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‘Barbed Wire and Forget-Me-Not’: The radio adventures of Laura (1944)

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This article explores the audio rendition of films within the movie adaptation series that proliferated on US radio from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s. Focussing on several versions of the 1944 film Laura, the article examines the institutional, ideological and representational negotiations involved in translating this property from the cinema screen to the airwaves. A celebrated example of film noir, Laura reveals an unusual handling of questions of gender and sexuality as well as highly eccentric storytelling strategies and a distinctive visual style. Drawing on a range of critical approaches, reviews and trade materials, as well as offering detailed textual analysis of filmic and radio material, the article considers what happens when such a distinctive film is adapted to a medium that communicates exclusively through sound and which operates within more tightly regulated commercial and institutional imperatives.
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Keywords: Laura (1944); Otto Preminger; Vera Caspary; adaptation; film noir; narratology; radio drama; sexual representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sussex

Publication date: 2012-12-01

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  • Adaptation, or the conversion of oral, historical or fictional narratives into stage drama has been common practice for centuries. In our own time the processes of cross-generic transformation continue to be extremely important in theatre as well as in the film and other media industries. Adaptation and the related areas of translation and intertextuality continue to have a central place in our culture with a profound resonance across our civilisation.
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