The Hard-Hitting Films That Made Ida Lupino a Trailblazer

Inside Criterion / On the Channel — Jul 24, 2019


Ida Lupino had long since established herself as a Hollywood star when, in 1949, she stepped behind the camera for the first time. She didn’t intend to direct Not Wanted, a drama about an out-of-wedlock pregnancy that she cowrote and coproduced, but then the person who had been hired to call the shots on set, Elmer Clifton, suffered a heart attack, and she filled in for the rest of the shoot. In short order, she became one of the only women working regularly as a director in the 1950s studio system, assembling a filmography of remarkable intensity, one we’re now celebrating on the Criterion Channel with a six-film retrospective, introduced by critic Imogen Sara Smith. In the above teaser, Smith highlights the fiercely independent vision and boldly realist style that distinguished the prodigiously talented Lupino’s directorial work, which includes the riveting social-problem picture The Bigamist (1953) and the starkly atmospheric The Hitch-Hiker (also 1953), the first female-directed noir. To check out the full introduction, and to browse the whole series, take a ride over to the Channel.