Classic Movie Legend Tribute: Ida Lupino

 

Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, Ida Lupino, born February 4th, 1918.

To me, Ida Lupino is one of best female role models in the world of classic film. She had the gall of Katharine Hepburn, the independence of Bette Davis, and the talent/work ethic that rivaled any of her contemporaries. It’s always been a wonder to me why she hasn’t been embraced as an Icon of female independence in the way that Hepburn and Davis have been. Much like Hepburn and Davis, Lupino wouldn’t allow the studios to dictate her career. She famously barged into William Wellman’s office, unannounced, to audition for a role she wasn’t offered. She got the role, FYI. She also stood by her principles, refusing to act in roles she felt were no longer appropriate for her as an actress, often being placed on suspension for doing so. In fact, it was while on one of her many suspensions that she became interested in taking on another role – the role of director.

As a woman attempting to break into the male-dominated world of directing, I must admit this is one of the reasons I have such respect for Lupino. It’s hard enough breaking into the industry now, let alone 70 years ago when second-wave feminists were busy, you know, being born. For Lupino to direct was a HUGE deal. While on suspension, she would take that time to simply observe the process of filming and editing to gain a better understanding of the work that went to filmmaking. She would eventually go on to create her own independent company, The Filmakers, where she would act as producer, director and screenwriter for several low-budget, issue-oriented films. With the freedom to do as she pleased, she was unafraid to tackle taboo issues such rape, abuse, and sexuality. A truly modern woman in an era where that just wasn’t accepted.

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Ida Lupino acts in High Sierra (1941, Raoul Walsh director)

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Ida Lupino directs the movie Outrage (1950, Ida Lupino director)

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Ida Lupino as herself, a role model for young women everywhere.

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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