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GENE TIERNEY & DANA ANDREWS IN OTTO PREMINGER'S 'LAURA'

Nothing like a spoiler built into a poster for LAURA Year: 1944
Dana Andrews as Det. Lt. Mark McPherson has fallen in love with a ghost, kind of, and that's not to be spoiled for anyone who hasn't seen LAURA with its particular dreamlike camera panning from a sleeping McPherson, and we get the murderous yarn, spun all over again in a different fashion and with a twist that could be something else entirely as our hero deals with two creeps connected with the ingenue: especially a cerebral "sugar daddy" in a sophisticated Clifton Webb...

Word is the producer frowned on this important casting because of... well... what's pretty apparent about the futzy fella, and he can't shake that aspect from his character of a character, Waldo Lydecker. But Webb is perfect as LAURA seems to be the only girl who can rid the sophisticated and manipulative Lydecker from his daily uptight uptown lunch, all by himself with a contented life all mapped-out...

Dana Andrews eyes a not-so-scary Vincent Price in LAURA
She has that kind of magic on everyone... Even a non-scary turn for who'd become the Master of Horror ranging for many decades, Vincent Price as a passive/aggressive rich kid turned pointless loser, Shelby Carpenter...

And he's loathed by the pompous Waldo, who actually has a platonic yet obsessive relationship with Laura, and his attraction is also the funniest... and his one-liners and hatred for everyone expect the title character is a real hoot, especially how he pokes fun at Price's flaky Playboy and Andrews' Alpha Male cop.

The thing is, if either of these guys were more manly, and fit Tierney like the intentionally loose glove sliding through the first half's flashbacks, then we wouldn't need that brash, tough guy Detective beyond the investigation. Ironically, he's the only one who wasn't part of her real life, and perhaps should have been.

Dana Andrews and Vincent Price in LAURA Rates: *****
A secret only partially revealed in a movie that actually improves after perpetual expository from Webb's snooty yet hilarious jerk...

All the while, LAURA morphs from a casual talky melodrama into the pure Noir Classic it's known and beloved for...

Yet what really makes the film shine is the creative way Otto Preminger makes the entire movie feel almost like a dream, when it's anything but. And deep down, past even the shadowy Noir genre, this is a character-study like no other: how a woman, living or dead, can effect three men, and how they in turn effect her... means everything.
Vincent Price and Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Clifton Webb and Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Dana Andrews wanders the apartment in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney in Otto Preminger's LAURA
Dana Andrews enters Clifton Webb's web in LAURA
An iconic waking shot of LAURA with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews
Dana Andrews and three time co-star Dorothy Adams (as Bessie) in LAURA
Dana Andrews and three time co-star Dorothy Adams (as Bessie) in LAURA
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