Thursday, November 25, 2021

Girl's Week 2021


Dell on Movies has a great blog adventure going on this week. It is all about women and film and can be actresses, directors, costumers etc... It is a lot of fun learning about films out there with women as the main focus. Here is my next film...


This is a landmark film for Humphrey Bogart and John Huston who co-wrote the screenplay because Bogart usually played the heavy in most films or a second lead and Huston was finally able to direct a picture (turned out to be The Maltese Falcon). Not to be outdone is Ida Lupino who was riding high from her previous picture so was billed above Bogart (much to Bogie's chagrin). Bogart is asked by his former "boss' to do a final robbery which goes bad and sends him on the lam with the police and media in hot pursuit. He meets Marie (Lupino) and hooks up with her but shucks her aside because he doesn't want her to get hurt. He meets another gal, who has a club foot, and pays for her surgery, only to be discarded by this lass. Marie is true blue to the end with Roy Earle (Bogie) finally learning this. Bogart became a huge star with this film because he made the criminal sympathetic and Ida Lupino is strong and almost steals the scenes from Bogie (again, much to his chagrin) because she can convey so much with the time she has on the big screen. This is a classic film and one I will see again. To be honest, I wish I have seen more films with Ida Lupino because she always grabbed my attention. She did not get on well with Bogart who was often sarcastic with her on set and she refused to work with him again. 

Ida is not only known for her acting, in film and TV but she was a leading director, writer and producer. She directed many films in the late 40s and early 50s that were social causes especially about women dealing with such taboo subjects as rape and bigomy. Later, she directed many TV shows including one of my favourite episodes from "The Twilight Zone" called "The Masks"

This episode takes place during Mardi Gras where the selfish family of an elderly man come to see him hoping the old man will die so they can get a hold of his wealth. I recall seeing this when I was young and being enthralled with  the story. I watched it last year, again, and still had the same feeling. It is well acted but also well directed by Ida Lupino and this episode is considered one of Twilight Zone's best.

Ida Lupino comes from a Theatre/acting dynasty well known in England where she was born and raised. Her mom, Connie O'Shea, was an actress and famous tap dancer and her dad was Stanley Lupino, a major music hall sensation. Her uncle was famous and many other in the Lupino clan from the past were very famous. Many famous people from George Bernard Shaw to Noel Coward would frequent their home. Their home was always open to guests even when they served cocktails at 3 in the morning.

Ida contracted polio in 1934 but fully recovered. She made sure to always donate money to polio research. The film, "Never Fear" (1949) is loosely based on her life with polio. During the time she was convalescing, she wrote short stories, children's books and composed music. One of them, "Aladdin's Suite" was performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. She credits getting polio for having her find the impetus for intellectual pursuits rather than relying on her physical beauty. 

She also suffered with alopecia, this is a condition where all your hair falls out....everywhere. She felt it was due to dying her hair (not everywhere, she wasn't Jean Harlow) and using the old ways to style her hair that made it fall out. This occurred in the late 1930s so, afterwards, she had to rely on wigs (obviously).

She often fought with Warner Bros (she had to stand in line) for better roles since she kept getting roles that Bette Davis turned down. She called herself "the poor man's Bette Davis." She was often placed on suspension by the studio (many were)

With her second husband, Collier Young, they started a production company and she started to direct films and write or co-write them as well. 

The film called "Not Wanted" is directed by Ida even though you see Elmer Clifton as the director. Just before filming was to start, he suffered a heart attack so she stepped in and directed the picture. She asked for no screen credit so as not to take it away from Clifton but she was not part of the Directors Guild of America which also may have played a part. 

She began an affair with Howard Duff (an actor) before divorcing Young and her daughter, Bridget, was born 6 months later. As my dad used to say, "The first baby comes any time, the second one takes 9 months." This union lasted until 1984 when they officially divorced but they were well known for their legendary fights. Many reporters (before Paparazzi was coined-thank you Fellini) would follow them around to get juicy bits. One time, Ida Lupino and David Niven, came to, I think The Coconut Grove, for dinner. About 15 min. later Howard Duff was escorting David Niven's wife into the restaurant. When they saw each other, Duff bellowed to Niven to stand up and come to him. Niven did and after looking at each other, they gave each other a kiss on the lips and started dancing together! The reporters were quite disappointed but the Duffs and Nivens had a ball and proceeded to dine together. 

Later in life, Howard Duff left Ida in the early 70s and her only child, Bridget, would not speak with her (no idea why). She did act in tv shows but no longer directed. She became reclusive and an alcoholic. Thankfully, she did meet someone who helped her get her bills sorted out as well as her mansion and her daughter came back near the end of Ida's life. 

I have to see more of her films one day both as an actress and as a director.

Films she acted in:

Peter Ibbetson (1935)

The Adventures of Shelock Holmes (1939)

They Drive By Night (1940)- her break-out role

The Sea Wolf (1941)

Out Of The Fog (1941)

The Hard Way (1943)

Beware, My Lovely (1952)

The Bigamist (1953)-She directed this one too.

