Copyright 1999-2000 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

3BlackChicks Enterprises™ "Guest Starring" movie commentary
Note: The views and opinions expressed in "Guest Starring" movie commentary are not necessarily the views of 3BlackChicks Enterprises™; commentary presented in original form as submitted by "Guest Star" commentator, except where noted otherwise; copyright belongs to respective authors.

The Detective Who Fell In Love With A Corpse: Laura (1944)

Review Copyright Roger Zotti, 2000


He's an experienced, often abrasive detective assigned to investigate the murder of a young woman identified as Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). Soon, Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) finds himself bewitched by and in love with the dead woman.

At the risk of giving away too much, though, suffice it to say that McPherson and the other characters are shocked out of their socks after what transpires one rainy night when McPherson, asleep in Laura's apartment, is awakened by...


In addition to the abrasive McPherson, the film features a cast of compelling characters, each of whom has a motive to murder Laura: Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), Ann Treadway (Judith Anderson), and Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb, in a superb performance.)

Engaged to Laura, Carpenter is a two-timing, money-grubbing playboy. At the same time, he has an unhealthy relationship with the older Ann Treadway (Judith Anderson). More, McPherson catches the cad in a number of lies.

Old enough to be everyone's grandmother, the ostentatious Treadway is jealous of Laura because of Shelby's love for her. The prissy Lydecker, an acerbic columnist, believes he "discovered" Laura and believes she's his possession.

Lydecker has the film's best lines. Here's a sampling: McPherson asks him if he and Laura were in love, and he replies: "Laura considered me the wisest, wittiest, most interesting man she ever met. I was in complete accord with her." Later he tells McPherson, "In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never found any other subject quite so worthy of my attention." When he learns McPherson is in love with Laura, he flippantly warns him: "You better watch out, McPherson, or you'll end up in a psychiatric ward. I don't think they ever had a patient who fell in love with a corpse."

(The scenes between McPherson and Lydecker contain an arresting subtext: The two bicker like a long-married husband and wife. Too, carefully watch the opening scene. It's their first meeting; Waldo is bathing.)

In Film Noir, Foster Hirsch said that Webb's character is "twisted, of noir's great psychopaths."

" thin and exquisite as a case clock" is the way David Thomson described the scene-stealing Webb, whose performance earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Nor should David Raskin and Johnny Mercer's haunting, much-loved, much-hummed Laura theme be overlooked. It deserved an Oscar but didn't win one. It's a character. It's ubiquitous. It's always reminding us of Laura.


Two final points. Otto Preminger, who snared an Academy Award nomination for Best Director, took many of the standard film noir settings - dark alleyways, dingy tenements, obsessed characters - and transferred them to brightly lit and opulently furnished rooms. Then he filled those rooms with high-society, ostentatious, decadent types.

Most identified with her portrayal of Laura Hunt, in Self-Portrait, her autobiography, Tierney wrote: "[The accolades I received] are for the character, for the dream-like Laura - rather than for any gifts I brought to the role."

Tierney was too modest.

Grade: A

Can't get enough of those golden oldies? Open the "Video Vault" for more flicks from yesteryear!

So, what do you think of this flick, or of the above commentary on it? Fill out the information below to let us know...

Would you like a response? Of course! Nah, not really...
Email address: (required)
What's your URL?

How did you find out about our site?
Link from another website   
other Usenet newsgroup   
email or mailing list
search engine
other referral method   

    Which review are you commenting on?

Comments (be as verbose as you'd like):

Want to share your thoughts and commentary with 3BC and others on this, or any other, flick you've seen? Visit our "Viewer Voices" ™ webboard and let all of us hear what you have to say!

Compare prices from 10 Internet movie shops!
Search by:
Search for:

Powered by

Home Page

Check this site weekly for more reviews!