Laura (1944) w/ special guest Raquel Stecher

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

I'm Max Baril and this is classic movie musts where every week we breakdown a classic movie looking to provide artistic insight and historical context at the very least we talk about what makes these movies classics. Classic Movie Must Releases Every thirty Friday ready to complement your weekend movie viewing plans. Thank you for joining me this week. As we discuss the auto premature film Noir Laura Laura in this episode during our feature presentation. We welcome back Raquel stature to the show to break down the myriad things. This film does so well but first let's get into this week's opening credits. Our film this week is Laura which was directed by Otto perimeter and was released in nineteen. Forty four Dr Laura Stars Dana Andrews Gene Tierney Clifton Webb and Vincent Price New York City Police Department detective Mark McPherson pherson played by Dana. Andrews is investigating the murder of a highly successful advertising executive. Laura Hunt play by Jean tyranny. Killed by a shotgun shotgun blast to the face just inside the doorway of her apartment he first interviews charismatic newspaper. Columnists Waldo lie decker played by Clifton Web and imperious effet Dandy who relates. How he met Laura and became her mentor she had become his platonic friend and steady companion and and he used his considerable fame influence and connections to advance her career? McPherson also questions Laura's parasitic playboy fiance shelby be carpenter played by Vincent Price. A kept man and companion to her. Wealthy socialite aunt and Treadwell Treadwell is tolerant of her nieces nieces infatuation with shelby apparently out of her practical acceptance of Shelby's need for the affection of a woman closer to his own age all the while. Wild treadmill is carrying on with carpenter and giving him money and finally detective McPherson questions. Laura's loyal housekeeper. Bessie through the testimony. Simoni of Laura's friends and reading through her letters and diary McPherson becomes obsessed with her so much so that lie decker finally accuses him of falling in love with with a dead woman. He also learned that lie. Decker was jealous of Laura's suitors using his newspaper column and influence to keep them at bay one night. That detective falls falls asleep in Laura's apartment in front of her portrait. He is awakened by a woman entering the apartment and is shocked that it is in fact Laura. She finds address in her closet which had belonged to one of her models. Diane redfern and McPherson concludes at the body. Assumed to have been Laura was in fact. redfern brought there by carpenter. Dr Laura was away in the country now it becomes even more urgent to unmask the killer at a party. Celebrating Lord's Return McPherson Arrests Laura for the murder of Diane redfern upon questioning her. He is convinced that she is innocent. And that she does not love shelby. He goes to search light ECKERD's apartment where oh he becomes suspicious of a clock that is identical to the one in Laura's apartment on closer examination he finds. It has a secret compartment. McPherson returns to Laura's apartment and lie decker is there and notices a growing bomb between Laura and the detective Lie Decker Insults McPherson and is sent away by Laura but pauses on the stairwell outside her apartment. McPherson examines Laura's clock and finds the shotgun that killed Diane. Laura is then confronted with the truth. That lie decker is the murderer. McPherson locks Laura into her apartment warning her to admit no one after he leaves lie decker emerges from another room and attempts to kill Laura saying that if he cannot have her no one can he is shot down by McPherson Sergeant who had told McPherson that lie decker had never left the building causing McPherson and two other policemen. c'mon to return to the apartment before dying lie deckers. Final words are goodbye. Laura Goodbye my love. Laura had a budget of just over one million billion dollars and it brought in over two million at the box office adjusted for inflation. That's a budget of just over fourteen and a half million dollars and a box office total of just over over twenty nine million dollars. Laura was nominated for five Academy Awards winning one. It was nominated for the awards for best art direction. Action best adapted screenplay best supporting actor for Clifton Webb Best Director for auto premature won the award for Best Cinematography for Joseph the shell now. Where's my quill dipped in venom? Because it's time for our feature presentation. Are you looking for a double dose of Classic Movie. must in your week then check out. Our Patriot exclusive show classic movie double feature. The show costs one dollar per month and releases every Tuesday to all patriots subscribers. The show is the same structure. These are normal show but for movies released from the year two thousand to the present and that I believe are destined to go down in the film books as classics. Not only that. If you're looking for a fun and carefree top five based show then check out. Our new patriotic exclusive show called maxes movie must. It's it's available for patrons at five dollars a month and every month you right in with a topic that you want me to come up with my top five films for you then get my top five five films on everything from my top five Rom coms to my top five foreign films and this month even top five Christmas movies you can get both Classic Ethic Movie Must Double Feature and Max movie must over on Patriot. PATRIOTIC ON DOT com slash. Classic movie must a huge. Thank you to our patron H.. Subscribers you really do make a world of difference and you make the show possible now. Let's get on over to our guest. Joining us for today's feature. chirp presentation is Raquel. Stecher the lead and founding writer of both out of the past movie blog and cal. MOVIES DOT COM. Tom Raquel welcome back to the show. Hi Max thanks for having me back absolutely my pleasure longtime listeners of the show will of course remember Raquel hell from her two great episodes. We've talked already about the setup which is episode forty seven and Sunrise episode sixty five now Laura Raquel. We're not exactly unlike a happy movie streak. I don't think and we broke the s theme. Ask films that we have an L. Film. You're absolutely right if you if you're also hoping for for a Peek behind the curtains. The first time you and I discussed