A Life of Her Own is going to air on Turner Classic Movies on Tuesday, July 7 at 3:30pm EST
If there was ever a film Ann Dvorak deserved an Oscar nomination for, it’s A Life of Her Own. This George Cukor melodrama, starring Lana Turner as an aspiring fasion model facing the hurdles of her chosen profession is drawn out and hard to get through, but contains one of Ann’s most memorable performances.
As Mary Aslon, a washed up model in the process of crashing and burning, Ann has very little screen time (a friend once clocked all her scenes as coming in at under ten minutes total), but her presence resonates throughout the entire film. Turner may have been the star of this movie, but Ann Dvorak walks off with it. Her wiry thin frame and elegant posture make it easy to believe she could have once been a top model, but her desperate drunken pathos lets us know right away that she is not long for this world. When she does make the big plunge out of a high rise window (shades of Three on a Match), we are still shocked by this abrupt demise and spend the rest of the film wishing she had survived the fall.
By the time Ann Dvorak was cast in this M-G-M production, she was almost forty and had been making movies for over twenty years. This is the performance of a seasoned professional at the end of her career, but it leaves me wishing she would have stuck around a few years longer.