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Laura Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24
  • Audio Codec: DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0; French Dolby Digital 1.0; Spanish Dolby Digital 1.0
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Dutch
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: None
  • Running Time: 87 minutes
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 5, 2013
  • List Price: $24.99

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

This is what film noirs are all about. Laura bears the stamp of Hollywood great Otto Preminger who produced and directed. We get a great mystery, an addictive soundtrack by David Raksin, and a cast par excellence.

A police lieutenant, Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the death of socialite Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney) who received a fatal shotgun blast to the face. McPherson begins with Laura’s paramour, the much older gossip columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb). As our detective follows the clues, matters become more complicated. Weaving a tangled web, we watch Laura climb the ranks of the advertising world with Lydecker’s assistance. Relationships become more complex as Laura becomes involved with Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price), a down-at-the-heels fortune seeker, much against Waldo’s wishes. When the title character miraculously comes back from the dead (the deceased was actually Carpenter’s on-the-side girl friend), the action heats up. The wild card in this game is Laura’s aunt, Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson) who is also in love with Carpenter.  The untangling of the web woven by these characters make this a captivating watch.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]


This 1944 film has received a loving and skillful restoration in this release. There is an amazing lack of grain, streaking, washout and other film artifacts. Joseph LaShelle’s cinematography is intimate and probing, giving us many views of the gorgeous Tierney face, and gets the viewers right into the drama.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]


The mono soundtrack, given a DTS-HD Master Audio treatment, is refreshingly crisp with excellent dialog presentation. The musical score, with its haunting theme, comes across quite well.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

20th Century Fox provides a generous collection of extras.

  • Commentary by composer Raksin, and film professor Jeanine Basinger
  • Commentary by film historian Rudy Behlmer
  • An A&E biography feature: Gene Tierney: A Shattered Portrait and Vincent Price: The Versatile Villain
  • Deleted Scene (that shows up on the Extended version)
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • The Obsession: a 14-minute vignette using shots from the film that deal with this theme that motivates two of the principal characters when it comes to our heroine.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]


The film noir genre of 1940’s mysteries scaled the heights of that decade, and Laura is certainly one of the best representatives of film noir.  Filmgoers who are hooked on Bogart films or the like will instantly recognize the dramatic touches that entranced them. This current restoration erases nearly 70 years of time and gives us what audiences of that bygone era would probably have experienced. Laura received a number of Academy Award nominations and won the Oscar for Best Black and White Cinematography. It is one of those films that catches hold and does not release until its conclusion. To avoid the spoiler, I can only say to new viewers that you will keep watching this one until the very end. A performance to be treasured, for sure, and one that makes you wish that more films were this well crafted.

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
Laura - Fullscreen Dubbed Subtitle Dolby - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Laura on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com


[amazon-product]B00AF4OTM6[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
Laura - Fullscreen Dubbed Subtitle Dolby - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase Laura on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]



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3 COMMENTS

    • Hi Martin,

      Laura is a film noir, and, as you may know, one of the trademarks of the genre, is blown out whites and crushed blacks. That is down to cinematography and artistic choices. The way I see it, this particular transfer still retains a level of grain, but not grittiness or over graininess. However, I’ll let Lawrence speak for himself, as he is the one who reviewed it. These are my personal opinions on the transfer. :)

    • Hi Martin, this is a matter of a viewer’s taste. While perhaps not the “authentic” old film with visual warts and all, I found this presentation to be very effective and not at all “overworked.” No one will mistake this restoration for a brand-new release bu, particularly for those who avoid older films because of their image quality this one will have substantial eye appeal.

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