you coming on the show we were. I had suggested Laura and I was immediately intrigued but but I just done an episode on anatomy of murder so I was like well. It feels too much to do to prem injures right back tobacco that you can never have too much pressure but now we finally get to return to to Laura. I'm very excited to have this conversation with you today. Yeah they decided to so I you know. This was one one of the movies that you I suggested to me. Where where do you like to start? The conversation with this with this film noir suspense thriller. I have to say this is something I bring up a lot. In conversation with people about classic movies specifically is because there's a lot of people out there who who pretend or say that the hey classic will and I show this to people or I recommend it to people and wins people over every single time. So if you have a skeptic in your life and you want to show them a great film that will am intrigued them and entertain them and we'll shock them a little bit especially with the great twist in the film. This is a great This is a great entry point into classic movies and also great film if you you want to explore the film nausea. I couldn't agree more and one of the strikes me about this movie. It's so it's so well done and at the the same time I don't think it necessarily stands out in the Canon of classic movies that we like to put on a pedestal. And I think it speaks so much to the Hollywood system of the Nineteen Forties Thirties through fifties. Really that you can say you have these fantastic actors. None of them. You know legendary gene dairy movie stars in in the sense of compared to some a director who is obviously a fantastic director but it's not necessarily his epitome hitting me film and this film is so just well crafted start to finish and it just kind of speaks to the constant churn of the Hollywood studio system them that you can come up with this movie. That is so well done but at the same time. It's just one of the next film in the cycle and what's great about it too is even though it exists in that In the Hollywood system in the studio era something a little different about it because one of the things I read about. Why auto premise really wanted to work on? Laura was the fact that it had a plot twist which was kind of unheard of it was just unique. Make an interesting would surprise audiences and also one great thing about this too is that The lot of leading ladies ladies turned it down But this was this was a role given to gene Tierney who is still up in comer and it meter huge star. You're so it's interesting that even though like it's called Laura and she's like the main character she has top billing. She's not in it as much as maybe another studio system film would have you know their their main star being like almost every single seeing. I mean there are times where we don't see her at all. She just the painting in the background so I think also it. If it's in that studio sit down but it also a little different from the rest absolutely right and I mean just speaking to the twist. I think speaking to so many of the things that we're GONNA probably get into in today's conversation in nineteen forty four. It's not like we're so deep into the on war style that were able to that you think most films are already kind of subverting conventions and playing with our expectations. But you're absolutely absolutely right. This twist is fantastic. One one that I'm sure we will break down fully and just in general so many kind of conventions of noir a really upending them and playing with our expectations of you know the normal convention because while this is your detective mystery that so much of Noir is based on. I don't think there is necessarily a out and out conventional choice made throughout the entire movie I think every character kind of stands against your typical war formula. Don't you agree. Yeah I think so too. I mean these these characters are very like the I mean the characters actors who are bad very comfortable with being themselves which is interesting but there's also no clear cut There's no clear There's no clarity in who is the villain and who is the the good guy you know like everyone is kind of a suspect. Is I like Mike how. It's just not clear cut and a lot of people especially when they look back a classic movies. Oh you have oh you have like this. This clear good guy is clear bad guy here. It's just all blended Linda together and that is something. Very typical of film noir is at the characters are kind of in a gray zone there are not on one side or another. They're kind of in between so. I think that works really well. And yet this is just Coast World War Two so it at the film noir genre or aesthetic Atika some people like to refer it for two. It's still brand new. Yeah I mean it's still really finding its legs but I think you getting into these characters. I love your point about the grey zone because we're kind of maybe discuss at the end of this episode but by the end of this film really no one. Is that likable. That say I mean. Everyone's kind of despicable in their own way. We'll get into that but even by nineteen forty four. If you think you know kind of noir has been going on in the early half of the nineteen forties I would think if I were an audience audience. I think probably what I thought the first time I saw this movie it's noir and it's called Laura so we're going to get a fantastic fem towel named Laura and she's going to take us on a ride and she's boy. She going to be playing with Poor Dana Andrews and she is in fact really. The only innocent person person in this movie is Laura and we already have this this kind of subversion of characters. I mean we don't we don't get a FEM fatale in this movie. We would get really one of the early early versions of an an omb fatale in in our good friend. Waldo lie decker. Who is really introduced in paths very similar way that we would expect them to be introduced in the TUB asking for you know a towel you know kind of slinging out of his you know? What does he refer to? It was his house. He says it's lavish but I call it home and it's so ridiculous but you know right off the bat. He takes that role of our traditional FEM fatale and catches catches you off guard. I think right off the bat in a way that you're you're not expecting him to be that kind of a character so we kind of trust him in a way that we shouldn't. I think I think yeah. I think that's a really great point. I hadn't