Twentieth Century Fox Released 1944


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Movie Summary

Otto Preminger
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Laura is a classic 1944 film noir directed by Otto Preminger. Beautiful New York socialite Laura Hunt is - seemingly - murdered in her apartment by a point blank shotgun blast to the head. Called in to investigate, hard-nosed cop Mark Macpherson finds plenty of suspects, including the famous broadcaster and columnist Waldo Lydecker, the man who discovered Laura working for an ad agency, transformed her looks and introduced her into high society. Other suspects include Shelby Carpenter, engaged to Laura, and Ann Treadwell, Laura's aunt (and, as Macpherson discovers, also Shelby's lover). As Lt. Macpherson contemplates these unsavoury characters - and also the large portrait of Laura above her fireplace - he begins to fall in love with the dead woman, or at least his idea of her. But then Laura walks in, very much alive...


Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Otto Preminger credited the enthusiasm shown by newspaper columnist Walter Winchell for the film with changing studio boss Darryl Zanuck's mind about re-editing it to make it more conventional.

    • The film was, during production, regarded as a very minor project by the top brass at Twentieth Century Fox, and Alfred Newman, the head of the studio's music department and the composer of the music for most of Fox's prestige pictures of the era, declined to work on it, farming out the assignment to a newcomer to the studio, David Raksin, who had had no important film jobs previously. Raksin's main theme for the film became one of the most famous pieces of film music in history and recordings of it were still making him money at the time of his death, decades later.

    • Although Ring Lardner Jr. was a top screenwriter at Twentieth Century Fox and is known to have made a very considerable contribution to the script of this film - writing all the dialogue for the Clifton Webb character - he was uncredited on the film itself.

    • Otto Preminger began this film simply as its producer, with Rouben Mamoulian directing. There were quarrels between the two men from the outset, and Mamoulian insisted on script changes which Preminger opposed. Eventually, Mamoulian left the project and Preminger took over, retaining none of the footage already shot. It was the first great success of his career.

  • QUOTES (8)

  • NOTES (2)

    • There was a television remake of this film in the mid-1950s, which crammed the story into only about 45 minutes. It had a brief cinema release in the UK. Geroge Sanders played Waldo Lydecker, Robert Stack played Mark Macpherson and Dana Wynter was introduced to American audiences in the role of Laura. It was generally held to be grossly inferior to the film. However, a decade or so later, there was another television version in which Sanders and Stack repeated their roles.

    • The character of Waldo Lydecker is, in Vera Caspary's novel, a transparent caricature of the famous broadcaster and journalist Alexander Woollcott, who had died only a few months before the book was published. This film was originally conceived by studio chief Darryl Zanuck as a star vehicle for Laird Cregar in the role of Lydecker, but director Otto Preminger wanted to cast Broadway star Clifton Webb, who had not made a film since the silent days. Cregar fitted the description of the character in the novel rather better than Webb, but Preminger had his way, and Webb became a movie star overnight, winning an Oscar nomination for his famous performance.


More Info About This Movie


Film Noir, Psychological, Love & Romance, Crime, Classics