Archive for May, 2014

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

Friday, 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!

FREE Screening of “The Crowd Roars” This Thursday in Culpeper, VA

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

This Thursday, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, VA will be screening an archival print of  The Crowd Roars at 7:30 in the State Theatre. This snappy pre-Code features Ann Dvorak opposite James Cagney and Joan Blondell under the watchful eye of director Howard Hawks and is definitely worth checking out. Plus, it’s free! Full details can be viewed over at the Library of Congress website

Around 10 or 11 years ago, I had the opportunity to see The Crowd Roars at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. At the time, I had never seen an Ann Dvorak film on the big screen and was beside myself with excitement. A few friends joined me and as the lights dimmed, we all eagerly awaited the moment to cheer loudly when Ann made her first appearance onscreen.

And then the MGM lion appeared with its gallant roar.

Unfortunately,  The Crowd Roars with Ann Dvorak and James Cagney was a First National/Warner Bros. film, not an MGM production. The place where the theater had ordered the print from sent the wrong film! Instead of a gritty Howard Hawks racing drama, we viewed a glossy 1938  MGM boxing drama of the same title with Robert Taylor, Frank Morgan, and Maureen O’Sullivan. I guess anyone can make that mistake, but the theater never even acknowledged it! Funny thing was that no one else seemed to notice or care, so I sat there bitterly not watching Ann Dvorak and then wrote a strongly worded email the next day. Come to think of it, I never did cash in those free tickets they offered.

I am pretty sure the Library of Congress will have their act together and show the correct film, so go enjoy The Crowd Roars if you can!

The Ann Dvorak Schulyer Road Whorehouse Could Be Yours For a Mere $4.5 Million

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

 

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1514 Schulyer Rd in it current and no doubt much more boring current state. (The Agency)

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The Den of Vice Incorporated (Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

For those of you wanting to live in a swanky Beverly Hills residence, formerly owned by a movie star, and the scene of a major vice raid – you’re in luck! This Mediterranean-style residence located at 1514 Schulyer Road is on the market for *only* $4.5 million and fits all of the above criteria.

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Inside the high class palace of vice. (Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

 

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may recall this residence from our tour of Ann Dvorak’s Los Angeles last year. In a nutshell, Ann owned the house in the early 1950s but was spending most of her time at a Malibu property, so she rented the Beverly Hills home out. In 1951, when Ann was abroad, the house of Schuyler Rd was raided and many arrests were made on pandering charges. Ann was oblivious to the goings on and the press didn’t even link her to the events. In the wake of raid, Ann was made aware and even had a sense of humor about it when she wrote to her agent, “How did you like the Schuyler Road whorehouse episode? It was a good house for that purpose. Had all the makings (no cracks please). Den of Vice Incorporated. I particularly liked the ‘Purple Room.’ $150 for a ‘double header’ – man & two women. Please tell me Bill how they manage that?”

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The Purple Room was available for $150 an hour. (Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection)

 

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Is this what became of the Purple Room? (The Agency)

The house has had some major renovations and the inside and now bears little resemblance to the former Den of Vice Incorporated. I don’t even know when one of these was once the purple room, though I like to think that if you look in a corner near the floor, a trace of “Ann Dvorak loosely affiliated whorehouse purple” is still visible.

The full listing can be found here.

Ann Dvorak Chicago Road Show Round Up

Friday, May 2nd, 2014
With Matthew C. Hoffman of the Park Ridge Classic Film Series.

With Matthew C. Hoffman of the Park Ridge Classic Film Series.

It’s true what they say about Chicago – it IS one hell of a town. Specifically one hell of a film town. I am still dumbstruck that I was invited to introduce two Ann Dvorak films on consecutive nights at two different movie palaces in the Windy City. On both nights I was welcomed with open arms by appreciative classic film fans and even managed to sell a few books.

 

Me and the family cabbing it in traffic to the Patio Theatre.

Me and the family cabbing it in traffic to the Patio Theatre. And they say the traffic in Los Angeles is bad!

First up was The Strange Love of Molly Louvain at the Patio Theatre in the Portage Park neighborhood. The screening was sponsored by the Northwest Chicago Film Society who secured a restored 35mm print from the Library of Congress, which was gorgeous. Around 250 people showed up, and it was exciting to see this film on the big screen for the first time with an appreciative crowd. The only damper on the evening was that this was the last screening at the Patio for the foreseeable future, as the owners are having trouble maintaining the operating costs.

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The gorgeous Patio Theatre in Portage Park. Unfortunately, the marquee had not been updated for Molly Louvain.

Kyle Westphal of the Northwest Chicago Film Society and me in a deep Ann Dvorak conversation.

Kyle Westphal of the Northwest Chicago Film Society and me in a deep Ann Dvorak conversation with a film fan.

Testing the print an hour before showtime.

Testing the print an hour before showtime.

Kyle and me Q&Aing it up after Molly Louvain.

Kyle and me Q&Aing it up after Molly Louvain.

Night two brought us to the Pickwick Theatre in the suburb of Park Ridge for Scarface, sponsored by the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. At least 100 people came to this gorgeous theatre to watch this 1932 classic. This was the third or forth time I have seen the gangster flick on the big screen and it never gets old. Even though I have seen Scarface countless times over the years, I never made the connection that the play Muni and his gang are watching shortly before gunning down Boris Karloff in a bowling alley is Rain. As I’ve noted before, Howard Hughes made every attempt to secure the film rights for Rain in order to have Ann Dvorak star as Sadie Thompson. It didn’t pan out and Joan Crawford ended up with the role. I’m not sure if this was something Hughes requested of director Howard Hawks or if it were just a coincidence.

The stunning Pickwick Theatre. You'll have to trust me that Scarface made in onto the marquee

The stunning Pickwick Theatre. You’ll have to trust me that Scarface made in onto the marquee

Recently converted Ann Dvorak fan Michele drove in from Indiana to see Scarface!

Recently converted Ann Dvorak fan Michele drove in from Indiana to see Scarface!

I need to extend my sincere gratitude to Kyle Westphal of the Northwest Chicago Film Society and Matthew C. Hoffman of the Park Ridge Classic Film Series. They were the ones responsible for pulling the two nights together and were incredibly hospitable to me and my family. Kyle and Matthew were at both screenings, handled logistics and took care of the book sales. Chicago film fans are very lucky to have these two!

Over the course of the two nights, I was able to meet up with old friends and new ones and it was wonderful to see so much attention focused on Ann Dvorak. As if the screenings themselves were not grand enough, me and the family had a blast at the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Adler Planetarium, many pizza places and a productive weekend for my husband at the C2E2 convention.

It's quite possible that my daughter's favorite part of the entire trip to Chicago was the pink taxi we took from Park Ridge to Lincoln Park.

It’s quite possible that my daughter’s favorite part of the entire trip to Chicago was the pink taxi we took from Park Ridge to Lincoln Park after Scarface.

I have to admit it was difficult to leave such a beautiful city, though the 80+ degree temperatures in Los Angeles were a nice welcome home present. Just in case you missed them, I did interviews all about Ann-D over at the Chicago Reader and the Cine-File blog.

Thanks a bunch Chicago!