This week, the grand and glorious Warner Archive releases a handful of two-for-the-price-of-one double features of 1930s comedies. Low and behold, one set features our beloved Ann Dvorak in Side Streets & Stranger in Town.
Side Streets (1934) stars Aline MacMahon as, of all things, a furrier in San Francisco who has bad taste in men, namely Paul Kelly. In terms of Ann Dvorak, Side Streets is wholly unsatisfying because she is barely in it with a minuscule role as the other woman . However, it’s watchable because Aline is so damn good. I am always fixated by how she clutches her purse throughout the film. Even in a scene where she is wearing pajamas, the purse is in hand. This affectation is never explained and I like to think Aline worked out an in depth back-story for her character, complete with poverty and a purse snatching. The working title for this one was Fur Coats, which I think is much more appropriate. Interestingly, the title for the British release was A Woman in Her Thirties.
The other title in the double feature is Stranger in Town co-starring David Manners and Chic Sale. Ann’s part in this one is very typical of the many bland leading lady roles she was subjected to at the hands of Warner Bros. between 1932-1936. In this one, her loyalties are torn between her grandfather and her new love who own competing grocery stores in a small town. This slight comedy was Ann’s second pairing with David Manners in 1932, the first being Crooner. This was also a reunion of sorts for Ann and Chic Sale. When Ann was a wee girl, she accompanied her mother on vaudeville tour in 1914 which also featured Chic on the bill.
The double set can be yours for a mere 19.95 and ordered at the Warner Archive.