In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Auteur is King

No Woolrich this time. I’m resting up for Black Angel, but a few words about another competitor to Lux Radio Theater in the audio-movie game.

Screen Directors Playhouse was NBC’s Lux ripoff, and it existed in both 30 and 60 minute versions. The longer episodes are of course more satisfying, but they all shared a unique hook. The director was always mentioned almost as prominently as the stars, and was usually brought up at the end of the play to answer a few questions. The banter was tightly scripted, just like the disconcertingly stiff attempts of the actors to simulate rapport with “Mr. DeMille” at the end of each Lux. But it does allow us to know the voices of some great directors who we might never otherwise hear speak, and it shows that late 1940s and early 50s moviegoers could be expected to know and care about directors. It can even sadden us, as when Billy Wilder talks on behalf of the late Lubitsch on Cluny Brown.

So here’s Robert Siodmak, who appeared four times, part of a good hour long adaption of Thelma Jordon with Stanwyck that is elevated, like hundreds of other shows, by the voice of William Conrad.

An excellent set of this series is available for free download at Internet Archive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: