Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Birthday: Ida Lupino!

Ida Lupino (4 February 1918– 3 August 1995), was a pioneer among women filmmakers. In her 48-year career, she appeared in 59 films and directed nine others. She also appeared in serial television shows 58 times and directed 50 other episodes. In addition, she contributed as a writer to five films and four TV episodes.

Lupino was born into a family of performers. Her father, Stanley Lupino, was a music-hall comedian and her mother, Connie Emerald, was an actress. As a girl, Ida was encouraged to enter show business by both her parents and her uncle, Lupino Lane. She trained at RADA and made her first movie appearance in, The Love Race (1931) and spent the next several years playing bit parts.

It was after her appearance in, The Light That Failed (1939) that Lupino began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress and she began to call herself..."the poor man's Bette Davis."

Lupino became well known from her performances in such films as, They Drive by Night (1940). A story about two brothers who were a couple of wildcat truck drivers. One comes to harm, while the other is accused of his friend's murder.

And High Sierra (1941), A story about Roy 'Mad Dog' Earle, who meets up with an old a friend who wants him to help with an upcoming robbery. When the robbery goes wrong and a man is shot and killed Earle goes on the run with the police hot on his tail in the, Sierra Nevada's.

After her performance in, The Hard Way (1943). She acted regularly, and was in demand throughout the 1940s without becoming a major star until 1947.

Eventually, Lupino became interested in directing. She found herself bored on set while "someone else seemed to be doing all the interesting work." She and her husband Collier Young formed an independent company, The Filmmakers. Lupino, became a producer, director and screenwriter of low-budget movies.

Her first directing job came when Elmer Clifton suffered a mild heart attack and could not finish the film, Not Wanted(1949). Lupino stepped in to finish the film and went on to direct her own projects, becoming Hollywood's only female film director of the time.

Lupino directed films about social issues: Outrage (1950)and The Hitch-Hiker (1953), making her the first woman to direct a film noir. Lupino often joked that if she had been the "poor man's Bette Davis" as an actress, then she had become the "poor man's Don Siegel" as a director. In 1952, Lupino was invited to become the "fourth star" in Four Star Productions by Dick Powell, David Niven, and Charles Boyer, after Joel McCrea and Rosalind Russell had dropped out of the company.

Lupino continued acting throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s and her directing were mostly television shows: Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Thriller, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, The Donna Reed Show, Gilligan's Island, 77 Sunset Strip, The Investigators, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, The Rifleman, The Virginian, Batman, Sam Benedict, Bonanza, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, Colombo, and Bewitched. She guest-starred on The Streets of San Francisco .

From January 1957 through September 1958, Lupino starred with her then husband, Howard Duff, in the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve, in which they played husband and wife film stars named Howard Adams and Eve Drake. Duff and Lupino also co-starred as themselves in 1959 in one of, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour. Later in her acting career, Lupino guest-starred on many TV shows, before she retired at the age of 60. She made her final movie appearance in 1978.

Ida Lupino movies I have seen:

1940 They Drive by Night
1941 High Sierra
Escape Me Never.  Please click here to read Escape Me Never review.
1952 On Dangerous Ground
1966 The Trouble with Angels
1972 Junior Bonner

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