Starring: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Director: Otto Preminger
While investigating the murder of Laura, the detective in charge finds himself falling under the dead woman’s spell, but all is not what it seems.
Everyone is in love with Laura (Tierney) who sparkles and shines in the memories of those who loved and have now lost her, as they tell their stories to the investigating detective (Andrews). Two men who have vied for her affection, cad Shelby (Price) and obsessive Lydecker (Webb), and both are prime suspects, but did they do it? Or is there an even more dangerous game going on?
It’s a film with twists and turns, and Tierney is fascinating as the light that draws the characters to her like moths. Webb as Lydecker is truly wicked, with his obsession with creating Laura in his image of her, and trying to pull her into his web, not caring is he hurts her in the process. It’s also delightful to see a very young Price before his roles in Hammer Horror films, and he’s delightful as a young playboy.
For those of you who haven’t seen this film, I don’t want to say too much, but there’s such a great twist in this film that I really love. It’s a masterful plot and one that will keep you guessing.
Not many years after this film was made, Tierney was diagnosed with mental illness, and put into an asylum, which used shock therapy to try to cure her. Though she almost escaped once, she was taken back, and the cruelty of her treatment and therapy there made her an outspoken advocate of ending shock therapy and changing mental health practices and stigmas. However, her career as a big star was over, though she did manage to secure roles later in life. She’s a tragic and beautiful figure on the landscape of classic Hollywood, and one worth reading up on if you like Hollywood history.
See It If: Classic movie lovers, those who love an intrigue, or film noir aficionados have to add this film to their watch list.