LAURA : PORTRAIT FOR MURDER (TV MOVIE, 1955)
Director : John Brahm
Producer : Otto Lang (TFC Television Productions)
Broadcast : CBS, 10/19/1955. 56 mn
Screenplay : Mel Dinelli
Director of photo : Lloyd Ahern (LAURA’s operating cameraman)
Art direction : Lyle Wheeler, Herman Blumenthal
Editor : Robert Simpson
CAST : George Sanders (Waldo Lydecker), Dana Wynter (Laura Hunt), Robert Stack (Mark McPherson), Scott Forbes (Shelby Caprenter), Johnny Washbrook Danny Morgan), Gloria Clark (Bessy), Gordon Wynne (MacAvity), Robert (B.) Williams (Fred Callaghan), Harry Carter (Policeman)
One of the numerous “capsule” television remakes of Twentieth Century Fox classics. Also released as film in certain territories.
FRONTIER GAMBLER (MOVIE, 1956)
Director : Sam Newfield
Producer : Sigmund Neufeld
Released by Associated Film Releasing Corp. 70 mn
Screenplay : Orville Hampton
Director of photography : Eddie Linden
Music/Musical director : Paul Dunlap
Editor : Dwight Caldwell
CAST (/based on) : John Bromfield (Curt Darrow/based on Mark McPherson), Coleen Gray (Sylvia Melbourne/Laura), Kent Taylor (Duke Chadwick/Waldo), Jim Davis (Tony/Shelby), Margia Dean (Gloria/Diane Redfern), Veda Ann Borg (Francie/Anne) ; Tracey Roberts (Helen), Stanley Andrews (Constable Dewey), Roy Engel (McBride), Nadene Ashdown (Sylvia as a child), X-Brands (Gregg), Frank Sully (Bartender), Ewing Brown, Pierce Lyden, Rick Vallin (Gamblers), John Merton (Shorty), Helen Jay (Hostess)
A small-budget western “bootleg” transposition of LAURA. Action starts with the murder of “Diane Redfern”, the real victim in the original plot, who was only briefly seen in photo.
LAURA (TV MOVIE, Germany, 1962)
Director/Writer : Franz Josef Wild
Director of photography ; Günter Kropf
Production design : Peter Scharff
Editor :Hilde Sessner
Costumes : Werner Wunderlich
CAST : Hildgard Knef (Laura Hunt), Adolf Wohlbrück (aka Anton Walbrook) (Waldo Lydecker), Hellmut Lange (Mark McPherson), John Van Dreelen (Shelby Carpenter), Wolfgang Schmidtholstein (Danny Dorgan), Nora Minor (Mrs. Dorgan), Kunibert Gensichen (Hendricks), Hilli Wildenhain (Bessie)
LAURA (TV MOVIE in Color, 1968)
Director : John Llewellyn Moxey
Producer : David Susskind (and uncredited director, according to imdb)
Screenplay : Truman Capote, Thomas W. Phipps
Costumes : Donald Brooks (uncredited, according to imdb)
CAST : Lee Bouvier (aka Lee Radziwill) (Laura), Robert Stack (Mark McPherson), George Sanders (Waldo Lydecker), Farley Granger (Shelby), Arlene Francis (Ann Treadwell)
FIONA ON FIRE (ADULT FILM, 1978)
Director/Writer/Proucer : Kenneth Schwartz (one of the many alias of Shaun Costello)
Art director : Steven Finken
Editor : Stephan Daedulus (sic)
CAST : Amber Hunt (Fiona/based on Laura), Sam Dean (Lt. Wilbur Davis/based on Mark), Jamie Gillis (Steven Forneau), Marlene Willoughby (Camille Forneau), Gloria Leonard (Sybil Dumont), etc.
A rather astute “transpornsition”, proving that Costello had a good knowledge of the original. “Amber Hunt” sounds like a most “Premingerian” name, but was already used by the actress (ex-hairdresser, then nude model, Playboy Bunny before becoming adult film actress)
Film shown and reviewed in France under title STEPHANIE L’AMOUR
ROG (India, 2005)
Director : Himanshu Brahmbhatt
Screenplay : Mahesh Bhatt
CAST : Ilene Hamann, Mimanshu Malik
PROJECTED REMAKES ;
# Item dated 10/07/1970 in weekly “Variety”; a remake of LAURA to be shot in San Francisco in january 1971 by Gordon Parks for Brain Power Inc. Two afroamerican leads : Calvin Lockhart and Laura Greene due to star opposite white actor (either James Mason or Orson Welles).No ulterior reference found
# Item in screenwriter Ron Bass” biography from the presskit of film THE JOY LUCK CLUB (1993). Bass confirmed this project in which he wanted to develop the love relations between Laura and McPherson. No ulterior reference found.
RADIO ADAPTATIONS (Despina’s addition)
LAURA – having being extremely popular as a film – was often in demand by radio listeners, who wrote in and specifically asked for it in several radio shows during the 40s and 50s.
It was firstly adapted as an hour-long radio play for Lux Radio Theatre (February 5, 1945), starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Vincent Price (reprising their original film roles), with Otto Kruger as Lydecker (who was for some reason renamed “Paul”…) ; it was once more presented by Lux Radio Theatre (February 1, 1954), starring Gene Tierney, with Victor Mature as Mark McPherson. Both these shows were based on exactly the same text, but the absence of Clifton Webb, combined with the rather uninspired adaptation, will leave the fans of the film somewhat disappointed, especially the second one in which Mature gives a mediocre performance, while Tierney sounds rather unethusiastic herself.
In addition, LAURA was presented twice on The Screen Guild Theater (August 20, 1945 and February 23, 1950), both episodes starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney and Clifton Webb. Although Webb’s presence was a welcome addition, the less than 30 min. duration of this show made it extremely difficult for that particular story to be properly adapted – subsequently we get to hear only a small portion of the dialogue, while the secondary characters are absent.
Finally, LAURA was also presented on radio by the Ford Theatre (May 30, 1948), starring Virginia Gilmore, John Larkin and Ivor Francis (as Laura, Mark and Waldo, respectively). A new adaptation was used for this show, with certain differences from the previous ones and the film itself, like eliminating Waldo’s poem reading on his radio show at the end, thus changing his entrance at Laura’s apartment, plus adding a corny touch to the ending. Overall, it features some rather excessive performances, Laura being something of a minor “screaming queen”.
You can access all these radio shows, searching them by show and by date, in the large database: https://archive.org/details/radioprograms
Olivier Eyquem, Despina Veneti