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...
HIGH SIERRA-1941 CO-STARRING IDA LUPINO (FEB. 4, 1918-AUG. 3, 1995)
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)
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.