Women's Prison (1955)

As Director:

Not Wanted (1949) not credited as director. Co-wrote screenplay. Producer

Never Fear (1950) - wrote the screenplay too. Also Producer

Outrage (1950) - wrote screenplay

Hard, Fast & Beautiful (1951)

The Hitch-Hiker (1953) - wrote screen play. This is a must see for me-First woman director to film a Noir picture

The Bigamist (1953) - She also starred in this.

I also love that she directed 3 Gilligan Island episodes (I think she was not fond of this type of directing) with 2 as my favourites-"Wrongway Feldman" starring Hans Conried as a famous but lost pilot who keeps going the wrong way. The other is "The Producer" starring Phil Silvers as an egomaniac film director giving the castaways the need to put on a musical Hamlet. 


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    Long time no see! :) I'm getting carpal tunnel from visiting BB Creations so often, dear friend. :)

    Ida Lupino is a very familiar name from my early years. It's been a long time since I watched High Sierra and I enjoyed this clip. How about that noirish lingo laced with expressions like "wad of dough," "piece of change" and "I'll be blowin' pretty soon." Yessum, I love (there's that word again) Bogie's sympathetic interpretation of a criminal and Ida's scene stealing performance. It grieves me knowing that the two didn't get along very well on the set. The same has been reported about other great screen pairings. Can't we all just get along?

    Thanks for sharing that in addition to being a talented actress in film and TV, Ida was an accomplished director, writer and producer and that she was involved in projects that dealt with issues important to women. It is also noteworthy that she directed two of the best and most critically acclaimed episodes of Gilligan's Island. Her philanthropy is also impressive.

    I well remember that Ida Lupino directed episode of The Twilight Zone, "The Masks," in which ghoulish masks worn by family members as they gather like vultures to watch an old man die, become their actual faces at the stroke of midnight. The writing is superb, those words recited by Rod Serling ever so powerful. What a great series!

    Thank you for tracing the life and career of this gifted woman, Ida Lupino. She was part of the solution. Have a happy day and stay well, dear friend BB!

    1. Imlove that lingo and I grew up with it because my dad often used it. You can’t beat Gilligan’s Island. I love The Twilight Zone as well and she starred in one episode too.

  2. I watched the Thin Man yesterday, and I have to say Nick and Nora were a super fun couple. I want to watch some more now, so thank you so much for mentioning them yesterday. I have't heard of Ida Lupino. I recognize her face, but not the name. These posts are so interesting I think you should more of them. I am enjoying a film history lesson. Have a super Thursday. Hugs-Erika

    1. I’m so glad you saw this film and I really am so glad you will see the others. Maybe I will do put that in my noggin

  3. What a great write up! I haven't seen any of her films, which I feel awful about now. I need to fix that.

  4. I've seen a number of Lupino's works. She was definitely talented as a filmmaker and actress. I had no idea she had directed those episodes of Gilligan's Island. Nothing to be ashamed of in doing those. Nice to keep paychecks rolling in.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    1. She is under-rated in all she has done and is forgotten now but she was a pioneer.

  5. I know the name, but I'm not very familiar with her. I have seen that Twilight Zone, though. Glad to hear she did well behind the camera.

    1. She was quite a good director and would have been amazing now.

  6. I've heard her name, but never saw her act or direct. Interesting how you bring these silver screen divas and heroines to life with your charming discussions of them. Thanks for shedding a bit of life on this latest, Ida Lupino.

    1. I’m so glad you are finding out a little bit more about this actress and the others"

  7. I have a box set of her films that I got months ago. I've only seen 2 of them so far but she is awesome as I hope to do a future Auteurs piece on her.

    1. Very cool!! I will look forward to reading your post.

  8. Now we're talking!! Ida is one of my top five favorite Golden Age actresses (just for the record the other four in order are: Linda Darnell (my favorite actress full stop), Susan Hayward, Ruth Roman and Margaret Sullavan though there are dozens more fighting it out for slot 6!) and she is woefully underappreciated as she was in her lifetime. Again not a single Oscar nomination!!

    I haven't much to add to your awesome write-up, she was an all around talent who would have probably been better off never meeting Duff. It was he that encouraged her drinking because he didn't like to do so alone....and he was already a heavy imbiber when they got together.

    Though she's delightful (though at times unrecognizable) in her early work she didn't have a chance to make much of an impact since the studios were trying to push her as a blonde Jean Harlow. A return to her natural color and a switch to Warners made all the difference. She was a FORCE!

    I have only two of her early films to find to complete her filmography. One-The Prince of Arcadia-I'm beginning to suspect is lost but Money for Speed may turn up one day. Fingers crossed!

    My top 10 of her films:

    The Man I Love-A great noir and her character Petey Brown could not be tougher. It was Scorsese's inspiration for the Liza Minnelli/Robert De Niro film New York, New York.

