Preminger's "Laura" @ Film Forum NYC

"Strange by even film noir standards" — J Hoberman
David Hudson
The DailyLaura

New York's Film Forum is screening Otto Preminger's Laura (1944) through Thursday. "What's worth noting is how precarious the film's path to existence was," writes the New Yorker's Richard Brody, "and on what a fine yet obviously amazingly strong thread Preminger's career was dangling." J Hoberman in the Voice: "Elevated by studio boss Darryl Zanuck from 'B' picture status, Laura opened at the Roxy, became a critical and popular hit, was nominated for five Oscars (winning for cinematography), and launched Preminger's directorial career. Still, alternately sprightly and turgid, if abetted by its haunting, ubiquitous score, it's far from a great movie — most beloved by second-generation surrealists who appreciate it for its time-liquidating dream narrative of l'amour fou. See that movie if you can; for me, Laura is a flavorsome but flawed anticipation of two far more delirious psychosexual cine-obsessions: Vertigo and Blue Velvet."

The New Yorker's Anthony Lane suggests that Laura "would make a rich double bill with Rebecca, especially for mild necrophiles; both feature weak men who cannot resist dead women, although Preminger adds a twist so fevered, and so close to high comedy, that the rest of the story could be read as one long dream. Gene Tierney plays the lady of the title, Dana Andrews the stocky detective assigned to the case, and Clifton Webb the Max Beerbohm figure who composes his newspaper column in the bath and dishes out bons mots like canapés. We even get Judith Anderson (Hitchcock's Mrs Danvers), as an aunt with the hots for Vincent Price: 'He's no good, but he's what I want.' Noir in a nutshell."

For more, turn to Alt Screen's excellent roundup.

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