HBO Doc Puts Trans Entrepreneur Elizabeth Carmichael in the Spotlight

Even car nuts may not have heard very much about the Dale, a three-wheeled prototype that promised to revolutionize the auto industry in the '70s, but never made it to the streets. The car was the vision of Elizabeth Carmichael, a trans entrepreneur whose life of crime and questionable business dealings brought down the company she founded.

HBO's documentary series The Lady and the Dale tells her story, flaws and all, combining archival interviews with photo montages and animation. The trial was one of the noisiest in L.A. history, with Carmichael representing herself and shooting down prejudices against trans people, all while dealing with media sensationalism that had more to do with her gender than her alleged criminal activity. Fans of con artist stories and LGBTQ history should take note.

The first of the four installments will debut on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, January 31.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.