Born: Established: 17 Sep 1907 Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 22 Jan 1972
Coppel is credited, along with J.B. Williams, with the 'scenario' for the 1940 film adaptation of A.J. Cronin's novel The Stars Look Down, but the actual screenplay is credited to Cronin and Williams.
In late 1946, Australian newspapers credited Coppel with a forthcoming dramatisation of Caryl Brahms and S. J. Simon's ballet-themed thriller novel, A Bullet for the Ballet (see, for example, the Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 1946, p.15): the dramatisation was said to have been staged in London, and a televised version was broadcast on the BBC in late December 1947 (see, for example, the Times, 27 December 1947, p.2), but Coppel's name cannot be definitively connected to this adaptation.
In 1954, Coppel allegedly undertook a re-write of the script for Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief (though it is unclear which stage of writing the script was at), but he was not credited for his contribution.
In the early 1960s, Coppel wrote an adaptation of Harry Kurnitz's play A Shot in the Dark (then running on Broadway and itself an English-language version of Marcel Achard's L'Idiote): the film was eventually made by Blake Edwards as a Pink Panther film (under the same title), after extensive re-writes and with no association with Coppel.
See Sam Wasson, A Splurch in the Kisser: The Films of Blake Edwards, Wesleyan University Press, 2010, p.88.
Other films with which Coppel was associated include the following:
Beau Brummel (1954), written by Karl Tunberg based on a play by Clyde Fitch, directed by Curtis Bernhardt, and starring Stewart Granger and Elizabeth Taylor. Stephen Vagg suggests that Coppel was involved in this film, but he is not credited.
Boy on a Dolphin (1957), written by Ivan Moffat and Dwight Taylor from a novel by David Divine, directed by Jean Negulesco, starring Alan Ladd, Sophia Loren, and Clifton Webb. Stephen Vagg cites 1955 news reports that indicate Coppel worked on an early draft, but he is not credited on the final film.
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), written by Anthony Veiller from a story by Philip MacDonald, directed by John Huston, starring George C. Scott, Dana Wynter, and Clive Brook. Stephen Vagg suggests that Coppel was involved in an early draft of this script, but he is not credited on the final film.
The Statue (1971), written by Denis Norden, directed by Rod Amateau, starring David Niven, Virna Lisi, and Robert Vaughan. Said to be based on a play by Coppel called Chip, Chip, Chip, but there is no indication that this play was ever produced.
Coppel is credited with 'story' for a number of films and television dramas. The use of 'story' in this context is ambiguous: it may refer to the scenario of the film, but in some instances it seems to refer explicitly to a short story published elsewhere. Coppel did publish short stories (see, for example, 'Guests for Dinner'), but nothing has so far been traced of any short stories that might have inspired these works.
The following is a list of films and television episodes for which Coppel is credited with 'story':
Woman Hater (1948), screenplay by Nicholas Phipps and Robert Westerby, directed by Terence Young.
'The Exile' (1952), episode 36 of season 1 of anthology television series Tales of Tomorrow, screenplay by Edgar Marvin.
'Circumstantial' (1957), episode 1 of season 1 of anthology television series Alcoa Theatre, screenplay by Leonard Freeman, directed by Andrew McCullough .
'The Diplomatic Corpse' (1957), episode 10 of season 3 of anthology television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, screenplay by Robert C. Dennis, directed by Paul Henreid.
'Together' (1958), episode 15 of season 3 of anthology television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, screenplay by Robert C. Dennis, directed by Robert Altman.
Three episodes of The Four Just Men (1959-1960), a television series based on the novels of Edgar Wallace: episodes 1.2 ('The Prime Minister'), 1.6 ('The Beatniques'), and 1.27 ('The Man in the Royal Suite').
'The Dark Pool', episode 29 of season 1 of anthology television series The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, screenplay by William D. Gordon, directed by Jack Smight.
'One Step Down', episode 6 of season 1 of Kraft Suspense Theatre, screenplay by William D. Gordon and Barry Trivers, directed by Bernard Girard.