Gene Tierney isn't one of those names which leaps off the page in quite the same way of many of her contemporaries - Rita Heyworth, Lauren Becall, Ingrid Bergman amongst the most fabulous of them - do. This certainly isn't because she wasn't as good an actress - just check her out as beautiful mentalist in the classic 1945 film Leave Her to Heaven. It may be that her best roles have just been eye-slashingly perverse. Tierney's role in this film is to act as a cypher for most of the other characters desires - she's a big ol beautiful mirror in which they each make an ideal that most suits them from, and so her weird relative anonymity's works completely here.
Dana Andrews plays hardboiled Detective Mark McPherson, investigating the case of Laura Hunt, the now faceless victim of a shotgun murder. Gradually, as he interrogates the singularly immoral suspects, and sits around her flat drinking too much of her whiskey and staring too hard at a massive portrait of Laura, he finds himself falling in love with the dead woman.
Clifton Webb plays the viciously self-obsessed media celebrity Waldo Lydecker, who Laura acts as companion too (and who has secured Laura's career). Vincent Price plays Laura's flakey playboy fiance Shelby Carpenter, and Dorothy Adam's gets to reprieve a little of her obsessive servant former glory.
Perhaps the really perverse twist is the triumph of traditionalism and the re-assertion of traditional gender roles that the film ends on, although there is an interesting theory (echoed by the films obvious influence on David Lynch) that the entire second half of the film can be read as dream sequence.
Keep an eye out too for Laura's disgusting lampshades, without a doubt the most hideous objects in all film history.