Sunday, September 25, 2016
CONGRATULATIONS TO AFI FOR HONORING THESE THREE WOMEN TRAILBLAZERS
ANNA MAY WONG, IDA LUPINO AND DOROTHY DANDRIDGE TO BE HONORED AT THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE FILM FESTIVAL
WHAT DID THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON? THEY WERE TALENT WOMEN WHO WERE SCREWED OVER BY MISOGYNISTIC, PREJUDICED HOLLYWOOD
ANNA MAY WONG
Anna May Wong was the first woman Chinese movie star in America and the world. She was a bright woman who hated the stereotyping, and, eventually went to Europe t get better parts. Her biggest disappointment was NOT being hired to play the Chinese girl O-Lan in THE GOOD EARTH. A white actress played it.
Ida Lupino became a pioneering director and producer—the only woman working within the 1950s Hollywood studio system to do so. With her independent production company, she co-wrote and co-produced several of her own social-message films, and was the first woman to direct a film noir, The Hitch-Hiker, in 1953. In her 48-year career, she made acting appearances in 59 films and directed eight others, mostly in the United States, where she became a citizen in 1948. The majority of her later career as an actress, writer, and director was in television, where she directed more than 100 episodes of productions ranging across Westerns, supernatural tales, situation comedies, murder mysteries, and gangster stories. She was the only woman to direct episodes of the original The Twilight Zone series, and the only director to have starred in the series, as well.
While all of this sounds fantastic, Ida Lupino was referred to as a "ball-buster," just because she wanted to direct. For decades, when young woman in Hollywood tried to get directing jobs, Ida Lupino's name was ALWAYS USED IN THIS WAY--"What do you mean we don't have woman directors? Look at Ida Lupino!" I guess they felt one was enough. It IS better now, for sure, but absolutely not good enough.
Dorothy Dandridge died of an embolism at age 42. Anti-depressants also contributed to her her death. So, in my opinion did the director, Otto Preminger. Dandridge was a beautiful black girl in a white man's world. She had light skin and wasnt "black enough to be black or white enough" to get better roles at that time. She was finally nominated for an Oscar for CARMEN JONES, but her "boyfriend," Otto Preminger told her to turn down all the leading lady roles she was offered after that. Terrified woman; egotistic, controlling director relationship. Several years later, she was cast in PORGY AND BESS--great choice. Well, the director was replaced with Otto the Pig, and he replaced her. Bastard.
A special note: My father was her gynecologist. He was a very quiet man who never showed emotion. When she died at that young age, it was the only time I ever saw him cry.