The Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) invites you to "Meet Me at the Movies," Friday November 19, 2010 at 6:30 p.m. at Sherwood Community Music School, Columbia College recital hall, 1312 S. Michigan Ave.
The setting for Laura is set amongst New York City’s upper crust, with Detective McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigating the murder of beautiful advertising executive Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). The suspects are some of her closest friends and associates including fiancé (Vincent Price), aunt (Judith Anderson), and mentor (Clifton Webb).
When production on Laura started, no one believed that the end product would we worth seeing. From the beginning the project was problematic. Arguments between studio boss Darryl Zanuck and the original director, Rouben Mamoulian ended in Mamoulian being fired. Zanuck then assigned Otto Preminger, already the film’s producer, to be its director too. The only problem: Preminger had never directed a motion picture before.
Under Preminger’s supervision, what began as a fairly ordinary murder mystery, turned out to be a critical and box office success. Gene Tierney in the title role became a superstar and was forever identified with the beautiful, enigmatic Laura Hunt. Dana Andrews, as Detective Mark McPherson, established himself as a major star and popular leading man. Clifton Webb, who hadn’t made a movie since the early days of talking pictures, earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Waldo Lydecker. Thomas M. Pryor, in his October 12, 1944 New York Times review called Laura “a top-drawer mystery.”
With some of the sharpest and wittiest dialogue ever recorded on film, Laura set the standard for 1940s film noir. Andrews’s portrayal of McPherson became a prototype for what would become known as the hard-boiled detective, influencing a generation of movie actors. Pryor from the Times put it this way: “Mr. Andrews is fast proving himself to be a solidly persuasive performer, a sort of younger-edition Spencer Tracy.”
The musical score by David Raksin is one of the most hauntingly beautiful movie themes ever recorded.