Thanks to Lindsey at The Motion Pictures for letting me reblog her splendid essay about that under-recognized titan of cinema history, Ida Lupino.
Director, producer, writer, and star… all of these positions in the film industry require talent, knowledge and skill in order to produce good results. Everyone once in a blue moon a super-human artist emerges who can fill all four of these roles successfully. Ida Lupino, an actress of many memorable performances and a pioneering filmmaker, was one such artist.
Ida was born to showbiz parents — a comedian father and an actress mother, to be more specific. From a young age, she was encouraged to explore her creativity, getting her start by taking the stage in school plays. TCM reports that Lupino began writing scripts at the very young age of seven. By 1933, with years of stage productions and a few British films under her belt, Ida made the move to Hollywood.
By the end of the 1930s, she would appear in over twenty Hollywood films… and by the end of the following decade, she would begin to find her footing behind the camera, as a director and producer.
As an actress, Ida Lupino appeared in over 100 films and television programs total, her acting career spanning five decades. Credits include High Sierra, Private Hell 36, and They Drive By Night. On screen, Ida is consistently captivating, giving strong and engaging performances. She’s what I’d classify as a powerhouse performer — giving 150% to every character, and keeping a firm grip on the viewer’s attention.
There’s lots more here.