Laura comes to Blu-ray

Monday, 21 January 2019 13:41

Eureka Entertainment kick off their 2019 releases with a film noir Oscar winner by director Otto Preminger (“Stalag 17”). A murder mystery where the titular character has already been offed as the film opens, “Laura” is primarily told in a series of flashbacks as we learn about Laura (Gene Tierney – “Leave Her to Heaven”), a captivating marketing designer, and the huddle of men and women in her social circle.

Det Lt Mark McPherson picks up the case after Laura has been shot in the head. Amongst the small number of likely suspects is Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb – “The Razor’s Edge”), a sharp-tongued columnist who took Laura under his wing, unscrupulous playboy Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price – “House on Haunted Hill”) and Anne Treadwell (Judith Anderson – “Rebecca”), Laura’s aunt who has more than a passing interesting in Shelby.

The film keeps things neat and tidy with only a handful of locations and relatively few persons of interest, though that is not to say that the killer is easily revealed. Det. McPherson (Dana Andrews – “The Best Years of Our Lives”) may have a forward style of policing but these are very slippery people, each with a potential motive for murder.

A cunning twist around the half-way point in the story throws everything up in the air, challenging existing perceptions and adding extra fizz to proceedings. Had the film been released today, M. Night Shyamalan would probably have been involved, and indeed the film feels quite modern in its delivery.

The Oscar was won for the moody, black and white cinematography of Joseph LaShelle (“The Apartment”), and this Blu-ray release absolutely does it justice. The image is sharp and crisp, and the actors and sets are luxuriously dressed and lit. Light and shade play off every surface as the characters’ good and bad qualities emerge. All the while, a gorgeous painting of Laura looks on - a notable presence in the room, despite her physical absence.

I really enjoyed “Laura” – it is taut, pacey, the dialogue is often amusingly prickly and the case is intriguing. I was compelled to find out the killer’s identity.

Special features include:

  • 1080p presentation on Blu-ray of both the extended and original theatrical versions of the film
  • LPCM mono Audio
  • Optional English SDH subtitles
  • Audio commentary by composer David Raksin and film professor Jeanine Basinger
  • Audio commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer
  • “Laura: The Lux Radio Theater broadcasts”. Two radio adaptations of Laura from 1945 [59 mins] and 1954 [57 mins], starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Vincent Price in the 1945 version, and Gene Tierney and Victor Mature in the 1954 version
  • “Laura: The Screen Guild Theater broadcast”. Adaptation of Laura from radio anthology series, The Screen Guild Theater, originally aired in 1945 [30 mins], starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb
  • “Laura: The Ford Theater broadcast”. A further radio adaptation of Laura from 1948, starring Virginia Gilmore and John Larkin
  • “A Tune for Laura”: David Raksin Remembers an archival interview with the renowned composer
  • “The Obsession” - an archival featurette on “Laura”
  • Deleted Scene
  • A collector’s booklet featuring a new essay by Phil Hoad, alongside a selection of rare archival imagery

“Laura” (1944) is out now, courtesy of Eureka Entertainment Ltd. The main feature has a running time of 88 minutes approx, carries a ‘PG’ certificate and retails for £17.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Monday, 04 March 2019 13:45

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