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The Exemplarity of Ida Lupino: A Cross Media Strategist, 1949 to 1968

  • Author(s): Seros, Alexandra
  • Advisor(s): McHugh, Kathleen A
  • et al.
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The Exemplarity of Ida Lupino:

A Cross Media Strategist, 1949 to 1968


Alexandra Seros

Doctor of Philosophy in Film and Television

University of California, Los Angeles, 2019

Professor Kathleen A McHugh, Chair

Based on archival research of production notes, studio records and personal papers, this dissertation employs a visual and production study of Ida Lupino as she transitioned from star actress, to independent film and television director, writer, and producer. My analysis of Lupino foregrounds her craft as a director, and offers rich insights about the difference between her place as a visual object onscreen, and her roles behind the camera. Looking closely at Lupino’s independently directed films and vast television work will afford access to an important vision, detailing Lupino’s cinematic style, which has heretofore been under-researched. This project questions the extent to which “one vision” carries across Lupino’s career and migrates across media, as such rendering her exemplary of her time and her craft as she transitioned from film to television at a critical moment in media industry history. I will argue her exemplarity is as a cross media strategist(1). Lupino’s directing work and an array of archival evidence will demonstrate how she challenged gender expectations, and subverted institutional censorship(2) during the ’40s and ’50s. As importantly, these sources reveal Lupino as a journeyman among journeymen, a figure whose career illuminates under-researched aspects of film influences on television in this period.

(1) Lupino was multi-authored, working in radio, film, and television, in all above-the-line areas of media therein; that is, as a film and television star (actress), and a film and television writer, director, and producer. Radio, too, sustained Lupino (she acted and co-wrote) when she was suspended from Warner Bros. for turning down roles she believed were stereotyped.

(2) Christian Metz describes censorship workarounds in James Naremore, More Than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts (Berkeley: University of California Press,), 99; “…like the sluices you sometimes see at the mouths of rivers, where the water gets through one way or another.”

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This item is under embargo until June 4, 2021.