Eyes of Laura Mars (1978)

eyeslauraOh, those Eyes of Laura Mars and the things they see! As played by Faye Dunaway, her Network Oscar still fairly fresh, Ms. Mars is a photographer by trade whose violent, sexual, trashy shots court an equal share of hype and hysteria, and best can be described as something you’d expect to see in the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalog, should the lingerie purveyor ever publish a catalog post-doomsday.

With a ridiculous amount of media attention showered on her book-release party — complete with live, televised footage from the red carpet — Laura’s big night is deflated by news of the mysterious murder of her book’s editor. It’s merely the first in a series of stabbings to come.

eyeslaura1That Laura “sees” the homicides happening in her mind is problematic enough. (That Dunaway plays it like the proverbial deer in the headlights is another.) That the crimes are staged to match some of her photos is worse. Investigating is a police detective (Tommy Lee Jones in the unibrow-and-hair-helmet phase of his career) for whom she starts to fall, despite being a suspect.

As directed by Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back), the film is as expected: a workmanlike thriller sporting as much gloss as the pages of fashion mags that pay Laura’s utility bills. But as dreamt up and co-written by Halloween maestro John Carpenter, it’s a real disappointment. His made-for-TV movie of the same year, Someone’s Watching Me!, generates considerably more suspense at half the star wattage. —Rod Lott

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