Mark McPherson – a “dual” reading *

* Opened  by DESPINA VENETI

COP, INTERRUPTED : THE INSTILLATION OF A DREAM

 INITIAL WALDO-MARK DYNAMICS: POWER GAMES

The exquisite opening of Laura again instantly provides the first clues about detective Mark McPherson’s personality. This was to be a star-making role for Dana Andrews, who fought to get it after Lewis Milestone secretly handed him over a copy of the script, advising him to get that part no matter what. Andrews had actually met Preminger at Milestone’s house, and Otto was in favor of casting him. The actor furthermore managed to turn around Zanuck’s initial reluctance (he wanted John Hodiak for the role), by gaining the sympathy of his wife.

Andrews, Dana (Ox-Bow Incident, The)_NRFPT_01

Dana Andrews in “The Ox-Bow Incident” (1943), one year prior to “Laura”. It was the role that truly got him noticed as an actor.

Andrews’s McPherson enters Waldo’s apartment with an obvious self-confidence – and semi-indifference- of a man who has indeed “seen it all”, although he’s also somewhat intrigued, if not amused, by this museum-like “home” he sees. Waldo, in his own voiceover, reveals that he wanted to show the detective that it’s only he who’s the boss in his own house (“I had him wait”), and wanting to make that even more clear, he didn’t even bother to interrupt his bath, which he combined with typing from inside his bathtub. Continue reading

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