thought of it that way. But what I really like about the Laura Hunt character like. You're saying she's not defensive Ital- family how might speak to the author Casper hope I'm pronouncing her name correctly. I mean this is because it's a story written by a woman this go the male. The female lead is very nuance. She's she has a lot of. She has a lot of complicit complexity she is a multifaceted character. There's there's like this natural vulnerability to her which is why everyone kind of wants to control her possess her? I mean everyone has this agenda there with her but she's also very versed. Strong person. You see this in the scene with weld ally decker when she meets him for the first time she's very brave even approaches 'em even though everyone else's scared to get his endorsement for their advertisement because he won't do it for anybody she ghost for it and there's one great scene later in the film where she says I think it was the android character detective McPherson and she. She's talking to him and he asked her not to leave the apartment and she leaves the apartment and meets with shelby. His who's played by Vincent Price and You know he catches her on that and brings it up later in conversations. She says I will not be bound by anybody. I believe I'm a firm believer in my free will. I just think that's so fascinating and makes her really complex female lead character totally agree with you and I love you. Bringing up the writer of the film and I think that combination with her script and premise. You're staying extremely true to it where you look across the board of this film. And it's I get I think about like a show like madmen. And showing the struggle of females trying to take rise through the career ranks and be taken seriously. And and that's set in you know fifteen twenty years after the fact and Laura here is you know she's a career woman and she's extremely successful and obviously it's implied implied that she has Waldo lie. Deckers help but I think that's debatable in its own right anyway given that he's the one who tells us about her backstory. It's something Eh. That whole flashback sequence. I think we can talk about in a minute. But across the board she. Laura is a strong willed character. Her aunt and and Treadwell again is a woman in control. I mean yes. They have this kind of rivalry over shelby. Carpenter it's kind of you kind of wonder what anyone sees him. I'm in the first place but the women are in control. And while as you put the men have these agendas we kind of see them. They all are kind kind of a step behind the women in this film and I love that you brought up and treadmill played by Judith Areas Anderson she that is one of my favorite characters in this movie and I don't think she's talked about an understated role absolutely she's got. She's a very strong minor character in the film She's a totally the red herring. You know like look to her before we look to the actual villain but yeah. She's very strong willed cheese. He's her aunt and she's like very much like control of her estate. You know at the beginning when we when we think that Laura is dead and and she's also got this. Yeah as you said the rivalry for shelby's For Shelby's attention. But I think there's this great line when she is with Laura Kind of towards the end and she's talking about how you know she. She is comparing her and herself to shelby and say were week. We're both capable of murder. And we understand it and one thing about her she. She didn't care she doesn't care. She accepts that she's bad and shelby's bad look those fascinating. There's just such interesting. She's such a she's is an interesting character because she's not a villain but she's not she's also kind of bad totally that that line that that kind of conversation sation between her and shelby towards the end of the film is so on points. As you're saying where these are these are not upstanding people and you're absolutely right. We totally look to an treadwell in that first interrogation where McPherson goes to her apartment and immediately. She's the first kind of suspicious person we come across and And so immediately we're like well. Okay so Laura's not the FEM fatale must be an treadwell. She's you know the one who's deceiving people and again it's really I like. I appreciate how even though you have this kind of three way. Love Interest Triangle. The with Laura and shelby the women never are really kind of betraying each other. The machinations are all kind of going on with the men and in many ways. Lauren and are both confident in what they have to offer. And it's that you have that scene between the two of them in Laura's bedroom it's you know it's so far from kind of I think the what wh- you expect going on between the interaction between these two quote unquote rivals to be an uber member and Niessen away and while they're both you know looking out in their own interest self interest they're not treacherous like these men are. It doesn't go to the cat like go to the territory of being added Atty. They're not caddy with each other. Kind of yeah. They both respect each other's Status in this kind of like social situation but yeah yeah I mean and understands that shelby is in love with Laura but understands too that she She and shelby Are you know a good fit together. In a way that she and Laura are not I mean shelby in lower. Not So yeah I I think you're you're spot on it doesn't go to. It doesn't become caddy between them their rivals. But there's also kind of mutual respect there absolutely I mean really and is kind of confidently playing the long game in this film and knows at some point. Shelby is gonNA come back around and he does in in the weakest way possible. I Love I mean I love the moment he it totally rebuffs her at the Party. It's so cold. He so arrogant but needs more Lauren. Exactly and then when he gets punched in the stomach by detective McPherson and she's there to comfort him in the way he's just starts kissing her hand. It's perfect it speaks speaks so perfectly to his character and her just knowing that that was coming all along but as you said in at the end of this film so many these characters are despicable and I I mean perhaps my favorite line of the film I dunno is detective McPherson saying you know I understand. You're innocent essentially to shelby but it should have been you. Who opened the door? You're you're innocent. You're not guilty of a crime but you're despicable human being and that is what