“I enjoyed being a lone woman in the world of movie executives,” states Ida Lupino, one of the first female directors of the 1950s. Ida Lupino: Beyond The Camera, written by the late Ida Lupino with Mary Ann Anderson is based on actual conversations, recordings, letters, FBI files and notes of the star.
Lupino had not wanted to become an actress but preferred composing and writing. Lupino branched out into film directing and producing in 1949, becoming one of two women to enter the still male dominated field.
Mary Ann Anderson first met Lupino when she was a Sub-Agent for the Lund Agency. “Ida thought I was “not mean enough” to be an agent and thought of me as “more business oriented.” She hired me has her Personal Assistant and Business Manager. One year later Ida had a California court appoint me as her Conservator due to her 12 year separation from actor Howard Duff and the mishandling of her finances by her Business Manager. I worked for Ida for 12 wonderful years. To me she was the original Auntie Mame, outspoken, directed, a grand story teller and a wonderful friend.”
The four opening chapters by Mary Ann Anderson which include Anderson’s account of her first meetings with Ida Lupino in February 1983 are vivid, humorous and insightful. Lupino has hit hard times but still retains her independent spirit and quirky personality. Beginning with Chapter 5 Lupino begins her personal memoir recalling her early life in England with her father Stanley Lupino and her subsequent Hollywood career where she worked with celebrated leading men including Humphrey Bogart, Basil Rathbone, John Garfield and Steve McQueen. Her marriages to Louis Hayward, Collier Young and Howard Duff are also discussed in some detail.
While her feature films were primarily aimed at female audiences, on television Ida Lupino quickly became known for her skill at directing male dominated westerns, mysteries and detective dramas. Ida Lupino was the first woman to make a name for herself in episodic television and loving it.
“I would rather direct an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents for $1,250.00 than to star in one for $5,000.00. Directing is much easier than acting. The actor deals in false emotions, produced on cue. The director has problems but they are all normal. He doesn’t have to smile into the camera while suffering through with an early morning grouch.”
Ida Lupino guest-starred in two episodes of The Virginian – “A Distant Fury” (1:25) and “We’ve Lost A Train” (3:30) and directed “Dead-Eye Dick” (5:09). She also guest-starred in the second season Alias Smith and Jones episode “What’s In It For Mia?” (2:22). Lupino’s work on The Virginian is covered briefly with references to Dwight Whitney’s 1966 TV Guide article on the set of “Deadeye-Dick.”
Numerous scarce photographs supplement the text and help make the book entertaining reading for any Ida Lupino fan.
Details of ordering the book can be found at Ida Lupino : Beyond the Camera.
Review copyright Paul Green 2012. All rights reserved.