Archive for March 31st, 2011

Director and Producer: Otto Preminger

Screenwriters: Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Elizabeth Reinhardt

Cinematographer: Joseph La Shelle

Music: David Raksin

Studio: 20th Century Fox 1944

Main Acting: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Vincent Price, and Clifton Webb

Otto Preminger’s crowning achievement is one of the most elegant and dreamlike of film noirs. Made in 1944, the first year the classic cycle kicked into high gear, Laura was always a different type of noir. It didn’t reside in the dark urban sprawl of Murder My Sweet or swim in the moral murk of Double Indemnity. Here was a picture that had the sophistication of uptown New York with a MGM kind of outlook for its characters. While calling it glossy like Gaslight or Rebecca would be untrue, it has more in common with those movies than The Big Heat or Criss Cross. Its visual look is hardly filled with the standard dim and dusky design in which most have grown accustomed. There are moments where chiaroscuro lighting is present but it never lasts very long or to signify any action by the players. Camera-wise, the film mainly avoids exaggerated camera angles, consistently set up at eye-level position. The noirness of Laura comes mainly from its script. Right from the beginning, we are treated to some choice dialogue from Clifton Webb (who played socialite Waldo Lydecker): (more…)

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