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Out of the Past: Investigating Film Noir
Otto Preminger's 1944 "Laura" marks an important transition in film history. Visually it harks back to Hollywood's Golden Era, flooding with light elaborate sets and the glamorous stars they hold--but at crucial moments a noir vision bubbles up to artfully blemish this smooth facade. It is a classic love story--except that it hinges on forbidden fantasy and murder. It at once gives a coy nod to the parlor psychology of the "Thin Man" variety of mystery, and looks forward to the dark Hitchcockian psychological thriller. It is a Janus of a film, and it may be eternally debated whether its double vision signals an end or a beginning.