Ida Lupino

All posts tagged Ida Lupino

Va-Va-Villainess: Claire Trevor

Published July 6, 2022 by biggayhorrorfan

My mom has never wished me a Happy Pride Month or asked if I am dating anyone. Her husband believes Black people would avoid getting shot if they just did what law enforcement figures asked them to do & they both vote via the Pro-Life agenda. Not surprisingly, our phone conversations are laced by all that goes unsaid, the overpowering dearth that comes from avoiding topics that would surely destroy the hesitant calm that it has taken us years to achieve. But my mom loves shopping for me for Christmas and my birthday. It’s a superficial connection for sure, but you take what you can in a world that is ever-spinning in a chill glow of uncertainty. We even have a sweet tradition established now – I pick an old school film diva and ask for books & films on them. She will, happily, read up on each of my choices and then spend quality time deciding what items I would like best from the lists I provide her. It’s exactly what any proud momma would do for her very gay, cinema obsessed son & it provides a light in the midst of all that is murkily unexpressed. I can’t produce a left wing glow from my maternal entity, but I can squeeze out a bit of appreciation for Claire Trevor.

Of course, Trevor, my latest choice, is well known for her heartbreaking Academy Award winning work as a drunken, aging gangster’s moll in the classic noir Key Largo. I also love her effortlessly comic antics in a movie called Borderline with Fred MacMurray. There, as a policewoman trying to infiltrate a criminal’s lair by posing as a dance hall girl, she is a bundle of perfectly timed awkwardness. 

But her gritty, no-nonsense demeanor also lent itself well to acts of ruthlessness. 1938’s The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse found her playing a more lighthearted figure of crime – the leader of a gang of thieves whose affection for Edward G. Robinson’s academically awkward title character leads to her downfall.  But the 1951 sports-noir Hard, Fast and Beautiful! definitely utilized her knack for portraying women with sophisticated, underhanded charms. As Millie Farley, the mother of a female tennis prodigy, Trevor radiates with a seductive sense of calculation. She obviously knows how to subtly bring out all of Farley’s ambitious qualities. In fact, she positively brims with truth as she enacts Farley’s seduction of prestigious figures and calculated justifications for compromising her talented offspring’s future for a bit of cash and extra press attention. 

Not surprisingly, Trevor is directed here by Ida Lupino, the actress-writer, who definitely played her own share of bad ladies in gothic melodramas and crime flicks, as well. According to Derek Sculthorpe, Trevor’s biographer, the two strong willed creatives occasionally had artistic differences on set, but they respected each other – and happily worked together again on an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. With those successful collaborations behind them, it’s unfortunate that the two never made another film together. Millie is one of Trevor’s most popular creations and it would have been nice to see her play more characters with this level of determined wickedness. 

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Va-Va-Va-Villainess: Toni Naples

Published January 23, 2021 by biggayhorrorfan

If our 1990s’ video goddesses all have 1940s’ counterparts, then the take charge Toni Naples would definitely be the Ida Lupino of her era. Lupino, who began her career playing an Olympian centerfold in the “shocking” Pre-Code programmer Search for Beauty, was known for playing powerful women in film noir and WIP efforts. Similarly, Naples played a series of creamy bathing beauties and wisecracking police officers in such cult efforts as Chopping Mall, Hard to Die and Sorority House Massacre II. More importantly, though, Naples made a strong impression as a couple of sneering, manipulatively corrupt figures that endeared her to many Up All Night devotees and VHS box set collectors, as well.

First off, as Queen Morganna (above, middle) in the flesh strewn Jurassic Park inspired Dinosaur Island, Naples issues a series of challenging commands designed to present doom for a group of men that have landed on the Amazonian-like isle of women that she leads. As her character openly hopes for their deaths, the actress fills her portrayal with off handed cheer and a true sense of jesting evil. Of course, love ultimately changes the hue of her deep black heart, but Naples obviously has the most fun when Morganna is acting out her vengeance filled schemes with abandon.

Meanwhile, as Warden Helga in Fugitive Rage, this multi-credited exploitation diva brings a decisive abruptness to her interactions with the film’s heroine played by the athletic Wendy Schumacher. Nicely underplaying the sadism inherent in these roles, you could almost accuse Naple’s Helga of being a woman who simply plays by the rules given her – if it weren’t for the sadistic joy in which she partakes in the body cavity search that welcomes Schumacher’s defiant Tara McCormick to the beginning of her incarceration.

