Literature / Laura

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"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..."
Waldo Lydecker

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.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Mark always has his rolling ball maze on hand, causing no amount of annoyance to Waldo while he is being questioned.
  • Camp Straight: Waldo.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pair of identical clocks. Waldo and Laura both have one in their homes. Mark finds a secret compartment in Waldo's, which Laura doesn't know exists on hers. That's where Waldo hides a shotgun for the final sequence.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: There is a montage of all the pretty clothes Waldo bought Laura.
  • The Dandy: Waldo again.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Waldo, in spades.
  • Film Noir: The film isn't really dark in theme, but has many of the style tropes of that genre.
  • 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). Ann, unlike Laura, fully understands this, and believes this is why she and Shelby are perfect for each other; she'll never expect him to be better than he is.
  • 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."
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Waldo. His final speech is this in a nutshell.
  • 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, albeit with her in his arms.
  • May–December Romance: Shelby and Ann are together. Subverted, as he's really only in it because he's a gold-digger and she has money.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Laura has natural magnetism and charisma, but she was stuck as a lowly office worker before Waldo's guiding hand and networking connections gave her the boost she needed. This fact also gives Waldo a sense of entitlement towards Laura, as he's the one who got her off the ground in the first place.
  • Nice Girl: Everyone loves Laura, with good reason; she's genuinely a nice and successful person.
  • 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: The clothes Waldo buys Laura includes a few furs, including a fox wrap, a mink cape, and even a knee length fur skirt.
  • Red Herring: Ann seems the most suspicious of the earliest cast of characters, secretly seeing Shelby and not seeming all that troubled over Laura's murder soon after it happens. She's innocent, though.
    • Shelby also turns out to be this.
  • 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.
  • Secondary Character Title: While she certainly drives the plot, Laura can in no way be considered the protagonist of this movie. That's Detective Mark McPherson.
  • Starts with Their Funeral: Laura's, even though it turned out to be mistaken.
  • Westminster Chimes: The doorbell in Laura's home.
  • Yandere: Waldo turns out to be this.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Laura