these characters are. I mean so much of the film and let's not dance around March McPherson not exactly the most ethical police detective either even though he's our heroes hardly a Knight Titan Shining Armor. Yeah he's in a supposedly dead woman's apartment drinking away he gets way too emotionally involved with her her and he. You know sneaks into people's houses and he questions everybody's motivations he's like he's not he's not wholly holy good either and we can tell there's something he's like a rogue cop. I love those kind of characters like the police detective or just somebody the in a position of authority who kind of goes against the grain and does their own thing to solve a mystery. I just think that's really interesting rather than somebody who plays by the book. That's just boring. Yeah absolutely I mean it's already. I love his unconventional approach of seemingly taking all his witnesses or taking all his suspects along with him to interrogate the next person and just to understand very psychological man. He wants to see how all of these people interact together. Obviously makes a better movie as well. But you know he's he's I playing these people off of each other. But you know speaking to his infatuation with Laura as he becomes more obsessed with with her. I think it speaks again again to the script and it speaks to perimeter. Where there's A? There's so much subtext in this film and none of it hits you over the head playing with the gender kind of traditional gender dynamics. We've we've already discussed that. It's not the focus of this movie but it's kind of richly woven in and his and I totally agree and and but as well his obsession with Laura it's understated you know it really is Waldo lie decker. Someone who you know purports to have kind of this keen insight insight into people who finally puts it into words and I think we as the audience like we have a suspicion. It doesn't quite seem regulation as you say for him to be in her apartment min drinking all her alcohol and reading her diary but at the same time it's not out and out like he's like pining at her portrait either but all of a sudden he's been there in that room a long time and when lie deckers puts words to end. Says I understand that you put in an a bid on her portrait that we say oh like this is weird detected. McPherson has his own agenda here and it's not entirely. He's concerned with who the murderer is. But he's got other things going on and I love how it doesn't hit you over the head but when it does start to bubble up to the surface it's all the more eerie because of it. Yeah I mean. He's is in love with the painting and a dead woman at the beginning before we find out what's really happening and I think it's interesting to like. You said he's kind of downplaying it a little bit you know. It's not completely evident that he's falling in love with Laura and one thing. I think it's interesting between kind of the opposition between him him in Waldo Light Decker. Is that mark. Maguire McPherson Calls Laura Dame and Waldo hates that he brings that up several times. MM string the during the The whole movie up until almost the very end that that mark is just calling Laura a dame kind of diminishing her as a person by referring to this this does name and that's really important for Waldo character because Waldo says that a law is his creation creation that he built her up to be what she is in he has so much influence on her even to the objects in her apartment apartment all the antiques and in a way we see this In the opening scene in his lavish apartment that he calls home is he collects antiques. He collects pieces of art. Laurenti is another piece of art he collected and gave value to and mark. McPherson is diminishing her by calling in her name and almost like reducing her market value. That way so I think that's super interesting. How Waldo has this kind of over the top OP love for Laura but Marx's kind of you know a little more subtle and kind of like under the radar will bit? Yeah in many ways. It's kind of all all summer is right in the opening moments of this film when detective McPherson opens her his kind of a display case to hold this crystal peace. And he's like like you know tells him that no that's priceless. You can't have your hands on it. I mean yeah you're absolutely right. Laura is just another kind of priceless display item item that he hopes to put in one of his cases and and and mark is immediately drawn to it with a more hands on passionate. Love if you will than Waldo lie decker. who builds things up and trying to keep them for himself and that kind of brings us around to again? What I think is a understated sequence that I think you can read multiple ways if you if you so please and again speaks to kind of the the methodical nature of this film the rich nature of this film? It's not all it appears on the surface is the lengthy flashback sequence of Waldo. Lie Decker telling detective McPherson in about his relationship with Laura and how their first time they met their growing relationship. All of these things and it's it's portrayed on unlike much of the film it doesn't have nearly the aesthetic. It's shot much much more brightly. Much more traditional Hollywood their relationship is portrayed much more idyllic I love the scene when he tells he's recounting of this horrible story that that he wrote to defame the painter and she's reading it in bed chuckling to herself and it's kind of that moment where you start to say wait a minute. It's Waldo lie decker telling us about how all of this happened and how objective is he being in recounting. This flashback. How much of his own own ego is caught up in the events? where seeing you almost kind of yearn to hear Laura's side of the story because I don't think it's probably quite as has as rosy as weld ally decker makes it seem and one thing I had to say though just like to fit the lower perspective in there? I think it's interesting those opposite scenes where you have her approaching him for the first time and he's having lunch and he makes it clear that him having lunch is more important important that her existing you know and it's just so insulting and that's one of the I mean we start we've already developed a compassion for the Laura character as audience audience. Because we think she's dead at the beginning you know in all these. Were trying to figure out like who killed her and then we get this flashback. We realized that Waldo was really really a