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Monday, September 10, 2012

My View of Ida Lupino

  Okay, as many of you know, I have a great many photographs of actors and actresses in my theater.  I have decided to add Ida Lupino to my wall, and am not sure which picture to add.  I'd love to hear what readers think is the best picture to add to my collection.  I'll give you a few choices from which to choose.

  Now, to start, there's this great shot of Ida with (anyone surprised?) Humphrey Bogart.  I should warn you, Mr. Bogart is already on my wall in about a half dozen photos, so as much as I like the shot, it may not be the best choice.
  Lupino and Bogart filmed They Drive By Night together in 1940, after which they filmed High Sierra, from which this still is taken.  I liked They Drive By Night better, but it is hard not to like any picture with these two film greats together.

  You may not know it, but Jack Palance had quite a career as a leading man, appearing in many great Film Noir thrillers.  This publicity shot is from 1955's The Big Knife, a great movie that showcases the acting range of Palance.  Shelly Winters and Rod Steiger have excellent supporting roles.  Lupino is stunning in this picture.  A fun, wild look behind the scenes of Hollywood.  Palance, always creepy, would be a nice addition to my wall.

  Okay, speaking of creepy, and since October is coming up, it would be pretty cool to add Basil Rathbone, along with sidekick Nigel Bruce, as they assist the young, troubled Lupino, saving her life, and the British Empire, of course, in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, in 1939.

  Now, what collection of movie stars doesn't look good with a studio, publicity glamour shot?  This is not Lupino's best look, since she made a career out of being a victimized woman (one who fought back with more bite than many of her fellow actresses, to be sure), though she does glamour pretty well.

  Speaking of fight, here's Lupino, her back against a wall but her hands full of a Winchester rifle.  She was always a tough girl, with that throaty voice of hers, it was easy to believe she could hold her own if the need arose.  In this 1949 western, Lust for Gold, Lupino stars with Glenn Ford, along with Gig Young (a personal favorite of mine), Will Geer (you know him as Grandpa Walton), and Jay Silverheels (Tonto!).  Gold, betrayal, and Ida Lupino with a Winchester--man, why can't they make movies like this anymore?

  This last publicity shot, from The Big Knife, is your last choice.  I like it, because it shows her slightly more vulnerable side, which always shone through her tough-girl act.  It's why she was able to be the tough girl.  Unlike many of today's tough girls, who are tough without a speck of vulnerability, hence little chance to earn our sympathy, Lupino always managed to both convince us that she was only as tough as she needed to be to protect a sensitive spirit that hid within.
  Lupino not only had a successful career as a leading lady in Hollywood, but she became one of the first major female directors in that male dominated field, including being credited as the first female director of a Film Noir (The Hitch-Hiker, 1953).  She directed many feature-length movies, as well as directing numerous television programs, including Gilligan's Island, Bewitched, The Twilight Zone (The Masks), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  She has also guest-starred on many shows, including The Twilight Zone (The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine), Charlie's Angels, Colombo, Ellery Queen, Bonanza, and Batman (as Dr. Cassandra Spellcraft, a criminal alchemist).

So go ahead, let me know what your vote is.  Which picture of Ms. Lupino would be the best one for my Hollywood wall?

And if you are interested in Ms. Lupino's work, be sure to check out the following movies:
(High Sierra can be viewed online at the link below.)


  1. That's Nigel Bruce, not Nigel Hol, and - lo and behold it looks as if Lupino and Rathbone were hot and heavy during the making of that film, according to some new book.

    1. Thank you for that catch. Mea culpa! Correction has been made.