Laura (1944) starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price
Laura is a different kind of murder mystery; it begins with the title character, Laura Hunt (played by Gene Tierney) having been murdered, and Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigating her death — and life.
Her story is told in flashback, and he interviews various people in her life — Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), the acid-tongued writer who took her under his wing and fell in love with her, the aimless rich young man Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) who wants to marry her — and along the way, the detective begins falling in love with the dead woman herself. But something happens that turns his entire investigation upside down — the “dead” woman shows up, very much alive.
So who, then, is the dead woman? Why was she murdered? What was the murderer’s motivation? And Laura’s life is still in danger …
Editorial review of Laura, courtesy of Amazon.com
Nominated for five Academy Awards ®, this stylish mystery thriller twists and turns with new suspects, new evidence and unexpected revelations. A wealthy journalist (Clifton Webb) becomes entranced with a beautiful young career woman named Laura (Gene Tierney). But shortly before her wedding to a dashing young playboy (Vincent Price), she is found murdered. Stirred by her portrait, the detective (Dana Andrews) assigned to her case finds that he, too, is strangely under Laura’s spell.
Movie quotes from Laura
Waldo Lydecker: [narrating off screen] I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York. For with Laura’s horrible death, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker, was the only one who really knew her, and I had just begun to write Laura’s story when another of those detectives came to see me. I had him wait. I could watch him through the half-open door.
Waldo Lydecker: I noted that his attention was fixed upon my clock. There was only one other in existence, and that was in Laura’s apartment, in the very room where she was murdered.
Waldo Lydecker: How singularly innocent I look this morning.
Mark McPherson: When a dame gets killed, she doesn’t worry about how she looks.
Waldo Lydecker: Will you stop calling her a dame?
Waldo Lydecker: It’s lavish, but I call it home.
Waldo Lydecker: I don’t use a pen. I write with a goose quill dipped in venom.
Waldo Lydecker: My dear, either you were born on a extremely rustic community, where good manners are unknown, or you suffer from a common feminine delusion that the mere fact of being a woman exempts you from the rules of civilized conduct.
Waldo Lydecker: In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention.
Waldo Lydecker: If you come a little bit closer, my boy, I can just crack your skull with my walking stick.
Waldo Lydecker: I’m not kind, I’m vicious. It’s the secret of my charm.
Waldo Lydecker: [Scene deleted from theater version and restored in 1990] She was quick to seize upon anything that would improve her mind or her appearance. Laura had innate breeding, but she deferred to my judgment and taste. I selected a more attractive hairdress for her. I taught her what clothes were more becoming to her. Through me, she met everyone: The famous and the infamous. Her youth and beauty, her poise and charm of manner captivated them all. She had warmth, vitality. She had authentic magnetism. Wherever we went, she stood out. Men admired her; women envied her. She became as famous as Waldo Lydecker’s walking stick and his white carnation.
Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price): I can afford a blemish on my character, but not on my clothes.
Shelby Carpenter: For the last time, Louise, will you marry me?
Louise, Ann’s Cook: No, but I cooked some chicken liver for you.
Shelby Carpenter: I forgot to tell you, I also read palms, I swallow swords, I mend my own socks, I never eat garlic or onions, what more could you want of a man?
Shelby Carpenter: I don’t know a lot about anything, but I know a little about practically everything.
Shelby Carpenter: I knew there was something on my mind. Ah yes, will you dine with me tomorrow night?
Laura Hunt: Yes.
Shelby Carpenter: No, it’s not that – it’s the next night. And what about three weeks from tonight? And all the nights in between?
Laura Hunt: Shelby, you talk as if I had no other engagements!
Shelby Carpenter: And two months from now? And the month after that?
Laura Hunt: What about next year?
Shelby Carpenter: Oh, that’s all settled. What about breakfast?
Laura Hunt: What about dancing?
Shelby Carpenter: What about lunch? Beautiful lunches, day after day after day?
Laura Hunt: By stooping so low you only degrade yourself.
Bessie Clary: I ain’t afraid of cops. I was brought up to spit whenever I saw one.
Mark McPherson: OK, go ahead and spit if that’ll make you feel better.
Mark McPherson: I suspect no one, and I suspect everyone.
Mark McPherson: Yeah, dames are always pulling a switch on you.
Laura Hunt: [Explaining why she broke a promise] You forced me to give you my word. I never have been and I never will be bound by anything I don’t do of my own free will.
Mark McPherson: I must say, for a charming, intelligent girl, you certainly surrounded yourself with a remarkable collection of dopes.
Waldo Lydecker: Love is eternal. It has been the strongest motivation for human actions throughout history. Love is stronger than life. It reaches beyond the dark shadow of death.
Waldo Lydecker: Goodbye, Laura.
Waldo Lydecker: [narrating off screen] Goodbye, my love.