jerk to her at the beginning. And the next thing you see him kind of you know humbling himself going to her work Offering to Endorse her ad and then she just wants nothing to do with him until he basically gives her what she wants so I think that in itself is there something a little feminist about that like she. She was very brave. She approached them with his career opportunity. He turned her down and he comes straight comes to her because he's so charmed by her. She was the only person to approach him for this because she has this courage that other people don't have and that really charmed him. You know and then he just totally does like an about face so I thought that was really interesting within the flashback. Absolutely I think think you're absolutely right and but that's exactly I think. What makes the film so intriguing to me because everything you just said I totally agree with it and then at the same time part of me wonders when you look at preneurs films? He's so concerned with a certain juxtaposition or divide of objectivity and subjectivity subjectivity. And what how much can we truly rely on in terms of objective information. And you know we kind of buy into this narrative narrative that Waldo lie decker based on the version. He tells us really built up as you say he humbles himself. But it's this kind of magnanimous so I came in. I helped you because I realized I was a jerk and it really puts her success ultimately on his generosity Rossi and she's so kind of she's portrayed so plainly in a way during that restaurant seen her hat is low. She's is not dressed as as ornately and stylishly. As we see later in the film in some of the Party sequences. And it's like you know. She didn't have she really needed. The Waldo lie decker touch and I can't help but feel like you don't just inject people with confidence by being around someone like all the like I wonder like maybe she was well suited to a career success and she was already on the rise and we just kind of take those word for it and yeah think yeah. Sorry you'd be a great point because actually in the beginning of the film when Mark and Waldo are talking about Aldo's writings where he writes regularly about murder murderer He said that the the the latest murder story which was supposed to be at about a true story like a true story that happened? The heat change change the method of killing like it was. Yeah so we already know from the very Allen set that Waldo lie decker is a writer and a storyteller storyteller but a manipulator won't heal till change the change the truth will heal ads allies in there too for his benefit. It makes a better story. Yeah absolutely and he's so he's clearly not above that and that's I forgot about that. He tells us right upfront out now. I'm I'm willing to to play with the truth to suit my needs so in a long. Flashback sequence. I mean. You can't help you want Laura side of the story. We never fully get it but because of all the interogations that we experienced start to finish. I think we start to sense that everyone even though we don't know it yet. I feel like by the time Laura is reintroduced. Such an amazing twist. I did not see it coming the first time I watched this movie for better or worse but when she walks in the door I felt like I was was McPherson. What are you really here? Is this a dream. What's going on and at the same time at this point while the lie decker seems not exactly like a wonderful human being shelby. Carpenter is immediately off pudding and Treadwell is made to be suspicious right off the bat that when Laura a story doesn't immediately add up you throw her right in the mix of like well she's in on it somehow and and the film kind of struggles struggles with that from until the end until of course McPherson interrogates her and reveals. Unfortunately of course he goes to interrogate Laura to get information from her and he ends up giving her more information than she gives him by kind of revealing the he's in love with her. I love that. Love that interrogation sequence. Yeah and what. What I think is interesting about that? He says you know I'm ninety nine percent sure that you're innocent but that I have to squash that one percent of doubt That was a great line in and in one thing too is a lot of the events in the story happened at Laura's apartment and that's her space and I think it's interesting. 'cause they're at that party to kind of welcome her back from being dead or something no and he takes her out of that space and into his world at the at the The police station and he he. That's where he has the most control so I think it's just really interesting. How he just like draws her out? How so a lot of the story is? How much control can I assert over Laura? I mean shell shelby wants to marry her. You know Mark Mark wants to save her Waldo wants to possess her and even like you know even something like the character. Bessie the made. You know. She also wants control over Laura. She wants to control her story. She doesn't want the shoes want mark looking through her personal diary. She wants to take care of of Laura so I just think it's interesting. How hell yeah like? All the character is try to exert some control over her because they all WanNa possessor yeah. You're absolutely right Bessie as well well. You're absolutely she's she's constantly trying to protect Laura's such a good point in trying to kind of make make the evidence fit a story that makes her look hurlock innocent and maybe point the direction and you know even bessie kind of trying to manipulate things to be like who she thinks might have done it and kind of pointing it in Shelby's direction in and you mentioned it earlier. The scene when McPherson tells her not to leave the apartment. I love compared to a lot of noir films. How how kind of procedural this film is in a lot of it's detective work? You know the you you know it to no real end. But you see how these men are tailing everyone you know. It's not just McPherson. We learn about the phone tapping all of this stuff. There's kind of a nice prelude to the police procedural but when when she then goes and does meet with shelby. Obviously our suspicion is peaked and the scene of McPherson following shelby. Out to the country to me. This scene is like when this film wins. It's Best Cinematography Academy award because this is like full full on storm. It's like rewatching the film. I think my heart is still racing expecting for this scene to end up with somebody dying in