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Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Film Buff: What Happened to Laura?

On today, Vincent Price's birthday, one might recall one of the many villainous, ghoulish, macabre roles for which the tall, debonair actor would become best-known. There are some good movies and bad movies in that mix, but always a memorable performance from the Missouri-born gentleman with the unique voice.

One of Price's earliest roles, and, in my opinion, one of his best films is the 1944 noir mystery, Laura.

It's a little uncanny to see Price play the soft-spoken, ingratiating Shelby Carpenter, the fiancĂ© of the title character, but his charisma is undeniable. Oh yeah, and the rest of the movie is pretty good, too.

I'm going to throw in a bonus recommendation today since it is also Dashiell Hammett's birthday. Hammett's colorful crime-solving couple, Nick and Nora Charles, step onto the silver screen in The Thin Man film series. William Powell and Myrna Loy are brilliant as the witty husband-and-wife team (pre-dating TV's Hart to Hart by roughly half a century) and are proof that they really just don't make movies like they used to. After the Thin Man (1936) might be the best of the series of six films, but I'd start with the first in the series, The Thin Man (1934).

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