Sunday, May 8, 2011

Faye Dunaway in Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

Obscurity factor: 3

This film is really more notorious than obscure, but many people haven't seen it, so I thought I'd include it. Laura Mars is a successful fashion photographer in the mold of Helmut Newton. Her images combine the gloss of fashion with violent imagery. When the people she works with start turning up dead, brutally murdered, the police become interested in her work because her fashion photos closely resemble their unpublished crime scene images. As the case develops a strange things starts to happen - Laura begins to have visions of the crimes as seen through the killer's eyes.

This film, which was produced by Jon Peters, while he was still dating Barbra Streisand, is very stylish in both acting style and presentation - so much so that it gets in the way of the story at times. The visuals are really remarkable and worth the price of admission and Faye Dunaway gives a very studied and self consciously serious performance that can be fun to watch. Streisand turned down the role, but ended up recording the theme for the film.

Look for this film on DVD. Above is a featurette filmed during the making of Eyes that is fun to watch, and gives you an idea of what to expect. It was uploaded to YouTube by CyanArea. The poster above is available from

Obscurity factor: 3 (Available on DVD, has cult following)


  1. Good choice. I haven't seen this film in years!

    Keen up the great work, Ben. Love to Brini. ;-)

  2. It's a good one - very Studio 54

  3. Funny that a madly over-marketed and so well branded film would end up in the obscure category. Funny, but accurate too: in the end, the package consisted of a brilliant poster, bundled with a fine but unexceptional thriller, as quickly dated as an Alice Faye war musical.

    Saw it then (at the Grauman Chinese, I kid you not), and also a few weeks ago. Faye is good. It's just about the last performance in which she looks like herself. As with Catherine Deneuve, I miss her terribly. I don't relate so much with the surgically modified drones who claim to be Faye or Catherine for the last decades.

    Anyway, what I remembered from Laura Mars in 1978 - and it was confirmed in 2011 - is Auberjonois and Dourif chewing up the scenery. Stealing a movie from Dunaway isn't easy. It takes the (wonderful) two of them to pull it off...

  4. Yes, Auberjonois is fun in it, but the circumstance they put him in are pretty ridiculous...

  5. I saw this with a friend when it was originally released. I have not seen it since then, but for some reason had thought about it recently and thought I would see if it was available via Netflix. I did not do that at the time, but your posting prompted me to put it into my queue. I wonder if it will hold up. At least the late-'70s New York City atmosphere will be fun to see.

    Oliver's comment reminds me of an article that was in the New York Times a few months ago. It was about how French women age differently than American women, and how they do not need any work on their faces to look young. The article focused on how Catherine Deneuve looks so good for her age and has never had a thing done. Well, you should have seen the responses to that article!

  6. Poor Faye. She should have had a Meryl Streep career, but was kind of forgotten in the '80s.

    They looks like a good film. Thanks :)

  7. Yes, it was all down hill from Mommie Dearest...

  8. In regards to Anonymous' comment re: Catherine Deneuve. For -- I promise -- non-pretentious reasons, I spent a lot of time in Paris, and the subject of Catherine Deneuve's failed "Chirurgie Esthétique" has come up many a time over the past few years.

    (And I don't think French women age differently. Just that, unlike a lot of American women, they don't seem to stop caring about their appearance.)

  9. Deneuve (born 1943) looks like herself up to Place Vendôme (1998). By the time of Time Regained (1999), she looks like Daisy Duck, not like older Catherine.

    Faye (born 1941) looks like herself up to the dreary First Deadly Sin (1980), and stopped being recognizable after Handmaid's Tale (1990).

    I am not being ageist. I can relate to old Jane Fonda and old Anouk Aimée. If these two had "things done," it was done well and did not change their faces.

  10. The film's title is "Eyes of Laura Mars" not "The Eyes of Laura Mars."

  11. You're right, it is. I'll change that. Thank you.