enjoyed more as I watched it than as I go back and think about it. And regardless of liking it even while knowing the big twist, I think I would have liked it even more had I not. So really, if you're a fan of detective stories and/or murder mysteries, I'd say give it a go. It's a really entertaining ride, and I for one wouldn't mind seeing it again.

A Keanu 'Whoa'


  1. I enjoyed it a lot because I didn't expect the twist. Good to hear it still holds up when you know it going in.

    I thought it was fairly obvious the detective was falling in love with her, especially in the second half of the film.

    You should go read my crazy interpretation of the film:


  2. I still don't see the falling in love thing, at least not explicitly. I agree it's more obvious in the second half of the film, but still not all that strong to me. I just felt that he was more obsessed with the crime.


    I just read your review, and I will say that the whole "dream" thing did also cross my mind, as well. I was also trying to figure out the significance of the shattered clock shot at the end, and I like your interpretation, assuming the dream thing is true. But who knows?


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