it and of course it doesn't really happen that way but it is so tense through that scene. Do you agree. Yeah I say that scene and then look what you mentioned earlier. There interrogation irrigation scene. Where the bright lights shining Laura's face oh those those two scenes are just absolutely film noir and just so much fun to watch? Yeah Yeah Yeah. That's a great point as well as the interrogation sequences. Such how many how. Many films noir with someone's face in the in the bright lights of a police interrogation room home and she is one of the few characters whose again to your earlier point strong willed enough to say like. Can you please turn off the lights like this seems unnecessary. I mean what are the great things about her character inserted. Go on this kind of like rand. But it's what I what I love about. Her character is that not only do this. Everyone wants to possess her She's just this might be because you know we're not getting her story we're getting it from Waldo and we're getting it from these other characters tres. Is that no one really knows fully anything about her like we know some of her story. But we don't know the full picture and no one can really possess Laura and we are lusting after her just like everyone else is we are. We are in trance. We are intrigued creed. We want to know more about her. But she's kind of held a little bit at a distance which makes her even more appealing. It makes us want to possess her more. Yeah I think it's just something so interesting that they did with her character that if they had maybe flushed out her story a little more Or told us told told it from her perspective. You know and not wall does where we get kind of this other Avenue into her story. That made me. She wouldn't have been as intriguing. Yeah I think that's I think that's absolutely great point the fact so much of what we were so desperate for the puzzle pieces to kind of fall into place that and as you say she's been just a painting on the wall to us until this moment And we get glimpses into her home but we don't really understand who she is. I don't I think we understand that much more about her by the end. There's something very appealing in that. I think we have. The broad strokes of this is a successful strong willed woman. But we don't really know what makes her tick. I love at the end. You know Waldo coming in to try and murder her at the end I mean frankly. She saves herself in the end as well. Well she is not faced with the wrong end of a double barreled shotgun. She does not run away she runs to Waldo and makes makes him miss his own shot. Yes and there's something incredibly courageous in that final act that she is. She saves herself and As much as mark McPherson wants to save her he neither prevents Waldo from shooting. Nor does he kill. Does he killed this other. The sergeant that kind of you know points to the reminds us by the end of this film. This movie's called Laura. It is not detected McPherson and is not mark and and You know she's the one who's going to continue on a far more interesting life and you you know yes. There is a mile the romance between the two. But I don't think you under this film really leading us to believe that these people are destined to be together either and it was a great scene between mark and Laura is it's windy. He goes and brings her breakfast Because supposedly like he caught while he caught her leaving and she didn't buy food so he she. She knows that he needs a that. She needs food so he brings her like eggs and Bacon and asked her to make coffee and In the conversation turns to weather she can cook are not and she says that she was always interested in being a career woman and her mother always was is trying to teach her a new recipe. So I think it's interesting that she chose not the gender norm For a woman at that time to kind of you know oh just get married and be a housewife like. She chose a career for herself. So she's just like a very it's she's a different character. I think that's what makes her so interesting. Yeah I agree and I think it speaks to a lot of what we've been discussing in the sense that I don't think this film hits you over the head with that theme theme to the Yes. It comes up in lines of dialogue like you just mentioned or in kind of the characters not taking on their usual archetypes. But you're not like oh man. I'm really like this movie's really trying to make a point. It's you know first and foremost this film is concerned with having a very suspenseful intriguing storyline. I mean it is a fantastic suspense thriller. But it you know it's so richly kind of weaves these other other themes in that you you leave with it and it feels extremely authentic right. I mean it doesn't feel as though this film is trying to. Hey you know. Make a point or leave you. Oh really that movie really made me think about other things. No this is a story. Filled with intriguing characters and and each of these characters is very richly depicted and by the end. You say wow I. A lot of my expectations were wrong. And then at the same time by the end you're like how did I just immediately know it was Waldo lie decker right like all the clues had he just been had it been the woman from the beginning and he been a more typical typical FM SEATTLE. I think we would have all seen it coming. And you realize just the slightest subversion and can really play with your expectations and your enjoyment of the film and I think it hits home all the harder because of it. There have been a couple of times that I've watched this film been like Oh ended it and I completely forgot the Waldo did it and then it surprised me so I mean I've seen it many times since but like it. Yeah it's a big surprises. Even on repeat viewings. I like what you said about the characters because has the characters are just so spot on there so well done and they are perfect for their actors. I think some people have said that gene Tierney was it. Wasn't that great an actress but I think she's perfect for the role of Laura because she has that She has that like natural actual beauty and natural vulnerability but also sort of strength because even though she's very young she's already gone through some life. Struggles you know at at that point in her life so she's kind of world-weary but she's also vulnerable so she said she's got this natural complexity herself that made her perfect for Laura Dana Dana Andrews is just absolutely amazing as mark McPherson kind of like this