August 22 2016 Drama Movies Newsletter
The above quote is from Lynda Obst's memoir published in 1996, one year following the death of actress/producer/director/writer Ida Lupino. I think Lupino would have agreed with Obst's words, however.
While Lupino began her career as an actress, she knew that she also wanted to direct and produce. While under contract at Warner Bros., she used that studio as her classroom. When finished with her on-camera work, Lupino would spend time in the editing room, watching and learning. When her contract expired, she formed The Filmakers, an independent production company.
The first project, "Not Wanted" (1949), was produced and co-written by Lupino. Elmer Clifton was scheduled to direct, but suffered a heart attack shortly before the start of filming. Clifton made it to the set, but Lupino actually directed the film. Eyewitness accounts confirm this, although Lupino is not named in the credits as director.
Lupino directed five more features for her company, and one film in 1966 for Columbia Studios. She also had a prolific career in television, directing episodes of "Twilight Zone", "Gunsmoke", and many others. Unfortunately, there is only one serious study of Lupino's directing career currently in print; Annette Kuhn's "Queen of the B's: Ida Lupino Behind the Camera".
This past weekend, the remake of "Ben-Hur" opened. Many reviews reference the 1959 version starring Charlton Heston, but the 1925 silent "Ben-Hur" is generally ignored. The centerpiece of all three films is the chariot race and when the original was filmed, it was an incredible feat of cinematic logistics with 42 cameras recording the action. It was also the social event of the season, with stars like Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford in the stands to witness the event. The black-and-white photography is stunning and the use of actual horses and riders is, to me, superior to any computer-generated graphics. The silent version is worth watching for that sequence alone.
Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.
Ida Lupino - Two Films
Ida Lupino, known primarily as an actress, was the second woman to be admitted into the Director's Guild. The founder of an independent production company, Lupino directed six feature films between 1949-1953. I discuss her two personal favorites in this article.
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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor
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