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Projecting the Archive

Ladies in Retirement

+ intro by Jo Botting, Curator, BFI National Archive

Ida Lupino stars as the housekeeper who invites her disturbed sisters to move in…

Image from Ladies in Retirement + intro

USA 1941
Dir Charles Vidor
With Ida Lupino, Louis Hayward, Elsa Lanchester, Edith Barrett
Certificate PG

This month we stray from British cinema to show an American-produced film, but one with an English pedigree: it’s based on a gothic play set on the mist-laden marshes of Kent and features a host of expats in Hollywood. Its star is one of our most accomplished exports, Ida Lupino, who was also Hollywood’s only female producer-director during the 50s, and would have celebrated her 100th birthday on 4 February. Her performance as the housekeeper to a fading actress is enriched by interplay with her two strange sisters (particularly Lanchester) and Louis Hayward’s blackmailing wide boy.

Plus an extract from Hollywood Canteen (USA 1944. c.10min) in which Lupino is wooed by Dane Clark, Peter Lorre clowns around and the Andrews Sisters sing.


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