Ann Dvorak Biographer Appearing At Cinecon 50

August 22nd, 2014


Next weekend I will be set up at Cinecon 50, selling and signing copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel and The Inseparables: Images of Ann Dvorak & Leslie Fenton’s 1932 Honeymoon From Their Personal ScrapbookI have been attending this annual film-lovers event in Hollywood for countless years, so it’s exciting to finally be a participant.

I’ll be at a table on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31 from 11:30am-2:30pm just outside the dealer rooms at the Loews Hollywood Hotel, located at Hollywood & Highland. If you have already purchased a book, please feel free to bring it by to be signed.  Even if you just want to shoot the breeze about Ann Dvorak, I’ll be all ears.

Full details about the show can be found on the official Cinecon website.

Hope to see you there!

“The Strange Love of Molly Louvain” & “Love is a Racket” on TCM

August 20th, 2014

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Earlier this month, Paul Muni was featured as part of Tuner Classic Movies annual Summer Under the Stars. His 24 hours of programming included the two movies he made with Ann Dvorak. Tomorrow, it’s Lee Tracy’s turn and his line-up also features two Dvorak flicks.

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First up is The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (1932, Warner Bros/First National) which is airing at 11:30am PST. We’ve talked about Molly Louvain quite a bit on this website over the years, and if you’re a Dvorak devotee it’s a must. This is one of Ann’s few starring roles, this film where she hooked-up with Leslie Fenton (she would marry him within weeks), and contains one of her most memorable scenes – playing the piano while singing a scat version of “Penthouse Serenade.”

Next at 2:15pm PST is Love is a Racket, which is also a 1932 Warner Bros/First National production. Dvorak and Tracy are not the stars of this one, but they’re arguably more interesting to watch together than Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Frances Dee who are the leads. Ann doesn’t have too much to do other than glare at Frances Dee and hang out in a bathrobe, but it is worth noting that the day after this finished filming she eloped to Yuma, AZ with Leslie Fenton.

It’s been a Dvorak filled summer which looks like it’s going to carry over into the fall. Enjoy it while it’s going!

“Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel” Reviewed in the September Issue of Sight & Sound

August 15th, 2014


Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel has been out in the world for nine months now, which means the initial exciting rush is over and most readers have moved on to other books. Every so often, something relating to my book pops up that is a delight for me. Last week I found out that the Dvorak bio was reviewed in Sight & Sound which is one of the longest running and most prestigious publications devoted to film. I have not been reviewed in too many print publications, so to be written up in a magazine like Sight & Sound is beyond exciting for me.

To add frosting to this cake is the prominant placement of the review, accompanied by my personal favorite photo of Ann, along with the fact that it’s a very positive review.

Because this is a UK publication, I have not yet gotten my hands on a hard copy, but reviewer Pamela Hutchinson was kind enough to send me a scan and posted the above screenshot on her website.

Here’s to more positive reviews!



Ann Dvorak Honeymoon Photos Now Available in Book Form

August 7th, 2014

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Those of you who have been following this site for the last year and/or read the preface to Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel are aware that last year I has the opportunity to obtain some of Ann Dvorak’s personal possessions. Among the cancelled checks and rent receipts was a holy grail for a Dvorak collector – her personal scrapbook of photos from her 1932 honeymoon with Leslie Fenton. This was the trip that pretty much torpedoed her career trajectory at Warner Bros, as she breached her contract with the studio to take it. The 8 month journey was also quite possibly the happiest time of her life. To become the custodian of something so precious to Ann was an unexpected honor.

I used four photos from the scrapbook in the Ann Dvorak bio and posted a handful more on this site, but I wanted to do something more with the 100+ images of Ann and Leslie Fenton which also contained snapshots from some of their later travels. I didn’t think such a large quantity of images would be practical to navigate here, but I didn’t want to hide them away either. My solution was to put together a book, which is now available.

The book, titled The Inseparables is an intimate glimpse into the lives of two Hollywood personalities during the peak of their romance which I hope will be of interest to all you Dvorak devotees out that. It can now purchased directly through this site  where I can sign and personally inscribe copies or through Amazon.

I will also have copies for sale at Cinecon on Labor Day weekend (more details on that will be forthcoming).


A Double Dose of Ann Dvorak on TCM

August 5th, 2014

It’s August which means it’s that one glorious month of the year when Turner Classic Movies celebrates Summer Under the Stars, dedicating each day’s programming to one actor/actress. Tomorrow is Paul Muni day and both films he made with Ann Dvorak are on the roster.

First up at 6:30 pm PST is Scarface, co-starring George Raft, Karen Morley, Osgood Perkins, and Boris Karloff. I have extolled the virtues of this Howard Hawks classic numerous times, not least of which is due to Ann’s amazing performance. If you’ve made it this long without seeing Scarface, what are you waiting for?

Then at 10:00pm PST, Dvorak and Muni are teamed up again in Dr. Socrates. This second pairing is certainly not as strong as the first, but it’s watchable enough. Both of their characters are so far removed from Tony & Cesca Camonte that it’s an interesting comparison. Unlike ScarfaceDr. Socrates is not available on DVD which is another reason to check it out.

TCM is on a roll this summer with the Dvorak flicks, so enjoy ‘em while you can!

Happy Birthday Ann Dvorak!

August 2nd, 2014


Today marks what would have been Ann Dvorak’s 103rd birthday. To celebrate, here’s a 1938 image from Ann’s personal scrapbook.


“Cafe Hostess” on DVD

August 1st, 2014


On August 5th, Cafe Hostess, the 1939 Columbia feature starring Preston Foster, Wynn Gibson, and our darling Ann Dvorak is going to be available as part of the Sony Pictures Choice Collection series (meaning burn on demand).

I am actually really excited for this one. It’s one of Ann’s few starring roles and my copy of Cafe Hostess is so poor that I am sure my previous viewing experiences were greatly diminished because of that. Yes, it’s definitely a B-picture and not as good as Ann’s other two Columbia titles (Blind Alley and Girls of the Road), but it’s enjoyable enough and as I recall, Ann’s scenes with Wynn Gibson are especially good.

Cafe Hostess is currently listed for pre-order on Amazon and I have received confirmation from the Warner Archive that they will be offering it on their site as well.


Get Your Ann Dvorak on in July With Turner Classic Movies

July 5th, 2014

July has shaped up to be a big month for Ann Dvorak over at Turner Classic movies where they will be airing not one, not two, not three, not four – but FIVE of her films. It’s not often that we’re treated to such a nice dose of Dvorak, so squeeze these in if you can!

A Life of Her Own – Monday, July 7, 5:15am PST

Ann’s screen time may be limited in this one, but she tears it up as a washed-up fashion model trying to come to terms with aging – and failing miserably.

Midnight Court – Tuesday, July 8, 4:45am PST

Ann doesn’t have to much to do as a court reporter/ex-wife of lawyer John Litel, but she does get to wear the fabulous Fish Dress, which I never get tired of talking about.

Scarface – Thursday, July 17, 9:00pm PST

If you’ve never seen Ann’s credited screen debut, then do yourself a favor and make time for this one. Not only is Ann positively riveting as the doomed Cesca Camonte, but the film as a whole is pretty damn good! I kind of love that TCM is following this screening with one of the 1983 remake with Al Pacino.  It’s the first time I’m aware of a Scarface double feature.

Stronger Than Desire, Thursday, July 24, 3:30pm PST

Husband Leslie Fenton received the chance to direct Ann in this MGM drama starring Walter Pidgeon and Virginia Bruce. Ann’s role is small, but she never looked more beautiful and her courtroom breakdown is worth the price of admission.

Bright Lights, Monday, July 28, 1:00pm PST

Ann and co-star Joe E. Brown make a believable husband and wife in this light comedy directed by Busby Berkeley.

Whew! That’s a lot of Dvorak (which is not a bad thing), so enjoy!

“Finding Ann Dvorak” Presentation Now Available to View

June 7th, 2014

Docent Luncheon-Los Angeles Public Library-Ann Dvorak-Presented by Christina Rice from Russell Pyle on Vimeo.

As many of you may know, I work for the Los Angeles Public Library, overseeing the library’s Photo Collection. A couple of weeks back, the Central Library docents invited me to be the guest speaker at their annual Spring luncheon. Of course, I was honored to receive the invitation but I was especially pleased to be asked to speak about Ann Dvorak. My parents and one of my sisters were able to come, which was great,  and the audience was very receptive.

The presentation discusses my history with Ann, from when I first encountered her until the completion of the book. It’s pretty much the same talk I gave for LAVA in November, though the quality of this video is probably a bit better.


And don’t forget that Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel  is still 30% off when ordering directly from University Press of Kentucky!

Get “Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel” For 30% Off!

May 30th, 2014

Book Cover

For the last couple of weeks, Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel  has not been available directly through Amazon. So in the meantime, the University Press of Kentucky is offering 30% off the cover price when the book is ordered through their website.

Use code FGAZ at the checkout. 

And don’t forget, no matter where you purchase the hardcover,  you’re eligable for a free copy of the e-book through UPK’s e-book loyality program.

Happy reading!