In flashbacks we learn that Laura thought she loved her fiance but had doubts and so she went off to her country home to re-examine her life. Meanwhile, back at Laura's apartment, a friend fatefully asked to spend the night there. Laura consented and the movie begins with the murder of a girl who resembles Laura. The murderer thought he did his deed but did he?
While the detective was lying back on her couch in the glow of her fireplace, staring at that haunting portrait, to his astonishment the front door is unlocked and the real Laura Hunt enters. The portrait "comes to life" and McPherson, is taken aback until Laura tells him where she was and who the murdered girl was. Laura herself had no idea a crime had taken place. To make this short and sweet, the engagement is broken, the detective is hopelessly taken with Laura, the girl he thought he could never have, and she begins to have feelings for him as the movie plays out.
Waldo Lydecker, who is actually the killer, loved Laura, body and soul. No man could have her if he couldn't. This was his devastating obsession. Waldo became aware that Laura was still alive and that a romance was budding between her and the detective. He could not bear the thought of this "low-life" detective putting his hands on her. Unrequited love became hate.
At the climax of this epic, Waldo enters Laura's apartment and tries to kill her again. The detective and Waldo have a shootout and, as Waldo lay dying, he utters his final words to Laura, who is now by his side: "Goodbye Laura, Goodbye my love". The movie ends with the crime solved and the detective and Laura happy in each others arms.
Now, having told you the story and because I am a little "off-center", I actually fell for the killer, Lydecker. I was hoping for a May /Dec romance. The way he loved her was all-consuming. I found that so very attractive. Imagine to be loved beyond all reason. Unfortunately, Lydecker crossed into insanity when he killed that girl whom he thought to be Laura. But, Waldo Lydecker had another secret. It was more than insinuated that he was a gay man. He himself could not reconcile the overpowering love he held in his heart for her with who he really was.
The theme song "Laura" was just beautiful and perfect. The acting was a little over the top but just the same, this was one great movie -- Fast paced, with intrigue and romance on many levels. I highly recommend it.