‘Laura’ (1944): Review & Thoughts

One of the best mystery movies from the 1940s.

Laura, from 1944, was one of the first Old Hollywood movies I remember watching. I can’t remember why exactly I decided to watch this particular movie — though if memory serves me correctly, I do believe it used to be on Netflix. As Netflix never has quite a lot of old movies on hand, I decided to watch this film and was quickly pulled into the interesting story.

Laura follows detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) as he takes on the case of the grisly murder of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). The men in Laura’s life quickly become suspects — her best friend, columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb) and her fiance Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price). As Detective McPherson continues to unravel the case, he starts to fall in love with the dead woman.

This movie is definitely full of twists and turns — and I loved every second of it. I recently rewatched the film, remembering how much I enjoyed it the first time around and how it kickstarted my love of Gene Tierney, and was still delighted and intrigued the whole way through. And that’s how you know you have a good movie! 

Related — Songs to Play on Repeat: The ‘Laura’ Theme

Thoughts I Had While Watching Laura (1944)

Rewatching Laura, I had a few thoughts about the film, some ridiculous, some not:

  • I adore Clifton Webb and feel that his whole character — and how his character gets to narrate the entire film, for the most part — is genius. Webb has so many great, witty, biting lines here that I always seem to forget about for some reason. Rewatching the film, I was reminded how snarky he is in this film, which is always great fun!
  • I also was reminded about how beautiful and charismatic Gene Tierney is here. Recently, I read an article — or it might’ve been something in a book, I can’t remember — and the writer stated that Tierney was stiff on the screen, that she lacked something. I actually completely disagree. Sure, maybe her beginning films weren’t the best. But in Laura, I think Tierney is great. And her voice reflections — how she talks and such — in her scene with Price about going out to dinner (after he shows her a new ad he created) is just so natural. I love it. And I love how she says “thank you” in this scene! 
  • I’ve talked a lot about the score of Laura and will continue to believe that it is perhaps one of the best movie scores of all time. I mean, it’s just beautiful! 
  • The line “the way she listened was more eloquent than speech” will forever be one of my favorite movie lines. And the scene of Tierney smoking and listening to Webb that plays during this narration? Beautiful! 
  • When I first watched Laura (spoilers!), I was truly shocked that Laura was not dead. I had no clue what was going to happen in this film, and the scene where Laura walks into her apartment to a sleepy McPherson truly shocked me. I too thought Laura was in a dream. This mistaken identity storyline is also another reason why I love this movie so much. 
  • I believe that making Waldo Lydecker (I will never get over how great a name this is) the murderer is a genius move. It makes the movie work. And all the chaos until this is revealed, how you even begin to suspect that Laura herself may have killed the woman Shelby was having an affair with, is also quite genius. Overall, this is one of those murder mysteries that I love rewatching, as it just works. In my opinion, that is. Plus, it’s also quite sad! 

What Are Your Thoughts on Laura

Now that I’ve talked all about what I thought about Laura, what do YOU think? Did you love the film? Hate it? Think it was a good watch… and that’s about it? I’d love to hear your own opinion on the film — hit the comments below with your thoughts and opinions! 

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One comment

  1. I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as you did, but it was a very fun movie that I’d like to revisit someday! The scene where she “comes back” surprised me as well!

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