11 August 2008

Laura by Preminger, 1944

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 9:15 am


1 Comment »

  1. This is a very strange movie. Laura is dead for the first half of the movie, and instead of seriously trying to solve the crime the detective falls in love with the dead woman. It’s all about men’s obsession with this woman, an obsession based on her image — the portrait hanging above her mantel — and not on anything about her really. So her death doesn’t stop the love men bestow on her, since she’s always been only an inanimate object of their desire. When at last Laura “returns from the dead,” the detective never expresses any concern about the real victim of the crime. Instead his investigation continues to focus on Laura, and his identification of suspects feels more like an elimination of rivals. When he brings Laura in for questioning, knowing that she didn’t commit the murder, it’s mostly to derive sadistic pleasure from questioning her under duress, putting her under the intense beam of his attention. He would like to kill her too, to reduce her entirely to the inanimate object of his own obsession. And Laura loves all these men, or rather allows herself to become the object of desire for them all. This is a movie that affords a Lacanian reading for sure.

    Gene Tierney is ravishing, and the cinematographer knew how to present her for the viewer’s maximum pleasure. We all fall in love with her cinematic image.


    Comment by ktismatics — 11 August 2008 @ 10:42 pm

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