#52FilmsByWomen is a campaign organized by Women in Film to spark thought and discussion of films directed by women, a practice too few film-lovers engage in, not to mention mainstream awards committees. As the organizers write,
In our latest round of research, Exploring the Careers of Female Filmmakers: Phase III, we found that one of the barriers for female directors is a perceived scarcity of talent pool and experience. Many of those surveyed couldn’t name a female director. Can you believe that? There are over one thousand female directors on The Director List, 1300 female directors at the DGA and 45 who have helmed a $25 million movie in the last 13 years.
You can sign up for this exciting challenge through the link above, which also includes online lists where you can find lots of titles to help you find your 52 or more for 2016. Over 3700 people have pledged to watch so far!
To start you off, as a noir blog there’s sadly only one female director I can easily recommend, but she’s a great one: Ida Lupino.
Famed for her acting, Lupino was the first studio actress to produce, direct, and write low-budget, issue-oriented films, including the first noir ever to be directed by a woman, The Hitch-hiker. Her success was based on a somewhat motherly approach; she kept a feminine appearance and publicly discussed the importance of home and family. Meanwhile, she was professional and successful both behind and on the screen in male-dominated Hollywood.
Her directing resume includes: Not Wanted (1949), Never Fear (1949), Outrage (1950, a film about rape), Hard, Fast, and Beautiful (1951, starring noir great Claire Trevor), The Hitch-hiker (1953), The Bigamist (1953, in which she also stars), and The Trouble With Angels (1966, a comedy starring Rosalind Russell and Hayley Mills). She also directed episodes of The Twilight Zone (1964, “The Masks”), Bewitched, and other early 1960s programs.
ABOUT THE HITCH-HIKER:
The Hitch-hiker features no central women characters in its tense, 71-minute cautionary tale. The film stars Edmund O’Brien (The Bigamist, DOA) and Frank Lovejoy (In a Lonely Place) as two regular guys on a drive to a fishing trip. When they meet the titular hitchhiker, played with menacing relish by William Talman, a vacation trip becomes a road to death!
Fortunately for us noir lovers, The Hitch-hiker is in the public domain. Why not begin your #52FilmsByWomen adventure today. Just click on the link below or look it up on YouTube.