Bringing Laura to Life

In order to create a film adaptation of a movie, the moviemaking crew has to consider the many aspects that allow a written story to be represented in visual form. The difference between a book and a movie is that a book allows for much more imagination from the reader. On the other hand, movies portray everything for the viewer, and it is the moviemakers’ jobs to try to live up to everyone’s expectations about the novel turned film, including the novel’s author.

I think that this novel in particular is a difficult one to adapt into a film because it is in the genre of mystery. This requires great coordination with keeping secrets between characters on screen and playing with dramatic irony, etc. This being said, I think that one of the most important scenes in the book is when the characters find out that Laura is not the victim, but that she is very much alive. This is a crucial moment for obvious reasons, as it sets up the rest of the story by completely changing its direction. Without this scene, there would have to be a different way for the characters to find out that the real victim of the murder was Diane, and it seems strange for the plot to continue without the characters’ knowledge of Laura being alive. Also, in part three of the book, where the story continues through Laura’s perspective, we get a lot of information that serves a clues for the murder case. This would not be possible without having this scene preceding it. We also learn a lot about her relationships with other people, especially Waldo, so there is really no way to avoid this scene.

As for how this scene should be depicted, I believe that it requires a delicate touch with the back and forth reactions from both Laura and Detective McPherson, so that it can have the correct effect on the viewer. This scene was really fun for me to read because of the shock that Detective McPherson went through. If I were giving suggestions to the producers, directors, and editors of this scene, I would propose that lighting is one of the key cinematographic features. I imagine the scene to be dimly lit so as to create an atmosphere of mystery and a sort of eerie sensation at first. Maybe half lit faces would be a good idea. I also think that a combination of full body shots of Laura with extreme close ups of Detective McPherson are very important, and maybe some back and forth shots of the two characters as well.

For the acting part of the scene, the facial expressions on both characters have to be very intentional, as well. Because both characters are extremely surprised by what is happening in that moment, they both have surprised looks on their faces. However, the type of surprise is different for both of them. I think that, since the rest of the story is very serious and dramatic, this scene could be made to be a little humorous with the revelation of the big surprise. This will help lighten the mood for a second and could serve in the success of the film.


Below is a link that describes different types of shots in film and what effects they create for the viewer.



Contis, Eva. “Types of Shots in a Film: The First Tools to Building a Shot List.” Careers In Film: 

Film Schools & Colleges, 9 Oct. 2019,

Myers, Scott. “Classic 40s Movie: ‘Laura.’” Medium, Go Into The Story, 28 Oct. 2016,

“Laura by Vera Caspary.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 1 Oct. 2005,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *