Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Award-winning film noir, "Laura", Featured by FOLA, August 1

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Award-winning film noir, "Laura", Featured by FOLA, August 1

The next FOLA movie will be the award-winning, "Laura", on Saturday, August 1 at 7 PM, at the Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium.
Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. The screenplay by Jay Dratler, Samuel Hoffenstein, and Betty Reinhardt is based on the 1943 novel of the same title by Vera Caspary. In 1999, Laura was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
When the famous advertising executive Laura Hunt is found dead in her apartment killed by a shotgun on a Friday night, Detective Lieutenant Mark McPherson is in charge of the investigation. He interviews the prime suspects and friends of Laura: the snob and arrogant journalist Waldo Lydecker who promoted Laura at the beginning of her career and fell in love with her; and her fiancé, the playboy Shelby Carpenter. While investigating Laura's past through her diary and personal letters, Det. McPherson falls in love with her.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote: Film noir is known for its convoluted plots and arbitrary twists, but even in a genre that gave us The Maltese Falcon, this takes some kind of prize ... That Laura continues to weave a spell – and it does – is a tribute to style over sanity ... All of the absurdities and improbabilities somehow do not diminish the film's appeal. They may even add to it ... The whole film is of a piece: contrived, artificial, mannered, and yet achieving a kind of perfection in its balance between low motives and high style. What makes the movie great, perhaps, is the casting. The materials of a B-grade crime potboiler are redeemed by Waldo Lydecker, walking through every scene as if afraid to step in something.
Even the music for the film was outstanding.
Once principal photography was completed, Preminger hired David Raksin to score the film. The director wanted to use "Sophisticated Lady" by Duke Ellington for the main theme, but Raksin objected to the choice. Alfred Newman, music director for Fox, convinced Preminger to give Raksin a weekend to compose an original tune. Inspired by a Dear John letter he had once received from a girlfriend, Raksin wrote the haunting theme for which Johnny Mercer later wrote lyrics. It eventually became a jazz standard recorded by more than four hundred artists, including Stan Kenton, Dick Haymes, Woody Herman, Nat King Cole, The Four Freshmen, Charlie Parker, and Frank Sinatra. Even Spike Jones did a parody version of the song. Preminger was so pleased with Raksin's score the two collaborated on four additional films.
The movie is free and open to everyone; donations are appreciated. Popcorn will be provided by Berkshire Bank and water by FOLA. For additional information, call 228-7239 or

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