Laura. 1944. USA. Directed by Otto Preminger. 88 min.
Screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Betty Reinhardt, based on the novel by Vera Caspary. With Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price. One of the most enduring entries in the noir canon, Preminger’s film is a stirring portrait of erotic fascination and an expertly choreographed whodunnit, replete with narrative twists, reversals, and red herrings. Gumshoe Mark McPherson is investigating the recent murder of the eponymous Laura, and everyone’s a suspect, from her aunt to her fiancé to her fey, acid-tongued admirer (Clifton Webb, in a particularly memorable performance). During the production of Shutter Island, Martin Scorsese chose to screen Laura for the cast and crew. “I wanted to show how Dana Andrews moved,” the filmmaker recalled. “He’s a detective, come out of the war. He’s a beaten man. He doesn’t look anybody in the eye when he speaks. In a sense, he’s got all of film noir on his shoulders. Then he falls in love with a ghost.” Digital restoration courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.