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Laura (1944)

20th Century Fox

Cast: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price.

Rating: NR

Run time: 87 mins..

Genre: Crime

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

With Double Indemnity and Laura in theatres, 1944 was a great year for Film Noir.

Both films retain their magical power more than 60 years later and have never looked better, thanks to DVD technology.

While Double Indemnity was a raw story of lust and greed, Laura built its unforgettable love story around jealousy and betrayal.

The gorgeous Gene Tierney is the Laura of the title, a talented and beautiful advertising associate savagely shot to death in her elegant New York apartment. Streetwise detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates and finds a shifty circle of friends who knew Laura - and might have had reason to kill her.

They include the boyfriend (Vincent Price) she'd recently decided not to marry and his older secret lover (Judith Anderson). Acid-tongued newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker, Laura's much older mentor, introduces McPherson to not-so-polite society and offers up a few theories of his own about her killer.

The more he delves, the more McPherson becomes obsessed with the stylish Laura and soon finds himself irrationally falling in love with a woman he can never know.

Then, in one of the great plot twists in movie history, McPherson has an encounter with a ghost...

A brilliant script and a fine cast (including an Oscar-winning turn by Webb) plus the unforgettable theme music by David Raksin help make Laura a timeless delight.

The movie has been beautifully restored and there are some fine extras, including the A&E Biography documentaries on the lives of Vincent Price and Gene Tierney.

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