We decided to continue our annual tradition of highlighting our favorite films noir during the month of May, even though this year’s Noir City Austin film festival is sadly postponed. I chose my very first film noir, Laura (Preminger, 1944), which weaves a magic, dreamy spell in its stylish, inimitable way.
We often reflect that sometimes the thing you come to first becomes your favorite, and that is certainly the case with Laura. Even though I have since seen so many other films that may reflect a truer down and dirty noir spirit, I always come back to this film. I have definitely watched it more than any other single noir. I still get goosebumps in the same places.
It is unlike so much of the rest of the noir canon with its big budget, sumptuous set decoration and costuming, and higher profile stars and director. But don’t let those trappings fool you. Laura is just as seamy and grimy as any Ann Savage or Charles McGraw feature. To paraphrase from the acid tongue of Waldo Lydecker, people repeat the same obvious patterns. Whatever their address, they are willing to lie, cheat, and murder to get what they want.
We are definitely missing the wonderful folks of the Film Noir Foundation, including the “The Czar of Noir” himself, Eddie Muller. We hope to be able to enjoy the festival again in the near future!
What you’ll find in this episode: whether any character turns out to be a femme fatale, how the uptown setting sets it apart from other films noir, and some alternate casting choices.
Links and Recommendations:
Check out Laura on IMDB.
Ericca’s further viewing pick of Whirlpool.
Cole’s further viewing pick of Where the Sidewalk Ends.
The Lux Radio Theater presentation of Laura.
A 1973 interview with director Otto Preminger.
The official website of The Film Noir Foundation.