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Whispering Smith

Whispering Smith(1949)

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A pre-production news item in the Los Angeles Times stated that Sidney Biddell would be producing this film and that Marion Parsonnet would be writing the screenplay with Karl Lamb; however, Biddell and Parsonnet's contribution to the released film has not been confirmed. According to Par News, for the first time in Hollywood history, a full-scale Western town was built for the film on a studio backlot. The five-acre set included 2,000 feet of railroad track. Locomotives from 1870 that were owned by Paramount were converted from wood-burning to oil for use in the film. Technical advisor Herman H. Larsen was formerly the general manager of Union Pacific Railroad, headquartered in Omaha, NE. Paramount publicized the film as Alan Ladd's first Western and first film in Technicolor. The New York Times review remarked, "Considering the law of gravitation and the parabolic course of Alan Ladd, it had to be that this star performer would land, sooner or later, into a Western film." The film marked Brenda Marshall's return to the screen following a three-year absence from the screen to rear her children after her marriage to actor William Holden.
       Frank H. Spearman's novel has been the basis of other motion pictures, beginning in 1916 with the Mutual Film Corp. release Whispering Smith, directed by J. P. MacGowan, starring himself as the title character, with Helen Holmes and Paul C. Hurst. Mutual also released a sequel to the first film in 1916, again directed by MacGowan and starring him, Holmes and Hurst. Universal released a film entitled Money Madness in 1917 which featured the character of Whispering Smith, portrayed by Charles H. Mailes. That film was directed by Henry McRae (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1. 2893, 3037 and 4926). Producers Distributing Corp. released Whispering Smith in 1926, directed by George Melford and starring H. B. Warner and Lilyan Tashman (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2. 6286). A serial entitled Whispering Smith Rides was produced by Universal in 1927. Sol Lesser produced a film entitled Whispering Smith Speaks in 1936, a Twentieth Century-Fox release directed by David Howard, starring George O'Brien and Irene Ware. This film, like the 1952 British film released by RKO, Whispering Smith vs. Scotland Yard, was based on the character Whispering Smith, but not on Spearman's novel. An NBC television series that was also based on the character and inspired by the novel ran from 15 May-September 18, 1961 and starred Audie Murphy, Guy Mitchell and Sam Buffington.