With all of last week's talk of royalty and Cecil B. DeMille, I thought it was fitting to try to track down the Lux Radio Theater broadcast of Mayerling. It features William Powell as Prince Rudolf of Austria, a role originated by Charles Boyer in a 1936 French film of the same name. Though the original Mayerling had been an international success, it wasn't until 1938's Algiers that Boyer became well-known to American audiences.
Full disclosure: I haven't seen the film, so I don't know how faithfully this adapts it. What I do know is that though an American remake was in the works for many years, it didn't actually happen until 1968, when MGM decided it was a good fit for the tragically romantic Omar Sharif. In between, there was a French remake called Le Secret de Mayerling and a 1957 episode of Producer's Showcase featuring Mel Ferrer as Prince Rudolf and Audrey Hepburn as Mary Vetsera. The episode was later distributed in Europe as a feature film.
As C.B. tells us in the introduction to the play, all versions of Mayerling are based on a real event, the murder-suicide committed by Rudolf at his hunting lodge, taking the life of his young mistress. It was Rudolf's death that set in motion the events leading to the first World War. And, as you might suspect listening to the program, the true story is much more sordid than its romanticized counterpart.
I'll be participating in In The Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood's Joan Crawford Blogathon. It looks like it's going to be one a terrific opportunity to learn about a complicated woman and honour her contributions as an actress, so if you're at all interested in Joan Crawford, mark it on your calendar. And if you have a blog, sign up!
I've also been invited to join the Darlin' Dallasers Blogathon, which aims to highlight the work of Dallas favourites and guest stars in non-Dallas productions. There are already some great topics on the roster (including Son of the Blob directed by Larry Hagman), and I'll be highlighting Patrick Duffy's performance in a made-for-television movie about psychic ghosts. I'm so excited!