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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

LAURA

The 87th Academy Awards ceremony will be televised on Sunday (8:30PM EST, ABC) night, February 22.    Neil Patrick Harris will host.  I've seen five of the eight nominations for Best Picture.  Last year I went to all of them.  Amazingly enough, one of the Best Original Songs up for the Oscar is Glen Campbell's I'm Not Gonna Miss You.  This will be his final video.  He has Alzheimer's.  Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel have 9 nominations each.  So, over the next week and a half I'll be inserting postings on films.


Last night I was searching for something on my remote, and reached Turner Classic Movies, where Robert Osborne was elocuting on Laura, a film deep in my memory, but one I hadn't yet seen.  Laura (Rotten Tomatoes reviewers'  gave it a 100% rating) was an unexpected treat.   Osborne has been the  host of TCM since 1994 when the channel was created.  He published 75 Years of the Oscar, a movie buff's heaven.  He is 84 years old.

Laura was produced in 1944, 61 years ago, and starred Gene Tierney (when she was 23), Dana Andrews (36), Clifton Webb (55) and Vincent Price (35), and directed by Otto Preminger.  They all fell in love with her, and the film began with her murder, probably by one of them.  There is a major twist when least expected.  The haunting song, Laura, by David Raksin, was the co-star of the movie, for refrains return again and again throughout the production.  Now recorded by at least 400 artists, Woody Herman (that's his voice) and his Orchestra probably was the first to sell in 1945.  Among others were Spike Jones and Frank Sinatra (worth a click).

While Laura is #4 on American Film Industries' best mystery films and gained five Academy Award nominations, it only won an Oscar for Best Black and White Cinematography.  Twelve original songs were nominated in 1945, and Laura was not one of them.  The winner was Swinging on a Star (Bing Crosby), with others in contention including I'll Walk Alone (Dinah Shore), Long Ago and Far Away (Rita Hayworth) and The Trolley Song (Judy Garland).

But the following painting from an artist who also fell in love with the subject is one of the more memorable moments in the history of film:


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