The Eyes of Laura Mars is a movie from 1978. Faye Dunaway stars as a highly successful fashion photographer in gritty New York City. She’s a sort of female Helmut Newton, her pictures are highly sexual using violent imagery, models in couture standing at a murder scene.
At the start of the film, in the middle of a photo shoot with tons of skinny models in 70s fashion assembled around a burning car wreck at Columbus Circle, Laura suddenly can’t see what’s in front of her. Instead she sees through the eyes of a predator who is following someone and she continues to see this until the person who is being followed is killed by the person whose sight she sees.
Laura Mars has developed an uncanny and disturbing ability to see through the eyes of a killer. Presumably it’s because she’s been glorifying violence in her work. You could also say the message of the film is women shouldn’t be successful or interested in sex.
Tommy Lee Jones plays the detective assigned to the case. Tommy and Faye are gorgeous and thin and sexy in that late 70s way, New York City is an urban wasteland of greys and browns.
The script was based on a pitch by John Carpenter, it was his first major studio film. He went on to make The Thing and tons of other horror classics.
Rene Aubejunois plays Faye Dunaway’s best friend and stylist. He’s gay and flamboyant so of course, he has to get killed.
The theme song from the film--actually it’s called The Love Theme, which is something they started doing in the 70s. It wasn’t enough to have a theme song, you needed a love theme song. Anyway, the song is entitled Prisoner and it was sung by none other than Barbra Streisand. It won the academy award for best song.
Here’s how it starts:
I've never been wrong, but you're the only one I trust to show me the way.
I always hear your voice. And in my dreams I hear you calling my name.
What is it about you? Some kind of light shines from your face. And I can't turn away.
I used to sing it in my early club act--I covered a few Barbra songs back then. I enjoyed performing the high drama of her 70s catalog.
This is the chorus:
I'm like a prisoner, captured by your eyes.
I've been taken and I've been hypnotized.
The movie wasn’t a big hit. Faye Dunaway--who until then had had such an incredible run of roles in great films, beginning with Bonnie and Clyde, where she played a Southern girl, desperate to escape her small town only to realize she was going nowhere, also the Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown and of course, Network, which won her the academy award--saw her star begin to wane. Eyes of Laura Mars was the film Faye made right after Network and it began the dimming of her star.
The lyric continues:
And your eyes say everything.
You want to keep me here forever. I can't escape.
One minute sincere, then you completely turn against me.
And I'm afraid.
I started thinking of this song this morning. I don’t know about you but one of the sensations of the past six months has been one of entrapment. It’s been great, yes, to be home and together with Bobby and I haven’t felt anxious about it. The truth is I’ve felt safe. I know a lot of folks have been a lot more trapped than I. But here’s what worries me--once Labor Day ends the countdown to chilly weather and dark afternoons begins. And, in my experience, if you haven’t gotten away, even for a weekend, winter can be really dark, and I don’t mean just in terms of sunlight, I mean like The Shining, Overlook Hotel, smashing through bathroom doors with an axe, that kind of dark.
Usually at this time of year, we try to get away to Provincetown. After Labor Day the crowds have thinned out. It’s a magical place, there on the very tip of Cape Cod. Talk about light--it’s no wonder artists have flocked there for over a century. And of course it’s been a gay mecca for over a century.
I want my lobster roll. I want my nap on the beach. I want to walk arm and arm on the pier at sundown. We need to discuss this idea more. I’ll keep you posted.