    They Drive by Night
    Ladies in Retirement
    Road House
    High Sierra
    The Hard Way
    Deep Valley
    Junior Bonner
    The Light That Failed
    Pillow to Post

    The best of the films she directed is The Hitch-Hiker but I have such a soft spot for The Trouble with Angels.

  9. You know, I almost went with Susan Hayward and Ruth Roman because I love both. I have not seen many of Ruth’s films but I love everything she does. I so wish I could see all the films you have so far..lucky you. I have seen so little of Linda Darnell’s work but love her in A Letter to 3 Wives. It is such a shame she died so very young.

    Ida needs to be better recognized today for all she have done. Yes, you are right about Howard and his drinking. They were not the best together.

    1. Hi Birgit!

      I know you didn't ask for it but I'm always up for tooting my girl Linda Darnell's horn so since you said you hadn't seen many of her films I thought I'd offer my top 20 as a guide to help you become more familiar!

      Number 1 is and has to be A Letter to Three Wives. It was the best film and the best role she ever had. An absolute oversight that she wasn't nominated. As much as I love her and the performance had she received the nod I still would have chosen Olivia de Havilland in The Heiress. That's a masterwork but she still should have received a nomination.

      Okay so 2-20:

      2. No Way Out-Her second best performance, another opportunity for a nomination botched and she'd be my winner this time.
      3. Hangover Square-Victorian noir with Linda a rapacious grabber dressed to the nines.
      4. This Is My Love-A dark tale (the source novel was called Fear Has Black Wings) of two sisters who keep falling for the same men that always goes badly. Costarring Dan Duryea.
      5. It Happens in Roma-A delightful comedy filmed in Italy with Vittorio de Sica.
      6. Fallen Angel-Fine noir with Dana Andrews as a grifter mixed up with good girl Alice Faye and gold digging Linda.
      7. Summer Storm-An adaptation of Chekhov's The Shooting Party directed by Douglas Sirk was Linda's first chance to impress and she does indeed.
      8. Angels of Darkness-Italian drama about a group of ladies of the pavement with an amazing cast including Anthony Quinn, Valentina Cortese and Giulietta Masina. Unfortunately I've only been able to find this in Italian but the story was easy enough to follow.
      9. Forever Amber-The Hayes Office butchered the book but that's not Linda's fault. She's ravishing and bold as she romps her way through.
      10. The Lady Pays Off-Slight comedy but a terrific showcase for Linda again directed by Douglas Sirk.
      11. Dakota Incident-Colorful Western with Linda in a vividly scarlet dress for most of the proceedings.
      12. The Walls of Jericho-Overheated drama with an amazing cast-Kirk Douglas, Ann Dvorak, Anne Baxter, Marjorie Rambeau and a blonde Linda (she had to stay blonde for retakes on Forever Amber) stealing the show as the fabulously named Algeria Wedge!
      13. Everybody Does It-Fluffy comedy where Linda as an opera diva is paired again with Paul Douglas who unexpectedly is discovered to possess a powerful operatic voice much to wife Celeste Holm's chagrin.
      14. Blackbeard, the Pirate-Zesty pirate tale with Linda the damsel in distress and Robert Newton consuming scenery whole as the title character. I have a special affection for this flick, it's where I discovered her on long ago Saturday morning on a TV matinee as a kid.
      15. Second Chance-South of the border adventure originally shot in 3-D with thug Jack Palance menacing boxer Robert Mitchum and Linda as a moll on the lam.
      16. Unfaithfully Yours-Conductor Rex Harrison imagines three ways to do away with loving wife Linda when he thinks she's been unfaithful all set to different classical symphonies.
      17. The 13th Letter-Canadian set drama about the damage a poison pen writer has on a small town. Charles Boyer is also in the cast.
      18. Anna and the King of Siam-You know the story, Linda plays the ill-fated Tuptim.
      19. My Darling Clementine-Revisionist take on the O.K. Corral with Linda full of fire as Chihuahua.
      20. Blood and Sand-Good girl Linda and spitfire Rita Hayworth fight it out over matador Ty Power.

      I won't go so overboard with Ruth Roman but here's the top 10 of her films I'd recommend to see first. I'm not including Strangers on a Train, great film but hardly her best part.

      Five Steps to Danger
      The Bottom of the Bottle
      Lightening Strikes Twice
      Three Secrets
      Joe Macbeth
      Bitter Victory
      The Shanghai Story
      Down Three Dark Streets
      Rebel in Town

    2. Hey Joel...I do love Linda and loved her in a Letter to 3 Wives and I saw her in Unfaithfully Yours in which she was quite funny. I want to see her in Hannover Square and Forever Amber and have marked down the other films. I almost chose Ruth Roman even though I only saw her in a couple of films but I loved he4 in both...Strangers and Far Country. I think it was cool that she survived the Andrea Doria too. Margaret Sullivan is also a good one not only as Jane but she was a good actress. I have marked these down and will check them out and see if I can find them to watch. I don’t have TCM