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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eyes Of Laura Mars

       Laura Mars is a New York fashion photographer who specializes in violent and overtly sexual images.  Her "art" causes controversy, and she's the toast of the town.  Everything is just fabulous until somebody starts brutally murdering her friends and acquaintances in the chic fashion world of New York City in the 70's. To make matters worse, some of Laura's photos, unknown to her, are exact matches of shots of real-life crime scenes in the NYPD crime book.  To top all of this off, Laura begins to see the murders happening through her own eyes... brief visions of the murders, which can seize her vision at any given time... Throw in a title tune sung by none other than Barbra Streisand, and you've got the EYES OF LAURA MARS...

     There are so many things to say about EYES OF LAURA MARS that I'm not sure where to begin.  This movie is awesomely campy, there's no doubt about that. Perfectly capturing New York City circa 1978, the film is an absolute gem of 70's style and fashions. Chock full of delicious disco tunes, it's a strange but definitely original suspense film. Faye Dunaway leads an all-star cast here- Tommy Lee Jones, Brad Dourif, and Raul Julia just to name a few. With a story by John Carpenter, slick, inventive cinematography and solid, stylish direction by Irvin Kirshner, the film is a tense and gorgeous little mystery/suspense shocker. It has all the makings of a great movie, and almost succeeds. There are quite a few things wrong with the film but I think overall the good outweigh the bad.

     When Babs begins singing "Prisoner" (Love Theme From EYES OF LAURA MARS), you know you're in for a treat. Streisand, you ask? This is a Jon Peters production, you see. Faye Dunaway is nothing short of perfection here. One of our greatest actresses, she is thoroughly believable in her role- even though the film itself is far from perfect. Besides Laura,  Rene Auberjonois is fabulously flamboyant as her best friend and assistant. Brad Dourif is his usually creepy self as Laura's driver. Rounding out the crazy cast of characters is Tommy Lee Jones, who sports one of the worst uni-brows in celluloid history as he plays a cop determined to find out who's picking off members of the fashion world.

     Okay let't be honest here- EYES OF LAURA MARS is quite ridiculous, actually. But Faye and friends do give the botched film all they've got, and makes for an extremely entertaining viewing experience. There's many over-the-top scenes to enjoy, and besides being a time-capsule delight of the 70's, we're still treated to some somewhat suspenseful murder sequences and fabulous fashion sequences. If you're looking for a deliciously campy murder mystery that makes a great double feature with DRESSED TO KILL, then this is your film. By the way, EYES OF LAURA MARS was featured in TERROR IN THE AISLES, which I love.

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