OCS broadcasts the documentary “Ida Lupino: Gentlemen & Miss Lupino” by Clara & Julia Kuperberg, a film lifting the veil on the filmmaker’s little-known career. At the forefront, she seized many taboo subjects in Hollywood in the 1950s.
What is it about?
Ida Lupino is remembered as one of the greatest actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood from the early 1930s to the late 1950s. She played back Humphrey Bogart and Edward G. Robinson, and performed under the direction of the greatest filmmakers: Raoul Walsh, Michael Curtiz, Fritz Lang.
We know less that she was herself a daring director, to whom we owe half a dozen films in which she did not hesitate to think outside the box. Long the only female member of the Director’s Guild of America, she broached difficult topics, such as abortion and rape, which neither the studios nor her male colleagues had dared to treat so bluntly. This portrait of the artist reminds us of it.
On OCS this October 23, 2021.
AlloCiné: You continue your exploration of the history of Hollywood by taking an interest this time in the little-known journey of Ida Lupino. How and why did you want and the idea to devote this documentary to him?
Clara and Julia Kuperberg, directors: We knew Ida Lupino as an actress but very little as a director. And when we looked at her work and her life, we discovered an incredible woman at work avant-garde and of a formidable modernity.
The only female director in Hollywood facing more than a thousand male directors in a puritanical America and subject to the censorship code in Hollywood, she nevertheless managed to make daring films on taboo subjects that no film studio wanted to touch . Rape, disease, even bigamy are themes that she tackled, never in a Manichean way, her characters and her stories are still modern today because she does not pass judgment, no one is black or white.
What is the major discovery you made about it that particularly marked you?
Outrage, his film on rape, seen from the victim’s point of view. Rape is never eroticized as is often the case in American cinema. And above all, the film tells about the post-traumatic shock of this young woman after the rape.
It was unheard of in 1950 when in Hollywood we weren’t even allowed to say the word “rape” in a movie because of the censorship code.
The documentary finds a very current echo because we discover that his cinema had approached very early the question of rape for example. It seems pretty crazy to find out today that such a film has been able to emerge with so much freedom. How do you explain that she was able to carry out this film at that time?
She was able to make such daring films because she was brilliant and knew how to play censorship. In Outrage, his film on rape, nothing is shown and yet the scene is unequivocally violent. The word rape is never uttered and yet we have no doubt about the horror that it takes place in an elliptical fashion.
She also worked as an independent. Her production company The Filmakers, which she had created with her husband, gave her freedom in a studio.
Whether through your documentaries, the work of other filmmakers, in museums or on the shelves of bookstores, we see that there is a strong interest in the question of the invisibility of the work of women artists. What do you think ? How do you explain this craze?
We find it wonderful that these women who are part of the history of cinema are finally recognized and brought back into the light. They were numerous at the beginning of the cinema as we told it in our documentary And the woman created Hollywood but they were then completely erased and invisible. So it’s time to give them back their place and to discover or rediscover their work.
On OCS October 23.
Podcast: what place for women in the history of cinema?