(1944) dir. Otto Preminger
One of the better noted Hollywood mystery films, and even referred to as Noir, I had long intended to get around to seeing Otto Preminger’s Laura. But you know something? It’s not that good.
Gene Tierney is gorgeous. Dana Andrews isn’t bad. And it’s got Vincent Price playing…a guy from Kentucky?
The whole thing is quite jam-packed with the standard-issue mystery tropes: the murder of a beautiful girl, suspects galore, a tough-talking detective, and a couple of plot twists thrown in for good measure. But the whole thing is like a higher budget B-movie without the darkness or character that might have peppered the procedings with something fresh.
Clifton Webb’s character, an intellectual newspaper columnist whose ego is enlarged by his suposed wit, comes off as less than clever. Some of the plot twists have huge plausibility issues, and even the most dramatic moment, most dramatic image of the film, the beautiful girl who takes a shotgun blast to the face, is merely alluded to. The tension and drama is just not there. It’s kinda weak.
It’s not bad or terrible, honestly. I mean, I expect more from a film like this. I’ve seen much, much better. It’s capable enough, but it is hard to fathom how a film like this has earned its critical pedigree in regards to other, far more interesting, far more clever, far more dark and mysterious films.