Flashes of Genius
23 May 2012
In 1951, there were probably 400 movies released in the United States. This one is the only one that was directed by a woman.

Ida Lupino made seven low budget "B" films between 1949 and 1953. Despite working under terrible conditions, each one is fascinating and shows great directorial skill and creativity.

Notice how she actually makes the tennis sequences interesting. Notice how the characters often go beyond the plot and seem to be real people struggling with the world around them. Notice how there are good guys and bad guys, but all the characters have dignity and ultimately redeeming qualities.

Like Orson Welles, Ida Lupino was a directorial genius. Unfortunately, unlike Welles, she never got a chance to make her "Citizen Kane" All we are left with are seven small gems and the deliciously cute "The Trouble with Angels" that she did in the 1960's. She did direct some 60 television shows in the 1950's and 1960's, including 9 terrific episodes of Boris Karloff's "Thriller" television series.

As other people have noted, this is a good, but not great movie, with an outstanding performance by Claire Trevor as the mother. If Hollywood had not been completely sexist in the 1950's and if Ida Lupino had been given a budget 1/10th that hundreds of inferior male directors got, it could have been a great film. The fact that she was able to complete it and make it come out as well as it does is a testament to her genius.
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