Laura

Directed By

Film-NoirMysteryRomance /  / Oct 11, 1944 (New York)

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This silky smooth film noir pits gruff police detective Dana Andrews, stiff and blunt in his street-bred manners, against a cultured columnist and acidic wit (Clifton Webb at his prissiest) in a battle of wits during a murder investigation. The cop is a romantic hiding under a hard-boiled exterior who falls in love with the beautiful victim through the portrait that hangs in her apartment, when one lonely night he turns from the picture to see Laura walk through the door. It's not a ghost: both the cops and the killer mistook the mutilated corpse for the lady of the house. Gene Tierney, whose heart-shaped face mixes the exotic with the girl next door, brings the poise and calm of a model to her role as Laura, the object of every man's gaze and the target of a killer that missed once but is bound to try again. Laura, handsomely shot in dreamy black and white, is the first and best of Otto Preminger's cool, controlled murder mysteries. In the gritty world of film noir it remains the most refined and elegant example of the genre, but under the tasteful decor and high-society fashions lies a world seething in jealousy, passion, blackmail, and murder. Vincent Price costars as a blithe gigolo and David Raksin's lush theme has become a wistful romantic standard.

Laura won 1 Oscar at the
1945 Academy Awards