CLASSIC PROPS 3: LAURA

You wonder if Dana Andrews held onto that little gizmo he was always  working on as detective Mark McPherson in LAURA after completion of the 1944 film. It helped define McPherson’s character.

For fans of this classic film, it would certainly be a memorable piece of Hollywood  history.

The actual game is a pin ball puzzle – you try to fill the four bases of a baseball diamond with rolling balls.
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McPherson is supposed to be investigating Laura’s (Gene Tierney) murder, but he always looks disinterested, constantly looking down at the game in his hands.

Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews,

Clifton Webb, Dana Andrews.

McPherson’s unusual tactics include asking very pointed questions in a casual way whilst never looking at the person he is talking to.

For example, without looking up, he asks Lydecker (Clifton  Webb) ,”Were  you in love with Laura? Was she in love with you?”

Lydecker, who is used to being the centre of attention, finally says to McPherson, ” Will you stop dawdling with that infernal puzzle. It’s getting on my nerves.”

McPherson slowly replies, “I know , but it keeps me calm.”

We soon realise that this is a cop on the top of his game. He has investigated every suspect thoroughly and methodically questions each of them to find out their involvement with Laura.

Dana Andrews is the essence of cool in this film, except when he’s thrown off balance by the woman he thinks is dead. He underplays and commands the screen – especially when he pulls out that little gadget!

 

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