Scarface is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Friday, September 26 at 5pmPST
Scarface has gotten quite a bit of play on Turner Classic Movies this year and has also been discussed numerous times on this blog over the years. Bottom line: If you have not yet seen it, watch it! Scarface is arguably Ann Dvorak’s most important role and her best film, and you will get no arguments from me on those two points. Throw in flawless directing by Howard Hawks, Paul Muni’s over-the-top but enjoyable performance, George Raft’s iconic coin flipping, Karen Morley’s angry eyebrow plucking, and Boris Karloff being his adorable self and how could you possibly go wrong?
Out of the Shadows panel l to r: Richard Harland Smith, Alan K. Rode, Christina Rice, Tom Zimmerman, and Andrew A. Erish.
Yesterday turned out to be Ann Dvorak-filled one for me! First up was the discussion panel at the Los Angeles Central Library. “Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: Resurrecting Hollywood’s Stories” put me in stellar company with Richard Harland Smith (TCM’s Movie Morlocks), Alan K. Rode (Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy), Tom Zimmerman (forthcoming Maria Montez: Queen of Technicolor), and Andrew A. Erish (Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood). Each of these talented gents could have easily talked about their subjects for the whole program, so to have all of them together in one place was a real treat. Special thanks to Richard for taking the reigns and and moderating! If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the program, it was recorded and should be available on the library’s website within the desk couple of weeks.
After the panel, I rushed home to the Valley in order to make it in time for my spot on Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer Talk Radio Show. This was only the second episode in this new live internet show through LA Talk Radio , hosted by Alicia Mayer, grand niece of Louis B., and Will McKinley. This was the first time I had done a live interview, so I was seriously fretting some technical catastrophe or making a fool of myself, but all went smoothly and I had a great time. I seriously tip my hat to Will and Alicia for keeping everything moving along and within the allotted timeslot. We did a live giveaway for copies of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, as well as the companion volume The Inseparables, which were bizarrely won by two different women named Christy. If you weren’t able to catch it live, the archive is already up on this site. My interview is around the half hour mark, but I encourage you to listen to the entire show, which is a lot of fun. Josh Mankiewicz (grandson of Herman, son of Frank, brother of Ben) is right before me and absolutely fascinating. Thanks to Alicia & Will for being such gracious hosts.
Now that the Ann Dvorak biography has been out for close to a year, it’s been awhile since I had the opportunity to talk about our gal. Having the opportunity to wax ecstatic about her in two different venues on one day was truly magnificent.
I am very excited to share that this evening I will be a guest on the Hollywood Time Machine with Alicia Mayer. It’s a new show focusing on classic film which aires live at 6pm on Saturdays through LA Talk Radio. This is only the second episode, so it’s a real honor to be invited on the show. Just in case you were wondering about Alicia’s surname, she is in fact the grand niece of Louis B. Mayer. Tonight’s episode will also feature Josh Mankiewicz, brother of Ben and grandson of Herman, so there is some serious Hollywood pedigree at work here!
Alicia will be joined by co-host Will McKinley, who somehow manages to watch classic films 24/7, so this should be a lot of fun. Just in case you’re not able to tune in at 6pmPST, the show will be archived for later listening. BUT, for those who listen live, we’ll be giving away a free copy of Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel, as well as the companion volume The Inseparables, so it pays to listen live.
Take a listen, won’t ya?
This Saturday at 2pm at Central Library in Downtown Los Angeles, TCM Movie Morlock Richard Harland Smith will be leading a discussion about the challenges of resurrecting Hollywood’s lesser know stories with biographers Alan K. Rode (Charles McGraw: Biography of a Film Noir Tough Guy), Tom Zimmerman (forthcoming Maria Montez: Queen of Technicolor), Andrew A. Erish (Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood), and…yours truly (Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel).
The program is FREE and reservations are not required. For those of you who are not in the L.A. area, we will be recording the discussion and have it posted to the Los Angeles Public Library’s website in the near future.
Additional information about L.A. in Focus – Out of the Shadows and Into the Spotlight: Resurrecting Hollywood’s Stories can be found on the library’s website.
Hope to see you there!
Heat Lightning is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday September 9th at 7:45am PST.
If you’re not aware of how much I adore Heat Lightning starring Aline MacMahon, Preston Foster, and our Divine Miz Dvorak, then you have not been following this blog very long or often! Even though Ann’s role is relatively small, it’s a great little pre-Code and one of my favorites. It’s even one of the few Ann Dvorak titles that I collect anything of, even if Ann is not pictured on it. You can take a look here to see all the times I have discussed this film previously.
This one is really not to be missed, so check it out if you can!
Racing Lady is going to air on Turner Classic Movies in about 6 hours on September 8, at 3:00am PST.
Well, I kind of dropped the ball on this one. If you happen to checking this site anytime between now and 3 in the morning on September 8th, AND are an Ann Dvorak completest, set your DVR for TCM.
If you don’t read this in time, I can’t say you’re missing much with Racing Lady, other than it’s one of the few time Ann was the title character. Otherwise, it’s rather dry, Smith Ballew is pretty stiff, and Ann never even rides a horse.
We’ve got some pre-Code goodies coming up very soon on TCM so stay tuned!
Last weekend I spent a bit of time set-up to sell at the annual film festival, Cinecon. I have been hitting the Cinecon dealer rooms for well over a decade, so it was exciting to be participant. I lost count of the number of people who came up to my table to thank me for taking the time to write about Ann Dvorak and I even managed to sell a few books. My daughter joined me on Sunday and was doing free Ann Dvorak sketches for anyone who wanted, so if you weren’t there, you really missed out!
My deep desire is to one day find that poster or lobby card from The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at Cinecon. Looks like that will have to wait until next year since I only walked away with stills from Crooner and Racing Lady, along with a jumbo window card from a Carole Lombard film, just because the price was right.
And now for something completely different -
Ever since Ann Dvorak: Hollywood’s Forgotten Rebel was released, I have been asked what’s next. While I am still undecided about tackling another biography, I have been doing some writing the last few months and have even been getting paid for it. Next week, the first finished product of my recent labors will be released which is…My Little Pony comic books!
That’s right, I’ve gone from Ann Dvorak to Twilight Sparkle. In a bizarre twist, my daughter obsessively watching episodes of My Little Pony has translated into my writing multiple issues of the comic series from IDW Publishing. My first issue issue features Granny Smith and those troublesome Flim Flam Brothers and is coming out on September 10th. Tony Fleecs is a longtime friend of mine and my husband’s and both of us will be at Collector’s Paradise in Pasadena on Wednesday for a release party. I can’t say I ever expected to be doing this, but I have been having a great time writing about Ponies and my daughter is very impressed.
Lastly, for those of you who fell under the spell of former Disney engineer Herman Schultheis when I mentioned him here last year, I’ll be doing a program at the library with Schultheis biographer and Disney historian John Canemaker on Thursday, September 11. Canemaker’s book, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis & the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic, which is partially a biography with the other part being an in-depth study of Schultheis’ extensive animation effects notebooks is fantastic. I am thrilled to be sharing a stage with him.
Between Ann Dvorak, Ponies, and Herman Schultheis, I like to think I’ve got a little something going for everyone.
See you around town!
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 Scrapbook. I 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!
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.
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!