Dana Andrews Blogathon: My Eternal Love For Laura
I first saw Laura about two years ago during the inaugural Noirvember in 2010 (which later led to the creation of the filmnoirandfemmefatales as run by salesonfilm and myself). I loved it when I first saw it, but I watched so many films after it (2010 was the year I watched 517 new-to-me films, followed by 1117 in 2011) that it kind of got lost in the ether.
However, last fall MiDNiTES FOR MANiACS did a triple feature consisting of Laura, the Twin Peaks pilot and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at the Roxie Theatre, which gave me a chance to revisit the film and I fell in love all over again. A few months later, I got the chance to see Laura on the big screen at the Castro Theatre, not once – but twice!, thanks to Noir City X.
I must say, seeing Laura on the big screen twice in one day was maybe the best decision I have ever made. See, I went to see Laura first, followed by another film based on a novel by Vera Caspary called Bedelia, after which they were showing Laura again. I had planned to go home, but this second screening of Laura was to be introduced by Andrews’s daughter Susan. Obviously, I could not leave without hearing what she had to say. Then I just got sucked into the film. I thought I wrote down notes or recorded what Susan said, but after checking my recorder and finding nothing and a frantic look through all of my notebooks just now, I realize that did not happen. For the life of me I can’t remember a single thing she said about this film. I do, however, vaguely recall that she mentioned this performance being one of her father’s favorites and that it was a very different performance than most cops of the time. The more I watch this film, the more I agree with that assessment.
His performance seems so modern and so out of place in a film from 1944. But I think that is part of why this film has aged so well. The reason Jesse Hawthorne Ficks paired this film with Twin Peaks, is that it was one of David Lynch’s inspirations (the portrait, the diary, etc. etc.) and also that Andrews’s Detective Mark McPherson was a huge influence on the creation of Special Agent Dale Cooper, but also on Kyle McLaughlin’s performance as well.
I definitely recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of Lynch’s twisted Twin Peaks world. While nothing can match the eccentricities of the characters that inhabit that world, those whom you find in the world of Laura are pretty bizarre themselves. I’m willing to bet even those people who think they don’t like classic Hollywood (I don’t want to know you if that’s the case, but I know these people exist), will enjoy this film.
Having now seen it three times on the big screen, I got myself a copy of it for my birthday last month and did a much-needed at-home rewatching. This is a film that gets better every time you watch it and every time you watch it, more and more layers of its genius get exposed. I think this is a film whose impact on Hollywood has been sorely overlooked and I hope it will gain in its prestige as the years pass and more people discover just how brilliant it really is.
Check out all of the posts for the Dana Andrews Blogathon here.
Posted on July 27, 2012, in Classic Film and tagged Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews, David Lynch, Gene Tierney, Laura, Otto Preminger, Twin Peaks, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, Vera Caspary. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.