If you like Ida Lupino (and, really, how can you not?), you’re going to have a grand time on Thursday, June 12th – TCM is showing eight movies with Lupino either in front of the camera or behind it. And half of them are film noir! Here’s the low-down on the four shadowy offerings that TCM is airing:
High Sierra (1941)
Lupino plays Marie Gossett, a former dime-a-dance girl who falls hopelessly in love with notorious ex-convict Roy Earle (Humphrey Bogart), recently released from prison after an eight-year stretch. Wasting no time in resuming his criminal activities, Earle teams up with a former associate and two minor-league hoodlums to rob a resort hotel in California. On his arrival at the gang’s mountain hideout, Roy is angered to find that one of the men has brought Marie along, but he comes to admire her level-headed, take-no-crap demeanor. And for her part, Marie finds in Roy the man she’s been searching for all her life.
Favorite quote: “Of all the 14-carat saps – starting out on a caper with a woman and a dog.” – Roy Earle (Humphrey Bogart)
Beware, My Lovely (1952)
In this feature, Lupino is Helen Graham, a widow who hires an itinerant handyman, Howard Wilkins (Robert Ryan), to help clean the boarding house she operates. Howard appears to be a conscientious worker, but he’s actually mentally unbalanced and soon succumbs to paranoia as he believes that Helen is spying on him. Provoked further by Helen’s bratty niece, who chides him for doing a “woman’s job,” Howard becomes completely unhinged and keeps Helen captive in her house.
Favorite quote: “You don’t know what it means like I do to find myself in the middle of a room, in the middle of a busy street, or in some house I’m working in . . . and wonder where I am, and what I’m doing.” – Howard Wilkins (Robert Ryan)
On Dangerous Ground (1951)
Lupino is again teamed with Robert Ryan, who portrays Jim Wilson, an embittered police sergeant who lives alone in a bleak apartment and is frequently provoked to excessive violence by the lawbreakers with whom he comes in contact. After a particularly vicious attack on a murder suspect, Jim is assigned to a case in upstate New York, where he meets Mary Malone (Lupino), a blind woman who comes to feel a kinship with the cynical lawman.
Favorite quote: “You’re feeling sorry for me. And I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. The way you are, I don’t see how you can help anybody.” – Mary Malone (Ida Lupino)
The Hitch-Hiker (1953)
Lupino directed this feature, which starred William Talman as Emmet Myers, a vicious serial killer who terrorizes a pair of fishing buddies (Frank Lovejoy and Edmund O’Brien) who pick him up on the road. The two are forced at gunpoint to drive to Mexico, and their plans to escape are dashed when they learn that Myers suffers from a paralyzed eye that remains open even when he is sleeping.
Favorite quote: “Nobody ever gave me anything. So I don’t owe nobody.” – Emmet Myers (William Talman)
By the by, if you’ve got some time on your hands and you’d like to know more about the beautiful and multi-talented Ida Lupino, check out this post that I wrote on her a couple of years back.
And one more thing – even though they’re not noir (at least, not to me), I also highly recommend two other Lupino starrers that are airing June 12th – They Drive By Night, starring Humphrey Bogart and George Raft, and The Hard Way, with Joan Leslie, Jack Carson, and Dennis Morgan. They’re OUTSTANDING, and Lupino is a revelation in them both. Trust me. Start making plans now.
You only owe it to yourself.