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