Mesa Library Shows Droll Murder Mystery ‘Laura’

Movie poster for ‘Laura.’ Courtesy photo

 

Review by KELLY DOLEJSI

If a leading lady in a 1940s Hollywood film noir is smart, sweet, witty, beautiful, and kind, two things are certain. One, every man onscreen will fall in love with her, and two, she has to die.

Mesa Public Library will screen “Laura” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs meeting-room “theater” as part of its Free Film Series.

In “Laura” (1944), showing Thursday at Mesa Public Library, Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) is a shrewd advertising executive with a young, innocent face and a string of romantic attachments that doth offend one particular male friend, Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb).

Or at least, she was. In the film’s opening scene, Det. Lt. Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) visits Lydecker to question him about Hunt’s murder. While they speak, Lydecker, an older gentleman with many connections and a penchant for flagrantly self-serving behavior, eventually rises from the bowels of his interrupted bath to dress and accompany the well-proportioned detective on the rest of his interviews.

We soon meet the other suspects: Hunt’s jaunty fiance, Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price); her secretive aunt, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson); and the victim’s fiercely protective maid, Bessie Clary (Dorothy Adams). They, like Lydecker, say absolutely nothing believable. The mystery broils beneath the repartee.

Who killed Hunt? It almost doesn’t matter. The murder and its droll aftermath offer so much fun on their own.

The film received several Oscar nominations, including Best Actor (Webb), Best Director (Otto Preminger), Best Writing (Screenplay by Jay Dratler), and Best Art Direction. It won for Best Cinematography (Black and White).

As always, thanks to the Friends of Los Alamos County Libraries, admission to this film is free.

On May 7, the Free Film Series presents “The Lunchbox,” a 2013 Indian romance wherein a young woman and an older man connect through a lunchbox delivery error.

For more information, call the library at 505.662.8240 or check online at http://www.losalamosnm.us/library/Pages/default.aspx under “Upcoming Events.”

 

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