emotionally reserved but still emotional character to because he's so invested in this mystery in and Laura and then I mean like Clifton Webb will also always be Waldo lie decker I mean can you imagine somebody else playing that role. I mean. He's just perfect for it. And then Vincent Price I mean this is a role that he's not some people who know him from his like horror days in the nineteen eighteen seventies. We'll be like what that's inside price. But I think he's so interesting because he's so tall and brawny and he's like the he he had a looms over the other male characters in the all kind of represent a different type of masculinity and he's kind of like the Tall Brawny Ronnie character and mark is You know he's. He's kind of the strong authority figure who is also kind of vulnerable and then Waldo is just like kind of rich uppity manipulator so the oldest but they all work for the characters. So it's just like a perfect marriage marriage between actor and character. I just love how they're paired. Yeah I mean Agana to me it speaks to Hollywood Studio System Running as a Well oiled machine sheen that you say you know you have all of these actors at your disposal but how do you pair them to really work off well off of each other and this is a prime example of it because I do think think this movie is so rooted in its characters and it wouldn't work if you had actors who weren't well suited to play off each other. I agree with you totally so so well done. I love your point. About how Vincent Price Can you just kind of looms over people. And he said he fronted in the movie right. He's like people people just assume I'm guilty of things because of my demeanor how I am. And he's right like you do kind of like. Oh this guy feels like he's probably guilty and at at the same time the film kind of plays it just plays with our expectations so well that at the beginning we think perhaps walled ally rely decker is seems like a fairly journalist. He's well quaffed and all of these things. This oath is not in of course by the end. It's the reverse and we see that Shell Carpenter is not guilty. But he's gross and and and we should have known that Waldo like decker. Last last name has lying right in the titans. We should've seen it coming. But you know these are richly kind of crafted characters. And I love your point about Laura being kind of. She's vulnerable and yet strong at the same time I love you. Know she comes back home defined a man in her apartment and then discovers that a murder took place there and she is both overwhelmed. But very kind of resilient zillion at the same time and it speaks to it speaks to this strong woman that we have come to know in her broad strokes you know I like to compare her character to Daisy from DC Buchanan from the Great Gatsby Because she is someone that I'm Jay Gatsby is trying to possess but she's just she kind of holds back and she's not she. I mean he feels it feels like she like he's he's getting somewhere with her. Then it we find out that really never gonNA happen but one thing about DC candidate. She's very difficult character for an actress actress to play pretty much every actress. Who has played her has been criticized for not being right for the part? Because daisy is so much the downfall of Jacob's beat that we don't understand You know we have to have somebody who is believable in that role but I I think is interesting too. Is Laura similar. Not the same but similar and Gene Tierney just pulls it off really well. She almost could've played. Daisy Buchanan herself. Yeah I think This there's we look at her through the painting and then when she when she is physically there we see it. We understand why everyone John is obsessed with her. You know like we get it like were kind of obsessed with her too. I just think something about that. It's like A. It's like an x factor. There's something that works wchs with this actress that just made it made it all come together so well said Yeah. I mean this movie on its surface. It wants to make this murder mystery and then you realize I mean this really is a movie about this personality that everyone is drawn to as you say that everyone wants to possess you realize that we're kind of just as guilty of it as all the characters in the movie. And that's I think the testament of a well-made well-crafted film that it can kind of project onto the viewer were it's the same dynamic that's going on onscreen and reflects a special special film in the end. What Raquel anything else you'd like to discuss about Laura? I have to say I love the set for like it's a great use of objects in film in a film home Just first of all the painting. The painting is up fairly high on the over the Mantel. It's Laura looking down on everybody body. It's a beautiful painting are is drawn to it a lot. There's almost like a halo of light around her head. Almost making her look like a ghostly. Spirit that's watching watching over them. It's really interesting. It also plays her for a good amount of the beginning of the film so I thought that was really interesting and from mode I understand Rouben. Mamoulian was the first director and his wife had done an actual painting for it but then with auto premature took over. I think they scrap that painting and then they took a picture of her and beat. It looked like a painting so it looks very much like gene tyranny and I thought that was a great use of an object in a film film and then also the grandfather clocks really interesting and very key to the plot because Walled ally decker has to has a pair of them mm and he gives one to Laura and that's one way he's controlling her because we find out later that's where he hides the shotgun where when he thought he was killing Laura is he hid it in the base of the grandfather clock and that becomes key to mark McPherson solving the mystery he he and I just thought it was super interesting and then the last shot of the film I believe is is the After while delight decker is shot. You see that the the grandfather clock is destroyed as well So that was interesting that lake this object that he used to control Laura Becomes destroyed when he's destroyed saw. It just thought that was really interesting and then I love to that little game that Dana Andrews is using the mark plays with. It's like the Little Baseball Games Ames and he says that it requires a lot of control and it calms his nerves. I just thought that was just a subtle use. Something that spoke to Hugh Marks Personality