Strong, beautiful, demandingly independent and a little twisted – it’s no wonder that during her late-night heyday, Naples inspired straight and queer men alike to take up her wickedly joyful mantle – and happily bow to it.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Dagger Cast with Bev Rage!

Published August 30, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

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Hold onto yer wigs!!! Dagger Cast has turned into DRAG-GER CAST!!! Our latest episode features Bev Rage (AKA Josh J. Coles) who, along with her amazing band The Drinks, is truly showing the world what it means to be a potent glitter punk waitress! Bev truly brings the sunny mayhem here while also talking, seriously, about how she sees the drag community fitting into the world of horror in light of the country’s current hate filled climate! You can dive into the mascara strewn mosh pit at https://soundcloud.com/daggercast.

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We’ve also added an exciting new addition to the show. As there’s nothing I love more than a classic cinema diva in an old school gothic horror piece, producer Jared Olson and co-host Lindsey Charles are allowing me to indulge my devotion to these grand femmes in a new Dagger Cast segment called Dr. Diva! In the first attempt, I get to sing the praises of the glorious writer-director-actress Ida Lupino and her stunning work in 1941’s atmospheric chiller Ladies in Retirement!

Enjoy!!! …and until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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You can also show Dagger Cast some loving at https://www.facebook.com/daggercast/ and Bev Rage and The Drinks are also always serving up something thirst quenching at https://www.facebook.com/BevRageandtheDrinks/.

Music to Make Horror Movies By: Ida Lupino

Published March 17, 2019 by biggayhorrorfan

ida-lupino food of the gods

Fierce and independent, Ida Lupino was the only female director working in Hollywood for many years. She was just as memorable in front of the camera, establishing herself as a prime example of the tough hearted film noir broad.

As was typical of many women in that genre, she played nightclub singers in both The Man I Love, the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York, and the atmosphere soaked Roadhouse, which had absolutely nothing to do with the Patrick Swayze cheese-fest of later years. Although dubbed in the former, she was able to display her own smoky, mood soaked voice in the latter.

Not expectedly in her fading years, Lupino found herself battling off gigantic feathered foes in Food of the Gods and Ernest Borgnine’s horned cult leader in The Devil’s Rain. Her last role was of a magnificent Norma Desmond take-off in an early episode of Charlie’s Angels, a fitting finale for one of the grand queens of the cinema.

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Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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Thriller Nights: Ramon Novarro

Published March 10, 2018 by biggayhorrorfan

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Heralded as one of the big screen’s most exotic lovers, Ramon Novarro’s filmic legacy has often been overshadowed by the notorious circumstances of his death. As a gay man, known to hire hustlers in his declining years, this former matinee idol met his end, violently, by a pair of brothers in 1968. His demise has since been highlighted in short stories, books and songs.

ramon mataBut, significantly, Novarro’s early beauty easily matched that of his co-star Greta Garbo, sultry pose for sultry pose, in the fun 1931 spy drama Mata Hari. Later in his performing life, he gave eagle eyed horror buffs a boost with a featured role in the beloved Boris Karloff hosted anthology show Thriller.

In the 1962 second season episode La Strega, Novarro appeared opposite the stunning Ursula Andress as Maestro Giuliano, the mentor to a besotted painter, played by the swarthy Alejandro Rey (Satan’s Triangle, The Swarm, Terror Vision). Working with authority and concern, Novarro supplies the proceedings with a compassionate figure here who believes that Rey’s involvement with Andress could end in tragedy, as her aunt is a powerful witch.Ramon 2

This doesn’t mean Giuliano isn’t up to a little adventure. He accompanies the entwined duo to a black mass which, kudos to the art direction of Howard E. Johnson and the cinematography of Benjamin H. Kline, contains some of the episode’s most fiery and striking visuals. Unfortunately, Guliano finds himself on the receiving end of the sorceress’ revenge here, making Novarro’s appearance an important yet all too brief one. Although, proving the adage that a woman scorned is a dangerous thing, everything does not go well for the characters portrayed by Andress and Rey either.

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Nicely, besides highlighting Novarro’s subtle talents as a performer, this tale is directed with gothic sweep by Ida Lupino. One of the few working female directors in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lupino is known for guiding taut noir pictures like The Hitch-Hiker and, perhaps less elegantly, for her acting work in such gonzo genre projects as Devil’s Rain and Food of the Gods.

Until the next time, SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

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