The Man I Love (1947) was the fourth feature directed by Raoul Walsh that Lupino appeared in, following Artists and Models (1937), They Drive by Night (1940), and High Sierra (1941). See Lupino and Walsh in the photo below.
The plot, per Wikipedia, is this: “Homesick for her family in Los Angeles, lounge singer Petey Brown (Ida Lupino) decides to leave New York City to spend some time visiting her two sisters and brother on the West Coast. Shortly she lands a job at the nightclub of small-time-hood Nicky Toresca (Robert Alda) where her sister Sally (Andrea King) is employed. While evading the sleazy Toresca’s heavy-handed passes, Petey falls in love with down-and-out ex-jazz pianist, legendary San Thomas (Bruce Bennett), who never recovered from an old divorce. Variously solving the problems of her sisters, brother and their next-door neighbor, the no-nonsense Petey must wait as San decides whether to start a new life with her or sign back on with a merchant steamer.”
The part is perfect for Lupino. Petey (great name) is not about to be pushed around, especially by a cheap hood like Toresca. The scene below is a good example. Lupino brings a toughness and also vulnerability to this character, as she does in many of her films. She isn’t movie-star glamorous, but has a sexy presence that has more to with her attitude than her measurements. And she can throw a mean slap.
There’s also a lot of great jazz and blues music in this film. For the title song, Lupino’s voice is dubbed by Peg LaCentra, though she’d do her own singing the following year in Road House.
Martin Scorsese has said The Man I Love was the main inspiration for his New York, New York (1977).
The Peckinpah Connection
Director Sam Peckinpah (credited as David Peckinpah) was the “dialogue director” for Private Hell 36 (1954), in which Lupino acted, co-wrote and co-produced.
Peckinpah was a writer on the Ida Lupino/Howard Duff television series Mr. Adams and Eve (1957-1958). According to one source, Lupino hired Peckinpah to work on the series after she found him living in a shack behind her property. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s an interesting story. In any event, he did write for the show.
Years later, Peckinpah cast Lupino to play Steve McQueen’s mother in his rodeo film Junior Bonner (1972). She was great.
Here is an episode of Mr. Adams and Eve, Camel cigarette commercials included.
Ida Lupino was the subject (for real) of the television program This Is Your Life on March 3, 1958. Here’s the video.
Ida Lupino was married three times. The first to actor Louis Hayward in 1938; they separated in 1944 and divorced in 1945. Her second husband was producer/writer Collier Young, who she married in 1948. They divorced in 1951, but continued their creative relationship in their production company, The Filmakers, for some years after. Her longest lasting marriage was to actor Howard Duff, from 1951 to 1983. See Duff and Lupino in the photo below.
The Bigamist (1953) was directed by Lupino, written and produced by Collier Young. It starred Young’s first wife, Lupino, Edmund O’Brien, and Joan Fontaine, who had become Young’s second wife. This must have made for some interesting lunch breaks.
Ida Lupino became an American citizen in 1948. She was a dedicated Democrat.
A recent Film Comment podcast discussing the films for Ida Lupino can be accessed here.
Here is a documentary, Ida Lupino: Through the Lens.
And on a more serious note, Ida Lupino Paper Dolls, illustrated by Jim Howard. This was published in 2010, 15 years after her death.
For those interested, this can be purchased from Amazon. Here’s the link.
Below, Lupino directs Edmund O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy in arguably her greatest achievement, The Hitch-Hiker (1953).
That’s all for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. Ida Lupino lives on. — Ted Hicks