IDA LUPINO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE

M

It only runs about 25 minutes, but a lot is crammed into this 1958 tribute to Ida Lupino ( which can be viewed on You Tube).

We meet Ida’s mother Connie, her sister Rita and her uncle Barry Lupino, plus of course her husband Howard Duff and 5 year old daughter,Bridget.

William Wellman came on and said,

“I was preparing to film THE LIGHT THAT  FAILED. Ida swept into my office and asked me point blank for the key feminine role.”

 

THE LIGHT THAT FAILED

THE LIGHT THAT FAILED

 

I

Three performers whose careers were helped by Ida also appeared – Sally Forrest,Keefe  Brasselle and Mala Powers.

Ida’s mother described the shock of Ida being diagnosed with polio in 1934 when she was 16. Ida said she still had residual effects in her right hand.

Born and brought up in Britain, Ida talked about director Allan Dwan coming to England and giving her a chance, aged 15, in HER FIRST AFFAIRE (1932).

Ida and her mother went to Hollywood where Ida was tested for the part of Alice in ALICE IN WONDERLAND – her voice was considered too deep.

 

With Basil Rathbone. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

With Basil Rathbone. THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

 

Ida also described how she got into directing,

“I wrote a script,NOT WANTED, about unwed mothers. Unfortunately our director (Elmer Clifton) was taken sick, so I took over.”   ( She was 31.)

So, an interesting program for Lupino fans.

Another  program about Ida, from 1997, called IDA LUPINO,THROUGH THE LENS, can also be seen on You Tube.

Interviewees include Ida’s daughter,Bridget and Mala Powers,Vincent Sherman,Roddy McDowell.

With John Garfield, Edward G. Robinson.THE SEA WOLF

With John Garfield, Edward G. Robinson.THE SEA WOLF

 

At the tender age of 15, Ida had a six month contract with Paramount.

But Ida realised that she had to distinguish herself from the other blonde starlets all around her. She served a long acting apprenticeship from 1933 to 1939.

LONE WOLF SPY HUNT

Having married Louis Hayward in 1938, Ida finally got her breakthrough and critical praise for her part in THE LIGHT THAT FAILED (1939). Warner Brothers signed her and THEY DRIVE  BY NIGHT  and HIGH SIERRA followed.

 

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

THEY DRIVE BY NIGHT

 

With Howard Hughes

With Howard Hughes

 

Ida was divorced after 6 years and THE MAN I LOVE completed her Warners contract and she wouldn’t accept another long term contract.

She had been writing scripts and short stories and when she later married studio executive Collier Young, they founded Emerald Productions and NOT WANTED was their first feature ,co-written and produced by Ida. The film , about unmarried mothers, cost $150,000 and made $1 million.

Mala Powers was cast in OUTRAGE and said, “You couldn’t refer to it as rape. It was called criminal assault.”

So Lupino and Collier’s small company were becoming known for gritty subjects.

 

With Humphrey Bogart. HIGH SIERRA

With Humphrey Bogart. HIGH SIERRA

 

Changing the company name to The Filmakers, and having gone through another divorce, Ida married Howard Duff in 1951 .

She directed her most well known film,THE HITCH-HIKER in 1953.

THE HITCHHIKER

 

And Ida was the first woman to direct herself in THE BIGAMIST. Unfortunately this film fared poorly at the box office.

Ida’s sister,Rita Lupino, had roles in the first three of Ida’s independent films, “Never Fear”,  “Not Wanted” and “Outrage”.

 

With Richard Widmark,Cornel Wilde .ROAD HOUSE

With Richard Widmark,Cornel Wilde .ROAD HOUSE

 

PRIVATE HELL 36, which Ida wrote and produced was a financial failure and the company was closed down.

PRIVATE HELL 36

 

Hollywood wasn’t offering Ida any good roles in the 50s or any directing jobs, and she turned to television, both acting and directing. From 1956 to 1968, Ida directed countless TV shows including THE VIRGINIAN,  THE GHOST AND MRS.MUIR, SAM BENEDICT ( with Edmond O’Brien) and 8 episodes of HAVE GUN ,WILL TRAVEL,

Privately, Ida’s third marriage was not a success. Her mother had died in an auto accident in 1959.

When her career finally came to a close, Ida became bitter and reclusive, and in 1984, at the age of 66, she could not take care of herself and agreed to having a conservator,Mary Ann Anderson, to look after her affairs.

Ida died of cancer in 1995.

A sad ending to the life of an actress much admired today .

With Ward Bond, Robert Ryan. ON DANGEROUS GROUND

With Ward Bond, Robert Ryan. ON DANGEROUS GROUND

 

Joan Fontaine, Collier Young, Ida Lupino. THE BIGAMIST

Joan Fontaine, Collier Young, Ida Lupino. THE BIGAMIST

 

With Howard Duff

With Howard Duff

 

 

image

 

 

7 responses »

    • Seems such a waste that none of the big studios let her direct after she had proved how good she was. Or that her film roles in the 50s, when she was only in her 30s, didn’t match what she got in the 40s.

  1. Recently watched STRANGE INTRUDER-very difficult
    subject matter and not a total success but Ida was
    sensational and raised the level of the film considerably.
    Thanks for this lovely tribute-lots of very interesting
    background info.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s