Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Otto Preminger

REVIEWED: 01-26-98

"You have rarely met a girl like Laura. Few women have been so beautiful, so exotic, so dangerous to know." I'll say. These are the words that open the original theatrical trailer for the 1944 Laura, starring Gene Tierney as Laura Hunt, a plucky and earnest young adwoman who one day at lunch steels up the nerve to approach Waldo Liedecker (Webb), a witty, snitty twit (a newspaper columnist, of course) to ask him to endorse an ad for a certain brand of writing pen for which Laura has designed the ad. He declines; she insists; he declines; she runs off only to be hunted down by Liedecker days later as he apologizes for his previous rudeness and decides to endorse the ad. Liedecker takes an initial liking to Laura that turns into love, so he wines and dines her and introduces her to all the right people, all of them right except for Shelby Carpenter (Price), an overgrown Kentuckian of dubious social provenance who also falls in love with Laura. A murder ensues, which is roundly assumed to be the murder of Laura until... well, from here on you'll have to see for yourself. Feminist theorists and activists criticize the patriarchal practice of referring to a male character or figure by his last name and a female one by her first, and that's a justified grievance, but in the case of Laura there's little else to call her by; say it often enough after viewing and you, too, regardless of gender, may be hypnotically mesmerized like all of Laura's men.

--Claiborne Smith

Other Films by Otto Preminger
Anatomy of a Murder

Film Vault Suggested Links
Primal Fear
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

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