A serial killer in London is murdering young women whom he meets through the personal columns of newspapers; he announces each of his murders to the police by sending them a cryptic poem. ... See full summary »
The copy I saw had no credits but I think based on the structure of the teleplay it is based on the earlier, 1939 theatrical version(Ring Twice For Laura) of Vera Caspary's famous novel. The story plays out in three longish scenes, the first about 30 minutes, the second about 50 minutes, and the climax about 30 minutes. All are set in Laura's duplex apartment, with a few cutaways when the detective Mark is on the phone to his police station. In the first scene the detective meets some characters in the dead woman's life. One, Waldo tells him to know about her death you need to know about her life, but there is no flashback structure as in the Preminger film.Instead of the Ann character played by Judith Anderson, there is a young man, Danny, a jazz fan who exchanged classic records with Laura, and his disapproving mother. Mark wonders about a vase on Laura's fireplace mantel which Waldo insists is his, and later breaks.After they have left Mark falls asleep after pacing alone, and Laura enters, alive. In the second scene it's determined that the victim was a friend of hers,here called Joyce rather than as in the film Diane.Laura explains to Mark the conflict between her career and getting married, when he asks her about her relationship with Shelby, one of her suitors we saw in the first act. In the final scene Waldo brings out his bitterness about the other men around Laura ( he uses the word Maennlichkeit,virility, with some sarcasm) and reveals to her the gun used is inside his cane (Instead of the clock as in the film.) He is taken away by the police, rather than dying as in the film. His character doesn't have all the resonance of that played by Clifton Webb (from a script loosely inspired by the fussy critic Alexander Woolcott)and Mark's doesn't have the hard edged, tough guy quality brought to the film by Dana Andrews. Nor does this version have much of the New York City period atmosphere of the film or the noirish trappings that were then becoming popular. What it does offer besides the curiosity of a different take on a well known plot, is the opportunity to see two of Germany's best actors, both of whom left that country to work for a while abroad, appearing together. Hiledgarde Knef (as Laura) had been brought to 20th Century Fox as one of the stable of European actresses favored by Darryl Zanuck. Adolf Wohlbrueck ( Waldo)had gone to England where he appeared in some famous movies of the 1940s as Anton Walbrook. The use of objects in the teleplay- besides the aforementioned vase and cane and jazz records, a suspicious liquor bottle;and a shawl Waldo had given Laura which she didn't wear, and which later she rejects and he starts to tear- keeps the teleplay from being too dialog-driven.
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