From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 12 May 2000

The recent talk of Ida Lupino as a fantasy replacement for Mary Astor sparked some memories. Has anyone mentioned that the love of her live and long (for Hollywood) husband was Howard Duff, who was excellent as radio's Sam Spade? If so I missed it.

She was a true pioneer. In addition to her roles in various noir films, she directed and co-wrote "The Hitchhiker." Was it the first noir film directed by a woman?

A couple of years ago I was friendly with a young, feminist film maker and was surprised she had never heard of Lupino. I was shocked as my friend respected pioneers who struggled in a long male-dominated industry. (Talking politics over dinner with her taught me that the one word guaranteed to hush conversation in a Washington restaurant was "vagina" said in a voice that carried).

One evening I held a mini-Lupino film festival for her featuring Lupino in scenes from "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" (as a ingenue), "High Sierra"
(as a star billed above Bogart), "The Bigamist" (which she also directed) and in Sam Peckinpah's "Junior Bonner." To represent her enormous and significant work as a director in television I chose an episode of "Have Gun Will Travel."

The most difficult part of the evening was explaining the popularily of the core concept of the Richard Boone program. "Every episode begins with Paladin in a luxurious hotel with beautiful women hanging all over him despite the fact he was in no way physically attractive. Then he would get a telegram and go out and beat up or shoot people for large amounts of money, which paid for the expensive hotel and women in San Francisco. This was enormously popular, especially with teenage boys in America."

She had a lot of followup questions.

When I survey Ida Lupino's career directing, writing and sometimes financing movie productions, I am struck by her couragous choices of subject matter: unwed mothers, rape from the point of view of the victim, the handicapped, and a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of a bigamist, all in the teeth of the McCarthy era. I am amazed she is not better known and celebrated.

Richard Moore

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