The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, December 9-15

Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews in Otto Preminger’s LAURA (1944). Courtesy Film Forum via Photofest. Playing December 11/12

Laura (1944)
Directed by Otto Preminger
“Are the processes of the creative mind now under the jurisdiction of the police?” This is the first of many such pompous inquiries that define Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), one of cinema’s most iconic jilted lovers. The object of his affections is the eponymous Laura (Gene Tierney), represented by an ever-presiding portrait that inspires creative infatuation from the perpetually cool Preminger regular Dana Andrews, whose laid-back presence allows the Austrian perfectionist to portray the petty follies of New York high society in endlessly entertaining fashion. Preminger’s strategically ornate mise-en-scène allows for the film to slip easily between memory and the present, setting the model for all subsequent mysteries devoted to the haunting influence of the past. Resplendent and assured, Laura endures through its recalcitrant aesthetic distance as one of the standout noirs from the form’s golden period. Eric Barroso (December 11, 2:30pm, 6:10pm; December 12, 1pm, 7:30pm, 9:20pm at Film Forum’s “Women Crime Writers”)

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