‘Laura’: The Making of a Classic Film Noir – Adventures in Research


Louella Parsons’ May 15, 1944, item on Rouben Mamoulian being replaced as the director of “Laura” has inspired a long detour into the production of the film – beginning with Vera Caspary and her 1942 novel. Given the typical state of research in Hollywood biographies (heavy borrowing in lieu of original pick and shovel work) it’s not clear that much new work has been done on the film. Many sources seem to rely mainly on the account in Rudy Behlmer’s 1982 book “Behind the Scenes” (Behlmer also provided a commentary track on the DVD of the film).

Which brings me to my appeal to the brain trust:


The Library of Congress has the papers of Rouben Mamoulian, who was apparently reluctant to ever discuss being fired from the project.  In the finding aid (which may be downloaded), we find intriguing items in Boxes 76 and 77 regarding “Laura,” including various scripts, “costume and hair tests” and schedules.

A trip to Washington to examine these tantalizing items is, alas, far beyond the travel budget of the  L.A. Daily Mirror. But are there any members of the brain trust who are able to rummage through the Mamoulian items in search of something new on “Laura?” If so, drop me an email.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1944, Books and Authors, Film, Hollywood, Libraries and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ‘Laura’: The Making of a Classic Film Noir – Adventures in Research

  1. Did anyone ever take you up on your offer? I just recently watched the film again this past week, and I’ve often wondered why this film hasn’t received the Sam Staggs treatment.


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