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Literature: Laura

Waldo: "I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. A silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection. I felt as if I were the only human being left in New York. For with Laura's horrible death, I was alone. I, Waldo Lydecker, was the only one who really knew her..."

Detective Mark McPherson is investigating the murder of Laura Hunt, who had become one of the biggest names in the advertising business, thanks largely to the help and influence of her mentor, Waldo Lydecker. Mark puts together the pieces that led up to the murder, and questions everyone from Laura's aunt to her fiance, but Mark is slowly falling love with the late Laura, particularly from staring at her portrait.

But Mark then wakes up to see Laura in the apartment. It turned out another woman was murdered in that place, but the body was so mutilated that there was no way to identify it at the time, and Laura was away without a means to hear about what happened.

Now that the apparent target is still alive, it becomes doubly important to find the killer.

Laura is a 1943 novel by Vera Caspary. Originally, the story was supposed to be a play, but, after it failed to materialize, it was written into as a book. The novel was adapted into a classic 1944 film starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, and Vincent Price. It was also later adapted into a TV play.

Provides Examples Of:

  • Big "NO!": Bessie the maid lets out a very loud "NO!" after Mark arrests Laura for murder. (It's a bluff.)
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Sort of. Mark always has his rolling ball maze on hand, causing no amount of annoyance to Waldo while he is being questioned.
  • Camp Straight: Waldo.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: All the pretty clothes Waldo bought Laura.
  • Film Noir
  • Flashback: Much of the first half of the film is told this way, as other characters recount their relationships with Laura.
  • Gold Digger: Vincent Price's Shelby is a male example of this, first latching onto Laura, then onto her even more well-to-do aunt Ann (Judith Anderson).
  • If I Can't Have You: Waldo tried to kill Laura for choosing another man over him.
  • It's All About Me: Waldo is highly self-centered. His recollections of Laura are all through the filter of how awesome he is.
    "In my case, self-absorption is completely justified. I have never discovered any other subject quite so worthy of my attention."
  • Loving a Shadow: Subverted. It turns out Laura is pretty much what Mark imagined her to be, even if it's not clear if they end up together.
  • Maybe Ever After: Mark is clearly in love with Laura, and she kisses him before the climactic confrontation, but then the film ends.
  • Pimped Out Cape: Laura wears a cape studded with pearls on the shoulder in one scene, and a mink cape in another.
  • Pretty in Mink: A few furs, including Laura wearing a fox wrap, a mink cape, and even a knee length fur skirt.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Laura's reaction upon getting home and being informed that she was murdered three days ago.
  • The Reveal: Laura being alive was a big twist, even if it came at the middle instead of the end.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: Even though it turned out to be mistaken.
  • Westminster Chimes: The doorbell in Laura's home.

Johnny TremainLiterature of the 1940sThe Library of Babel
Double IndemnityFilm NoirMurder, My Sweet
L.A. ConfidentialCrime FictionLincoln Rhyme
Last Year at MarienbadRoger Ebert Great Movies ListLawrence of Arabia
The Shop Around the CornerNational Film RegistryA Streetcar Named Desire
Lady in the DarkFilms of the 1940sLifeboat
Kiss Me DeadlyDanny Peary Cult Movies ListThe Little Shop of Horrors
Lake PlacidCreator/ 20 th Century FoxLeave Her to Heaven
A Letter to Three WivesCreator/Magnetic VideoAll That Jazz

alternative title(s): Laura; Laura
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