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Mark Hellinger, associate producer at Warner Bros., was impressed by Lupino's performance in The Light That Failed, and hired her for the femme fatale role in the Raoul Walsh-directed They Drive by Night (1940), opposite stars George Raft, Ann Sheridan and Humphrey Bogart.

Lupino made her first film appearance in The Love Race (1931) and the following year, aged 14, she worked under director Allan Dwan in Her First Affair, in a role for which her mother had previously tested.

She played leading roles in five British films in 1933 at Warner Bros.' Teddington studios and for Julius Hagen at Twickenham, including in The Ghost Camera with John Mills and I Lived with You with Ivor Novello.

She wanted to be a writer, but in order to please her father Lupino enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts aged 13, and went on to excel in a number of "bad girl" film roles, often playing prostitutes.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.Dubbed "the English Jean Harlow", she was discovered by Paramount in the 1933 film Money For Speed, playing a good girl/bad girl dual role.Lupino claimed the talent scouts only saw her play the sweet girl in the film and not the part of the prostitute, so she was asked to try out for the lead role in Alice in Wonderland (1933).

– 3 August 1995) was an Anglo-American actress and singer, who 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.After this performance, she began to be taken seriously as a dramatic actress.As a result, her parts improved during the 1940s, and she jokingly referred to herself as "the poor man's Bette Davis", taking the roles that Davis refused.When she arrived in Hollywood, the Paramount producers did not know what to make of their sultry potential leading lady, but she did get a five-year contract.Lupino starred in over a dozen films in the mid-1930s, working with Columbia in a two-film deal, one of which, The Light That Failed (1939), was a role she acquired after running into the director's office unannounced, demanding an audition.