Vera Caspary, Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, Elizabeth Reinhardt, and Otto Preminger, 1944

A woman named Laura has died, and as the detective investigating the case conducts his interrogations, he begins to fall in love with her.

From what I'd heard about this movie, I was expecting something elliptical and atmospheric. Instead, it's practically a comedy. Every line just screams, "Hello! It's us, the writers! Aren't we witty?" And even though sometimes the answer is yes, I prefer more naturalism. A lot of the movie is based on emotional arcs, but very little emotion comes through in the performances.

I first heard of this movie in 1990, when it was cited as a chief inspiration for Twin Peaks. I was not actually a Twin Peaks fan, but it was such a big phenomenon that even trivia about it was hard to miss. Even harder to miss are the parallels between Laura and Twin Peaks — they're a lot more obvious than I expected.

I saw on the back of the DVD package that Vincent Price was in the movie. I then proceeded to spend the entire movie thinking that Clifton Webb was Vincent Price! Like, I knew Vincent Price was only in his 30s when the movie was made, but Webb looked so much like Price ended up looking later in life that I honestly thought that Price just looked preternaturally aged even in his youth. As it turns out, Price plays the guy who looks like a cornfed football player!

Speaking of the DVD package, I'm glad I didn't read it very closely, because the blurb on the back gives away the most important part of the movie. Idiots!

Finally, while a lot of the character stuff doesn't work — characters supposedly into one another evince no discernible chemistry — there's one element of the movie that requires no explanation. To wit: throughout the film, people get a glimpse of Laura and instantly become her love slaves, even after she's dead. Are we really supposed to believe that?

In a word, yes.

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