Dana Andrews plays a New York City police detective named Mark McPherson, who’s investigating the death by shotgun blast of ad exec Laura Hunt (played by the lovely Gene Tierney). McPherson proceeds to interview Laura’s closest associates: Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), who takes his meeting with McPherson while soaking in the bathtub; Laura’s two-timing fiancé Shelby Carpenter (portrayed in suitably snide fashion by Vincent Price); Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson), the focus of Carpenter’s gigolo ways; and Laura’s faithful housekeeper, Betsy (played by Dorothy Adams).
And as McPherson learns more about the victim, he starts to obsess over her, to the point where Lydecker accuses him of falling in love with a corpse.
Well, seems Lydecker was no slacker when it came to adoring the dead girl. McPherson discovers that Lydecker used his newspaper column to steer potential suitors away from Laura.
The big twist in this movie is one I won’t reveal, just in case you haven’t seen it. I’ll just say that the story revolves around love and obsession, with shades of a kind of reverse Electra complex.
Of the ending, I’ll only say this may be one of the happiest film noir endings I’ve seen. The story is wrapped up with all the plot threads tied together nicely (with some finagling).
Just remember: obsession can play havoc with your love life. And meeting people while taking a bath is simply undignified.
Between the beauty of its score and the twists and turns of the plot, the movie works so well. However, this film transcends the film noir genre or style.
I give this classic film two thumbs up!