as somebody who isn't authority and wants to Have Control but also tries to control his own emotions. It's very much controlling his emotions this entire time and it. They're at risk of you know. He's at risk of losing that control because of Laura herself you're out you're absolutely right so great you're one hundred percent correct and I love because I always instruct at the beginning when he first when we first see that little baseball game and it comes off often is like almost this level of kind of Sam spade indignant where he's just like you're not even interesting enough for me to pay attention to so I'm GONNA play my little game. Mm over here and you think it's extremely disrespectful. And then when he does reveal that you know takes a lot of control and it's in the way we see him kind of almost turn into it as as kind of like a safety net as the film goes on. And it's it's we think of him as this totally in control character your typical because kind of noir hero anti hero who may be seeing things to three steps ahead and you realize well or does he needed this kind of safety blanket of like okay. Calm down just be in control and he has a device. But it's you know to me. I think that that little as you say it's such an excellent singular device and I think it shows so much about about his character and how it kind of how we perceive him over the course of the film and again to your point about the the grandfather clock I think it's in the opening monologue the made reference to the grandfather clock. We certainly see it time and again we we see weld ally decker say like I'm you know I want my grandfather clock back. I'm going to come and get it and at no point until the very enderle like well that's GonNa be key to this mystery right but then at the same time when it is revealed will of course it was the grandfather clock. I Love uh-huh that's kind of overt like you know okay. Well that object is gonNA come up later because that it'd be put too much attention to it but it's more subtle in this film. You don't know no it's actually going to be a big part of the plot until later and as you said it's like Oh yeah well of course it finds that right balance where it draws enough attention to it that you you're very aware of it and at the same time you don't suspect it and I think that speaks to the film across the board right. I mean it just knows how to play. Its audience AH correctly. I think it speaks to premature sophistication as as a director to really say. I understand kind of how audiences are going to come into this film and I know how to walk the tightrope into getting them right where I want them to have an excellent twist. Have the emotional payoff in the end. It's it's really quite something and I would be remiss not to talk about David risking score. Which I it's considered one of the best in film and also I thought it was interesting? I read a story that a lot of actresses turned down the role. Hetty Lamar turned it down of Laura Jennifer Jones Jones and Rosalind Russell. They were all offered the part and they turned it down because there wasn't enough screen time for the actress. I thought that was interesting. But I think hetty Lamar said that. Oh they sent me the script score score. It just adds so much to the film and and I think vincit prices also mentioned it in interviews after the film. That like They they made the movie. They didn't think like great things about it. I thought it it was a good film but anything great things until they watched it with the score and they were completely sold on their own film. I thought that was really interesting. That music can be so uh-huh powerful in delivering drama like this. Yeah I mean music is I love the I mean especially the scene when mark is kind of roaming her apartment. Before Laura's or is finally revealed to us the music crescendo in such a way I mean it's so tense but yeah again speaking to you know. Obviously there were lots of things wrong with the Hollywood studio system and it's not treat necessarily everyone fairly but it allowed these studios to have masters of their various area crafts at their disposal. And you get some really special films as a result and absolutely it's kind of what makes this the Hollywood they would studio systems such a fascinating era to pick through and pick through its films pick through a film that as you say that the actors could come out of it and say well that was just another film. I made not necessarily anything particularly special. And then at the same time then they watch it and say you know you can see all the other crafts that come to bear in making the film come together and you say well. That's actually. I can't believe I was in that. I was so special at the that's true. Well Raquel this was awesome as always you are a pleasure to have on the show. Why don't you tell our listeners? What's going on in your on your various blogs? Thank you so much. This was a lot of fun and if anyone wants to talk about classic movies they can find my blog out of the past out of the past blog dot com. I also have a youtube channel and facebook page for that that I'm on twitter a lot. Just my name at Raquel Stitcher and I love to talk about classic movies in new movies on there and I also have an instagram called at cal movies which Also is the name of my new movie site cal. MOVIES DOT COM. Thank you absolutely check out her sites. You are a a wealth of information on both classic movies and newer movies alike so you listeners by all means check out recalls work Raquel. Thank you so much for coming on and I look forward to your return in the future. Yes absolutely thank you so much. That concludes our episode on Laura. I would love to hear what you think of this. Classic Movie Must Feel Free To tweet at movie. Must Pod or email classic movie must at gmail.com email dot com. You can listen to all our episodes on our website as well as learn more about the show at classic movie must dot Com. You can support the show and get access to classic movie must double feature as well as Max's movie must over on Patriots Fan. You can also become a producer of the show. Just like Don Hoffman Lee. Eleanor B the Max. Thank you all so much for your generous patronage checkout alert Patriots Support Tears and their awards at Patriotic Dot com slash classic movie must remember episodes. Release every Friday on all podcast services. Thank you so much for listening until the next episode. Keep up with your classics six.

Coming up next