Though greatly out-numbered, female film directors have always been a part of the movie-making industry. One of the very first, and still today, one of the very best was Ida Lupino. Lupino began her career in front of the camera as an actress before transitioning to being behind it, bringing to the screen a meaningful body of work. One of her most effective and respected works was the taut thriller “The Hitch-Hiker.”
In an essay that looks at Lupino’s directing career, this film and her place among women directors, Wheeler Winston Dixon begins:
“When Ida Lupino directed the low-budget suspense film ‘The Hitch-Hiker,’ she was the only woman working as a director in Hollywood. Cinematic pioneer Dorothy Arzner had been directing since the 1920s, but in 1943, when she fell ill during the production of ‘First Comes Courage,’ Arzner’s strikingly feminist tale of the Norwegian resistance during World War II, she was summarily replaced and never made another feature film. Thus, when Arzner was forced into retirement, there were no women directing in Hollywood….”
To watch the film “The Hitch-Hiker” in its entirety, click below. You will be transferred to the LOC’s “National Screening Room.”
Title: “The Hitch-Hiker”
Year of Release: 1953
Year Added to the National Film Registry: 1998 (See all films added to the Registry in 1998.)
Trivia: Other female directors whose work is also on the National Film Registry include Barbara Loden, Joan Micklin Silver, Dorothy Arzner and Alice Guy.
This blog post is the 10th of 30 in our “30 Years of the National Film Registry” series which was launched to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Registry. The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. The 30th National Film Registry selections will be announced on December 12, 2018.