Private Hell 36
“Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed I’d meet a drunken slob in a bar who’d give me fifty bucks and we’d live happily ever after.”
Boozy floozy torch singer, Lilli Marlowe in Private Hell 36
Film fanistas gush over Ida Lupino. Auteur. Indie producer extraordinaire. Gutsy Feminist film futurist. Well, whatever. She sure knew how to write some smoking dialogue. Private Hell 36 was directed by Don Siegal (Dirty Harry fame) but Lupino starred, wrote and produced the nasty noir tale of two-timing greed.
In the film, Private Hell 36 refers to a trailer park unit, but it could just as well be Lupino’s little inside joke. At the time Lupino was just divorced from her producing partner Collier Young, and was shaking it up on set with husband number three, Howard Duff. Everywhere Lupino went, drama followed. High strung, histrionic, and given to fits of deep depression, Lupino was not the easiest person to get along with professionally or perhaps personally.
Dig a little deeper and America’s Most Prolific Female Director in History is quite the sticky wicket. Lupino could lay it on thick about a women’s place in the home like Phyllis Schlafly at a STOP ERA meeting. At one point in an interview she indicated that instead of directing, she’d rather be “cooking her man’s dinner”. Lupino reportedly hated working with women, and was famously nicknamed “mother” on the set. Sound a little freaky? Read this: in an article, “Me, Mother Directress”, Lupino wrote:
Any woman who wishes to smash into the world of men isn’t very feminine […] Baby, we can’t go smashing. I believe women should be struck regularly – like a gong. Or is it bong? If a woman has a man who loves her, she better stick close to home. I’ve turned down jobs in Europe because I’d have to leave my husband and my daughter and my cats. I couldn’t accept those jobs unless I was a guy.
I know this was quite a few decades ago, but advocating that women needs to be bitch slapped regularly like Cher giving to Nick Cage in Moonstruck got my attention. But then, the screen siren did like to sprinkle in a few comments to get attention. Lupino may have liked to play up the earth momma persona on-set and in the media, but if you take a peek at her history, it’s clear Ida Lupino was never destined to be a house frau.
To Be Continued in Part Two. . .
Fine. Private Hell 36 (1954) original vintage half sheet, 22′ x 28″. Style B. This is an un-restored poster. This poster has been folded and there is light wear on the creases. There are also a few small tears (approx. 1/4″) along the border of the poster. Light cleaning is needed. All colors are very bright and clear. No pin holes.